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The Kids are All Right November 2016

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The Kids are All Right November 2016

  1. 1. 48 | NEIGHBORHOOD SEEN • October 2016 www.NeighborhoodSEEN.com » ENTREPRENEUR SEEN Millennials are doing it for themselves in the job market. BY PAM HOUGHTON WHEN OUR DAUGHTER WAS IN COLLEGE, inquiring minds wanted to know, “What’s she going to do with a French degree?” I don’t know. Speak French? Though my husband had concerns about the degree’s marketability, I was never opposed, figuring the ability to master a foreign language hinted at other talents that would serve her well as she pursued a career. After graduating from Michigan State University in 2015, she spent nearly eight months in France working with French grade school children as an assistant English teacher, a stint that didn’t require an education degree. Though she didn’t know what she wanted to do after she returned home, she quickly found a bi-lingual customer service job in the auto industry. Thank- fully, those French-Canadians on the other side of the border buy cars, too. So there – that’s what she would do with a French degree. Millennials – defined by Pew Research as born between 1981 and 1997, and widely documented as an optimistic, self-confident lot – have different priorities than their hand-wringing Baby Boomer and Gen X parents. Raised to feel valued and oh-so positive about themselves (the net result of everyone gets a trophy, perhaps?), they are ready and eager to take risks. They are also eager to get a jump-start on work that fulfills them. “After seeing many of our grandparents and parents work tirelessly just to survive, rather than work in occupations they were passionate about, shouldn’t we try to avoid that kind of life?” asks author Whitney K. Blaine in her book Stop Doing What You Should: The Millennial’s Guide to Navigating Your Most Rewarding Career Path. Unfortunately, not everyone has “the resources to take time and see what it is they want to do. But if you have familial support or money saved up or an ability to go after what you are passionate about, I think it’s so important to go after what you want,” Abigale Belcrest, 22, says. OFF THE BEATEN PATH Belcrest is going after what she wants. After receiving a B.A. in Arabic studies with a concentration in justice and law from Williams College in Massachusetts, Belcrest is spending her first year out of college in Morocco on a Fulbright scholarship. There, she will deepen her under- standing of the Arabic language and family law, focusing on the justice system’s treatment of women, particularly after divorce. What drew her to such an offbeat path? A class in high school turned her on to the “fascinating aspects of Middle Eastern history,” says Belcrest, who grew up in Harrison Town- ship and attended University Liggett School in Grosse Pointe Woods The Kids Are All Right
  2. 2. 50 | NEIGHBORHOOD SEEN • October 2016 www.NeighborhoodSEEN.com » ENTREPRENEUR SEEN on scholarship. After falling “in love” with the Arabic language in college, Belcrest, raised Catho- lic, became “super interested” in Islamic law after a study abroad stint in Morocco. How will she turn her interests into a career when she returns home? “I kind of have a plan,” says Belcrest, who will pursue work in the non-profit sector, even though she admits, “Everyone is always concerned with the job market, to be honest.” Which makes the ability to network – a skill she practiced in college – even more important, she says. INNOVATIVE COMMUNICATION SKILLS Carl Anthony, 34, parlayed two media degrees from a small community college in Iowa into a career in the auto industry. How? After honing his radio skills in Iowa for 10 years, he moved to Sioux Falls, S.D., in 2013 to be near family. There, “I combined two things I absolutely loved – automobiles and broadcasting,” selling cars at a Ford dealership by day and working as a part-time disc jockey and producer at night. He also started writing for Sioux Falls publica- tions. “All my broadcasting training made me excellent at the dealership, even though I didn’t do a lick of [automotive study] in school. Eventually, through the auto in- dustry, I ended up in Detroit.” Today, the diehard Detroit resi- dent works as a product specialist, vehicle coach and facilitator for a variety of automotive clients, speaking with consumers, and training dealership personnel all over the country to get them excited for new vehicles. He is also the managing editor of automob- log.net. No typical 9 to 5 job for him although he wouldn’t describe himself a risk-taker. “I don’t ever exceed the speed limit; I drive with two hands on the wheel, nev- er gambled in my life and I don’t drink alcohol. I think the riskiest thing I’ve ever done is ride a few roller coasters.” He also follows a core philos- ophy. “When you worry about all the work that [may or may not come] next, you don’t do a good job on the work you are supposed to do today.” STABILITY’S THE WORD With a degree in film and video from Columbia College in Chicago, Breayne Riddle, 29, thought she’d end up writing screenplays in L.A. But personal events back home – including her father’s bone marrow transplant – led her back to Michigan where she accepted a coffee Top and previous page: Carl Anthony on assignment for Chevrolet. Bottom: Fulbrignt scolar Abigale Belcrest in Morocco.
  3. 3. 52 | NEIGHBORHOOD SEEN • October 2016 www.NeighborhoodSEEN.com » ENTREPRENEUR SEEN roaster apprenticeship with Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company. A year later, she started work as a marketing assistant for retirement community Henry Ford Village in Dearborn before replacing a co-worker in a move-in assistant role. Not long after, she landed her current role as a residency counselor. “I never had a 9 to 5 before, so this was a big change for me,” says Riddle, who worked café jobs in Chicago to help pay for her education. The surprise? “I really love working with seniors. It’s the best part of my job.” Hired for her outgoing personality, writing and teamwork skills, Riddle, who lives in Hamtramck for the “creative vibe” with her musician-husband, appreciates the stability. “While I do miss certain things about not sitting in an office all day, I have financial security I didn’t previously have.” She also has vacation days, a predictable Monday-to-Friday work schedule and is “learning to be more organized.” She also appreciates her employer, especially the kind treatment after her dad, and then grandmother, passed away. “They said, ‘come back when you are ready.’ These people whom I didn’t know well made my life a little bit easier.” RISK-TAKER WITH A PHILOSOPHY DEGREE Royal Oak resident Rachel Reed, 33, worked in marketing, traveled the world with the International Ski Federation and recently returned from Africa after a gig as athlete liaison for the World’s Strongest Man competition – all with a philosophy degree from Oakland University. “It’s who you know, not what you know,” says Reed, who thinks she was lucky to get a job in digital marketing right out of college. “Someone gave me a shot for that role and that catapulted me into the marketing world.” But studying philosophy helped. “Philosophy teaches you to see that third side of the coin, to take abstract ideas, put them on paper and speak them. I found it incredibly useful in marketing.” It also helped her career evolve into subsequent marketing positions in the auto and beverage industries. It was while working for Coca-Cola that Reed took another unlikely step, thanks to a member of her by now vast network, and traveled with the ski federation, cashing in vacation days to interview athletes on the podium. Media outlets around the world purchased the footage. What made her take such a leap of faith – especially for someone without any broadcasting experience? “I’ve always been really outgo- ing and love the challenge of being in uncomfortable situations.” Still, she flubbed her first interview on the podium. “You put some- one in a role they’ve never been in before and there’s a learning curve. But I learned from my mistakes. I didn’t mess up again and stayed with the program for four years.” Reed, whose sister just had a baby, considers herself a free agent after quitting her “dream job” with Red Bull to spend more time with family. “I’ve always known the importance of family … but at 33 they should become my first priority, not the other way around.” NS Top: Rachel Reed (center) broadcasting from a skiing event. Below: Rachel Reed (right) on assignment for the International Ski Federation. Are Millennials attracted to the entrepreneurial life? According to a 2014 Bentley University survey, only 13 per- cent of Millennials plan to climb the corporate ladder while two-thirds fancy their starting their own business. Breayne Riddle, 29, may fall into the second category. Even though she appreciates the stability of her 9 to 5 job, she “thrived” in café jobs that put her through school. “My ultimate goal, and I’m not sure if it’s a pipedream, is to own my own café. That’s where I’m really happy, working behind the coffee bar, in that community space, talking to my neighbors.” Joey Cobb, a 2004 University Liggett School grad with a de- gree in media arts and studies from Wayne State University, is a millennial entrepreneur who owns independent record label Stone Group Records. He attributes the millennial “thirst for entrepreneurship” to opportunities for monetization not available in previous generations. Social media is a good example. “If you are funny, you can record some You Tube videos in your bedroom [for an audience] that can grow from a few subscribers to 10,000,” a figure very attractive to adver- tisers, Cobb says.

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