Since I wrote this blog for everyone to read, I figured it was only fair I follow-up my first post with my grandfather’s reaction. Below are the reasons he listed for why he still believes I am an employee at an intelligence agency. Yes, they certainly arouse suspicion, but I explain why each is simply a piece of the larger, Millennial employee portrait.
1.) You are an Ivy League Graduate.
Yes, I graduated from Princeton, but I think this only validates my ability to learn new information. As I’ve been told by multiple managers, one of my greatest assets as an employee is to absorb large quantities of information extremely quickly. I attribute this skill to the twelve-week-long semesters at my alma mater.
2.) You speak and understand Arabic.
Having studied Spanish in high school, I was looking for a new challenge while fulfilling my language requirement in college. I had originally intended to be a doctor and thought a unique language would bolster my application to medical schools. It plays into an “eclectic” set of skills most Millennials possess.
3.) You have knowledge of the Middle East.
I can attribute this interest to an article I read shortly after 9/11. One of the generals was told, after touching down for the first time in Afghanistan, to look around and understand that was as far as he was ever going to get in his understanding about the country (or something to that effect). Even at a young age, I wondered why no one had bothered to learn more about it. I was determined to never be that confused about anything – and to always ask “why”.
4.) Your thesis was about Hezbollah and Hamas.
Again, this was more from circumstance: I had decided to major in History and earn my certificate (minor) in Near Eastern Studies; my thesis needed to cover both in order to graduate. Terrorism was something that fascinated me, and I knew that one year and 100 pages later, I would (a) only have put a dent in my understanding and (b) not get bored with the topic. It was an important lesson: be passionate about big projects and they won’t be so daunting.
5.) The Middle East is going to be the focal point of the future [which makes you a more likely recruit since you’ve already studied it].
My knowledge of the Middle East has certainly proved a good talking point, both in my professional and personal life. I am often disappointed by the misunderstandings and stereotypical views that most Americans hold on the Middle East, terrorism, Islam, Arabs… the list goes on. As aforementioned, I wanted to be informed so I can debunk these myths with education and rationality. I take a similar approach when met with less-than-excited views on Millennials in the workplace.
6.) The CIA & FBI work in semi-covert fashion to recruit agents. They have the financial resources to educate and train young people and do so with the aid of major corporations.
I wish SAP’s recruiting was less “semi-covert”, which is why I work hard to promote our brand among young people! One of the things I am most pleased with at SAP and the Graduate Academy is the training I’ve received, both from technical and professional development standpoints. It is certainly a huge advantage that will help me no matter what career I decide on. Millennials want to learn and be trained in a variety of arenas.
I understand that I’m not Lena Dunham and I don’t claim to speak as the voice of my generation. Yet I hope that my story can be one example of the navigations that most twenty-something-year olds go through in their post-collegiate, newly-professional lives. We’re a generation that can’t – and won’t – be ignored, and to echo this blog, it’s best to be educated and informed.