How looking back can shape our future

As a society, we are very focused on the future and how we want to shape and change things. We tweet, we blog, we discuss, we meet all about how things ’should’ be. Yet rarely do we (Gen Y) actually take the time to really understand how we got to this point in the first place. We are a generation of thinkers. We are a generation of now. We are a now generation that see’s it isn’t right and just wants to jump in and fix it. We are a generation who (in many respects) doesn’t take the time to understand the history behind the why. We, in some respects, have an idealistic view of the way a society and business should operate vs. how the reality dictates it does and fights for the idealism vs reality.

In my idealistic world – work would be a part of who we are – a passion that people possess beyond any other and something they can’t imagine being with out. A company is a portal for a person to be able to delve into their craft and not worry about the auxiliary issues that they would face being independent. The experience would be a win/win from start to finish and would be existing for the greater good of society as a whole.

In reality – work (for so many people) has overtaken the “who” of who they are and not because it is a passion they possess, but because they are slaves to credit cards and mortgages and all of the other “wants” our society has created. Companies are not a partnership portal allowing individuals to shine and develop, rather they are succubus’ ready to suck the soul out of you if you dare try to change the course.

The question we should all think about before the how do we improve it, is the how did it get to this point to start with. At what point did companies lose their humanity – or did they ever have it to start with?

I am not fighting for reality. I am also not fighting for idealism.

I am advocating for a true understanding of the how and the why we got to the point we did based on fact. Much like history, we can only stop repeating mistakes once we truly understand and accept them. Only then can we become the generation that reshaped the future of business. I hope the next time you cross a challenge or something to change – you will take a few minutes to really discover the why and the how it got there in the first place.

Views: 84

Comment by Hassan Rizwan on October 27, 2009 at 3:52am
Supers post this is. This is surely going to go to all our twitter and business contacts. A great food for thought. This is the second article after your theatre one ( i suppose) and there is no doubt for it to become the best for this week (with most comments)
Comment by Sarah White on October 27, 2009 at 9:52am
@Rayanne - Thank you. I appreciate it!

@RadicalRecruit - I didn't even realize I was a feature sharer with you until you tweeted yours this am! Thanks for letting me know!!

@Hassan - Thank you for the kind words, I really appreciate that. I have had a few in between, but don't typically cross post all of them over to recruitingblogs - feel free to check out my blog at
Comment by Fran Hogan on October 27, 2009 at 9:59am
Excellent post Sarah. The hopes I have for my grandchildren's future rest with your generation. It is reassuring to know there are Gen Y's like you with a better vision for the future and sensible ideas about how to acheive it.
Comment by Randy Levinson on October 27, 2009 at 10:37pm
OH the humanity! YES Sarah, I am barely a pre-genXer and I love the point you make here. All too often did I encounter in a very large and progrssive company that loved to throw around the word "family" a lack of understanding about the human effort that had gone into projects and how that got us where we were. As someone who was with the company for a long time I would often try to inject historical reference into our decision making only to be told that the issue was the "current business need - not the history". What's the old saying about not learning from mistakes? Hear-hear! to your post. Thanks.


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