Just like some people believe in guardian angels, I believe in timing. Oh, it is real. Simple things like finding a parking spot in an overly crowded parking garage, or grabbing a friend’s arm and yelling “Stop!” just as she’s about to cross a busy intersection, while a car ran a red light … blame it all on great timing.
Timing, it would seem, is everything. Timing determines when and how you met or will meet your significant other, if you get the best deal anywhere and on anything, or even if you signed the client you wanted. OK, that last one is more like a little bit of timing and lots of prospecting and planning, but you get the idea.
Why am I attributing life-saving events, mundane things like finding a parking spot, and something as important and delicate as a client signing to timing? Because time is one of the few irreplaceable, precious and priceless, yet constant, things in life that can and will determine the road you take.
We are here today, but we don’t know where we might end up tomorrow. A fortunate or unfortunate event might lead you down a different path that you had not planned. How many times have you found yourself in the right place at the right time?
Timing affects all areas in our lives, including our roles as leaders, whether our investments perform well, and even getting a job. At least that’s what a blog in the Washington Post says about the latter. The newspaper’s opinion piece says the reason why the “older part” of the Millennial demographic, specifically those ages 25 to 34, don’t have great paying jobs is because of timing:
“The younger members of Gen Y are loaded with debt, but they are at least graduating into an economy with expanding job opportunities; meanwhile, the cohort of young people unlucky enough to have entered the job market during a time of scarcer openings sees its economic misfortunes (and resulting inability to afford a homestead or other life milestones) persist.
In other words, the Great Recession may have led to a new Lost Generation — or at least a Lost Half-Generation.
Economists have known for a while that the damage from downturns can endure long after the economy has turned, especially among those whose greatest sin was bad timing.
Yale’s Lisa Kahn finds that people who graduate from college during a time of high unemployment earn significantly lower wages than workers with better timing. This differential persists not for a year or two but for decades.”
The impact of those words on me was not lost. Part of me was screaming, “Yes! The author is right!” and yet … it’s not entirely due to timing that the older millennials are behind in what they should be earning. That would be too simplistic and kind of hurtful: “Oh yea, you’re not doing well because of bad timing. Sorry!” I would like to think that the reason why many millennials are still struggling is something that, unlike timing, can be controlled.
I’m part of that “older” millennial generation and there’s no way I could’ve controlled a) when I was born and b) where the economy was headed by the time I graduated and looked for a job related to my field of studies. Just fresh out of college, and after an internship at a newspaper, there were talks and interviews for a full-time position. But that never materialized due to circumstances out of my control, maybe timing … but for more on that, read this post.
To me, that experience was like when you’re standing in a long line at the supermarket and, finally, you’re next. Suddenly, the cashier says that that lane is closed and you should go to the next one over. By the time you look for the shortest line, which doesn’t exist because they are all miles long, it’ll take you about another hour to cash out and get out of the store.
That’s what happened to many of us. So what did we do? Executed plans B, C, D … we took ANY job. I saw many of my peers become highly educated waiters, bartenders, or “temps” working for temp agencies. And many decided to go back to school for a Master’s degree because “maybe if I have Master’s degree, I’ll be qualified for a better job.” And what that did was make them “over-qualified” for an entry-level position, plus accumulate more student loan debt. What a conundrum…