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Data is exploding 2 myths about Gen YMillennials and work.

One is that they all (OK, a large % of them) want to be entrepreneurs, that is, have their own business. The actual numbers reported (by Lindsay Gellman in the Wall Street Journal, 1/14/15) find otherwise.

The proportion of young adults (under age 30) owning a business in the U.S. was 3.6% in 2014. This has fallen from 10.6 in1989 and 6/3% in 2010 according to Federal Reserve data. It can partially be explained by the recent poor economy and difficulty in getting both funding and work experience, but not all of it. Both the risk adversity of the generation and lack of education focusing on entrepreneurism in high school and earlier probably contribute to this outcome, so some programs are starting to be offered in some high schools in the U.S.

The myth is that members of the Gen Y generation aren’t interested in climbing the corporate ladder in established companies and desire doing “meaningful work” rather than scale the hierarchy.

A survey of over 7,800 workers born in 1983 or more recently in developed and emerging markets countries by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Ltd. found that only about 25% felt that their current employer makes full use of their skills. Is the employer just missing out? Or are the employees overestimating their capabilities or misjudging the needs of the business or the market?  Clearly there is a disconnect that has to be diagnosed and addressed.

Interestingly, nearly 65% of respondents in Colombia and Indonesia aspire to the corner office compared with only 38% overall in the developed countries surveyed. Does the environment in poorer countries motivate higher aspirations? Are employees in more developed countries more complacent, or do they want a less demanding lifestyle than the C-Suite offers? Or do they simply want the employers to change?

There is also a gender gap. While 59% of young men aspire to lead their company, only 47% of women in the surveyed countries do. True to the meaningful work mantra, 60% of young workers seek to work for employers with a sense of purpose. The most desirable industries for this group in their 20s and early 30s are technology, media and communications, while they were attracted to life-science companies for those companies’ sense of purpose.

There is also a gender gap. While 59% of young men aspire to lead their company, only 47% of women in the surveyed countries do. True to the meaningful work mantra, 60% of young workers seek to work for employers with a sense of purpose. The most desirable industries for this group in their 20s and early 30s are technology, media and communications, while they were attracted to life-science companies for those companies’ sense of purpose.

The survey findings raise many questions and provide much to contemplate. Please share your thoughts.

 Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com



Observation: Women outnumber men in college and earning graduate degrees. It’s men who drop out and seem to be the ones who start mega-successful companies. It’s not just the obvious (like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – later-half Baby Boomers). Gen Xers and Gen Y/Millennials too.

Is this a gender thing? Do we just hear less about the young female entrepreneurs? Do they, more than the men, think they need MBAs, etc. to succeed? To give them confidence to take risks?  Or is it purely individualistic? Is this changing? Will more Boomer women be successful entrepreneurs in encore careers?

Phyllis Weiss Haserot     www.pdcounsel.com


After Tom Friedman wrote his Opinion piece, “Welcome to the “Sharing Economy” in the New York Times (July 21, 2013), there followed a flurry of negative comments about the example start-up he chose to illustrate, Airbnb, and the concept in general. The comments tended to be about the legality and ethics of the business and Friedman’s cheerleading about entrepreneurism to save the U.S. economy.

Since I wrote a more comprehensive blog on this concept in May after viewing a discussion led by Mario Bartiromo with several “sharing economy” entrepreneurs, I am posting the link to that earlier blog here.

 My blog post takes a cross-generational slant, of course J I find the concept and business model fascinating and promising.

Where do you stand on the concept and manifestations of the “shared economy”?  Do you find it valid, appealing, marketable, scalable? Please share your thoughts.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com


Despite the media attention that may lead to the assumption that most successful entrepreneurs are under age 35, Whitney Johnson’s HBR blog post “Entrepreneurs Get Better with Age” presents an impressive amount of research finding that most successful entrepreneurs are several decades older. Giving several examples – many of them women, Johnson concludes:

 “As individuals move into [developmental psychologist} Erikson's seventh developmental stage [around age 40-64] creating something new isn't just a "nice thing to do" — it is a psychological imperative. The urge to create, to generate a life that counts impels people to innovate, even when it's lonely and scary. Data notwithstanding, some of the companies among us will continue to allow these individuals to fall into the arms of independent work, if we don't give them the boot first.”

The statistics and their implications suggest to me that

  • There is good reason for Boomers to relish their continually unfolding career/lives making creative contributions.
  • There is reason to hope for solutions to issues that matter beyond technology as Boomers will want to tackle them and may be best suited to do so.
  • The desire and ability to leave a legacy is a strong motivation.
  • Boomers may be more motivated to mentor or help in other ways members of younger generations.
  • With less pressure to “keep score” and to please other people rather than themselves at that stage of life, Boomers may actually work harder for what they decide they want to achieve.

What do you think? Please comment.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com



A few weeks ago, Maria Bartiromo did a “Seat at the Table” segment on her Sunday NBC program about the sharing or collaborative economy. The key concepts are Rent, Share and Trust. You rent your car or home or dresses or cook, etc. on a temporary basis.

The entrepreneurs behind the new businesses say this approach changes the concept of “consumption.” And they say they are in it for the long haul – that this is not a fad concept. It focuses on the actual user of a product rather than intermediaries. Though these businesses operate on technology, they are actually very personal. Person-to-person connections are facilitated by the technology. It is efficient for the new normal and sustainability because it uses excess capacity.

So you can rent a chef to come into your home to cook for your family or dinner party guests, rent expensive textbooks, or rent a designer dress you will only wear once anyway. These are examples of enabling luxury experiences for people who couldn’t live that way every day but can on a select, limited basis.

The businesses were started by young, “digital natives” – that is, Gen Y/Millennials or young Gen Xers – mostly under age 35. The venture capitalists supporting them are in their 40s and 50s – Gen Xers and younger end Baby Boomers. They are united in the excitement of these new concepts and services and their collaboration with the young entrepreneurs.

They have identified and latched onto some trends that have emerged, especially with the Millennials:

  • Decreased interest in ownership of cars, houses and other possessions other than electronics/technology
  • Desire to live in urban areas where the action is and have what they need and want nearby
  • Sustainable environment lifestyle
  • Innovate and love your work

I find this very exciting. Simplify. Save time and money. Avoid waste. Connect for personal needs and to fulfill dreams. I guess my Millennial tendencies are showing J

Phyllis Weiss Haserot       www.pdcounsel.com


 How to make members of each generation see they are owners/masters of their career enterprise is a challenge in many organizations. It’s what I call “career entrepreneurship,” and the need for it won’t disappear with an economic upturn. I wrote about it (recently) from a Baby Boomer perspective for Next Avenue.

You need to start learning to ask yourself some foresighted questions such as:

  • What trends are likely to affect my opportunities and roles?
  • What will become obsolete and will require me to change?
  • What do I need to learn and do to keep increasing my relevance?

Beverly Kaye wrote about that change in perspective and approach in her book “Help Them, Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Employees Want to Have” (BK Business, 2012). Individuals need to think about role shifts that require mind shifts, and employers need to support this more entrepreneurial thinking as positive for them as well. Some mind shifts include:

  • The goal doesn’t have to be the top position. And if you’re at the top, there are future role shifts that can be satisfying and creative.
  • There are alternate paths for different people at different times.
  • You can choose riskier or safer moves and shift from one to the otherover a career span for what feels right at the time.

In any case, don’t put artificial limits on yourself.

Work has changed. Job discussions and requirements have changed, and training has not kept up. You may have to re-invent yourself – or not. But the concept of what I call career entrepreneurship, taking charge of your own career development, is a winning strategy for anyone determined to succeed.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com


We have been witnessing and experiencing two opposing trends affecting the generations in different ways during this recent and enduring economic crisis/recession/downtown. This article focuses on Generations X and Y, people in their 20s to late 40s. While those two generations are different from each other in significant ways, their use of technology to reinvent approaches (or processes) is worth examining not only for the immediate purpose intended, but also for new models to apply their values to making and spending money.

During the downturn the affluent and wealthy have generally gotten wealthier – that is, those who already have significant assets as well as the successful tech entrepreneurs and hedge fund managers, to name the most obvious. During the same period, the under 35ers who had education debt and had trouble getting a good or any job, especially the high-paying ones they expected their education to result in, have been suffering for who knows how long. This gap is certain to shape long-term attitudes about money and values for both the haves and have-nots.

For the young members of the creative class, it’s no time for hunkering down. With Silicon Valley’s very successful entrepreneurs leading the way – and exerting peer pressure by offering large sums if they are matched by others in the tech community – we may be seeing those generations’ tech entrepreneurs become role models of young philanthropy.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal (May 5, 2012) by Holly Finn in an article, “Young, Rich and Charitable,” they are stepping up in a big way now. For example:

  • Mark Benioff (age 47), Salesforce founder, large gift to San Francisco Children’s Hospital
  • Mark Zuckerberg, (27), Facebook founder, Newark, NJ schools
  • Marc Andreessen (40) and Ben Horowitz (45) founders of Venture Capital firm Andreessen Horowitz – the 6 partners pledged to give away half of their earnings

And others (not named Mark): signed Warren Buffet’s Giving Pledge:

  • Elon Musk (40), PayPal founder
  • Dustin Moskovitz (27), Facebook co-founder
  • Sergey Brin (38), Google and wife Anne Wojcicki (38) promised $1 million to local anti-poverty charity Tipping Point if matched by Silicon Valley peers
  • Jack Dorsey (35), Twitter co-founder, opened his rolodex and arranged a fundraiser for Build, a non-profit that teaches disadvantaged students how to be entrepreneurs

Leaning on others to spread the philanthropy trend, calls have been made to peers who have just sold companies and walked away with big bucks.  Angel investor Ron Conway said, “The Facebook generation is going to be very philanthropic earlier in their careers.”

 Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com



A brilliant way for a Gen Y to get good training in an interesting job and provide small businesses the talent they need (if only it weren’t for student debt).


  • Gen Y/Millennials need jobs and training
  • A large number of Gen Yers want to start a business, but have little or no knowledge and experience regarding what is needed to build a successful business.
  • Small (under 500 employees) businesses need eager, smart, flexible, people concerned more with learning hard-to-find skills in entrepreneurial environments than earning top dollar.
  • Many desirable college grads have student debt, which colors their career and job choices.

Note: The Gen Yers typically have a different mindset and way of operating from the “freelance mentality” of the Gen Xers of the dot-com era.

Challenge: How to connect the dots to benefit the aspiring but untrained entrepreneur and the businesses needing the talent, especially in struggling cities.

To meet this challenge, Venture for America, inspired by Teach for America, was started by Andrew Tang, former CEO of Manhattan GMAT, the test prep company.  As reported in the Wall Street Journal, the first 50 “fellows” will be placed in small businesses (under 500 employees) this summer for a 2-year stint. Tang’s goal is to help early stage businesses and start-ups take off, and he is targeting to create 100,000 jobs by 2025. At the same time, the young fellows will get the know-how and experience to start companies of their own if that’s their goal. According to a recent survey by the Young Invincibles (a group focusing on young entrepreneurship) 54% of 18-34 year-olds in the U.S. want to start a business or already have done so.

The companies employing the Venture for America fellows will pay them $32,000 to $38,000 a year plus health benefits, and the participants will receive a 5-week program at Brown University similar to training that consultants and investment bankers receive.  The companies get bright, eager young workers they can afford to hire and mentor. This certainly would seem to fill the bill, especially for recent grads not burdened by family financial obligations or heavy student debt.  Even so, it seems a good investment in their chosen career direction.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com



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