What’s Wrong with a “Real” Job? A Q&A with Scott Gerber | Lindsey Pollak's Blog

What’s Wrong with a “Real” Job? A Q&A with Scott Gerber

With economic upheaval taking place around the world, the next generation of workers is up against a tidal wave of change. This week I had the privilege of conducting a Q&A session with Scott Gerber, who has some outspoken opinions on the future of careers for Millennials. Read Scott’s thoughts and then tell me what you think!

1.  How big of a problem is youth unemployment/underemployment, and how can Millennials overcome it?

They are nothing short of global epidemics. Over 81 million young people are unemployed worldwide. In the U.S. nearly 20% of young people are unemployed–with millions more underemployed–and in countries such as Spain, the youth unemployment rate is as high as 40%. The fact is that the mantra of “work hard, get good grades and go to school to get a job” is dead and antiquated. Young people must leave the resume-handout mindset behind and learn to become self-sufficient entrepreneurs that are capable of generating their own incomes. I believe this is an achievable goal.

2.  What do you consider a “real” job, and why do you encourage young people to avoid it?

A “real” job is one where you work for another individual and see no real value or upside from the work product you produce–or a place that forces you to put all of your eggs into one basket that you are neither holding nor own. In today’s new economy, where layoffs, hiring freezes, automation and corporate greed have become commonplace terms, I think it is unwise to rely on anyone but yourself when it comes to something as vital as your livelihood. To avoid the need for a “real” job, young people need to build simple, unoriginal, unsexy businesses that are capable of generating immediate revenue and can be built over time. We must stop thinking about building the next Facebook and start actually building the next tutoring service or plumbing company.

3.  What is the biggest challenge young entrepreneurs face, and how do you suggest overcoming it?

Young entrepreneurs need to kill their egos. Reality check: your business will probably not become the next Groupon. The “rich by 30” mentality is setting us back and pushing us down the path of launching start-ups built on nothing more than hopes and dreams. Plain and simple, this is stupid and will bankrupt us. We need to get real–fast–or be doomed to become a lost, foolhardy generation.

4.  What advantages, if any, do Millennials have over other entrepreneurs?

We are the most technologically savvy generation in history and we usually have the ability to scale our lifestyles down to the bare bones necessities. These abilities allow us to create low-budget, minimal infrastructure start-ups with relative ease.

5.  What is your #1 piece of advice for young entrepreneurs?

Be afraid, but not afraid to fail. Failure is GOOD! Be afraid to have never failed. Be afraid to look back on your life and see nothing but dead-end jobs and regrets in your past.

Scott Gerber is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, media personality, public speaker and the most-syndicated young entrepreneurship columnist in the world. He is the founder and CEO of Gerber Enterprises and founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council. Scott is also the author of the book, Never Get a “Real” Job.

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  1. Amber J. says:

    Scott makes a lot of excellent points here. As a member of Gen Y who was jobless for a year, I totally think it is stupid to rely on one company to be your bread and butter. We need to wake up and stop chasing the old conventions that was pushed on us, and start creating the trend. I think the strongest attribute Gen Y has is that we are not afraid to innovate.

    Great interview, Lindsey.

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      @Amber – thanks for the comment. So glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. Margaret says:

    I really enjoyed this post and agree with Scott’s comments. I recently read a policy paper from the National Urban League that confirms a lot of what he says. http://figuringoutfulfillment.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/the-future-of-jobs/

    • Lindsey Pollak says:

      @Margaret – thanks so much for the positive feedback and for sharing this article. I look forward to checking it out.

  3. Terri says:

    “Failure is good.” So true, but it hurts so much. I guess if we looked at the big picture (and far into the future) we’d realize how much we would learn from failure.