I’m nearly 41. I’m a guy. And I mostly help 18–25 year old women with their careers.
How the f*ck did this happen?
Well, as with most things in life, the answer to that question isn’t so simple.
So, let’s get this out of the way: I’m probably the only young professional advocate (influencer) on LinkedIn over, say, 30. Naturally, people want to help those that they’re most familiar with. Totally normal. Career coaches my age usually help mid career professionals and some youngsters, but don’t have the same passion for helping this age group that I do.
Ok, so, reasons.
Let’s start with the initial motivation. To put it mildly, I didn’t care for young professionals when I started out on my journey to “help” them. The selfishness, self absorption, lack of care for others — it was astounding to me. And the lack of respect for older people! In their eyes, we have nothing to offer! Man, the disrespect felt palpable and insulting. I sensed an air of confidence from them that was undeserved. You have to earn your seat at the table and toil like I did. Stop with the expectations that you’re going to be CEO at 25 because I am not having it.
So I wanted to teach them a lesson. Get the f*ck over yourself, show some respect, and get in line. And I’m just the guy to tell you this because, guess what, I’ve had it.
Well, fast forward about a year and a half and no joke, I got this alllll wrong. But we’ll get back to that later.
Let’s talk about other motivations, shall we? I’ll be honest: turning forty was no fun for me. I’m, like, really middle age. And I got all the typical markings of middle age — a growing belly, lost hair, a demanding job, a wife, two young kids, and a mortgage. Life felt…like a bit of a drag.
But young people! Oh my god. The exuberance of youth! So optimistic. So playful. So fun! The burdens of the world have hit to some degree but the youth have not been shit on and spit out like I have. I want to drink from their elixir of life. I need their energy to sustain me. Talking to them, interacting, being playful and fun — it’s a rush for me, man. It’s an amazing feeling connecting with that youth. No lie — I love that connection and I love that they consider me “one of them.”
And I love the attention and “being looked up to.” It makes me feel special and important that I’m considered an inspiration to so many people. The ego gratification is quite satisfying. It’s cool that this regular old dude can inspire the young folks, so I bask in the glory.
The girl thing? That’s totally by accident. It has to do with my content and my philosophy. Young women are drawn into my world of emotional intelligence and acknowledging feelings. They’re inspired to develop at a young age through personal self development — looking inwards for growth. Their empathic skills and ability to connect on a human level tend to surpass what men their age can do. These women can see that I hear them and “speak their language,” as it were — I understand their concerns.
Perhaps young men will get there one day, but they mostly live in the tangible, rational world of things — success is achieved by gaining the keys to the next level. Gross generalizations? Sure. But I’ve talked to 1000s of young professionals and these are my observations.
But yeah — there’s other reasons too, more of the shit you’d expect me to say. I do want to give back, and helping young people navigate their way through a turbulent world is my way of giving back. I never had mentorship when I was young, so I had to figure things out on my own. I want to help young people by being that guide that I never had.
And let’s get back to those initial terrible first impressions that I talked about earlier. I was dead wrong.
Young people are mostly frightened of the world. Any confidence that I see is an act — they suffer from drastically high rates of imposter syndrome and perfectionism. They’ve grown up in a world where, on social media, everyone looks like they’re doing so amazing. This makes them feel even shittier about themselves. Adults like myself aren’t helping them because most people wrongly view them as arrogant kids that need to get in line.
So my motivation went from teaching them a lesson to being that voice that lets them know that they’re ok. That they’re amazing and special in their own way. That it’s cool to be insecure and feel bad and that confidence will come. I want to give them all a big hug and say “you’ve got this. I see you. I care about you. You’re good.”
So I love helping young professionals. I won’t stop doing it despite the headaches of dealing with people who haven’t fully figured out who they are. I deal with a lot of up and down emotions. The selfishness is real, for the most part, but instead of hating it I understand it: in order to grow into that full fledged person you have to be a bit selfish and do some self exploration. You don’t have room to see others until you can fully see yourself. Frustrating? Absolutely. But understandable.
So welcome to my mission. I’m not going anywhere. And I’m happy to welcome you in to my life and help you get where you need to go.