How does a person become a millennial workplace expert? I can’t say I had a specific plan. I was fortunate to discover my passion in college while working as a dorm RA (resident advisor). I loved everything about it: advising college students on their academics, extracurriculars, career paths and life choices, and serving as a resource for administrators, parents and other “grown-ups” who wanted to understand the students I was advising.
After college, I went to grad school in Melbourne, Australia, to study women’s entrepreneurship, not realizing I was studying my future. Back in the U.S. on my first job interview, the interviewer looked at my resume and said, “A master’s degree in women’s studies? That’ll get you nowhere.”
That experience led to three months of staying under the covers in my childhood bedroom, eating frozen yogurt directly from the carton and wondering if my glory days were behind me. Eventually, out of sheer boredom — or a need to buy more frozen yogurt — I started meeting with people and sending out resumes. One day, I met a career coach who asked me to describe the best job I’d ever had. I immediately started telling her how much I loved being an RA and wished I could do that forever.
“So do that forever,” she said.
“Um, there are no RA jobs in the real world,” I replied.
“So start your own business,” she advised.
As with much good advice, I completely ignored her and eventually landed a great job at a startup website called WorkingWoman.com by cold-calling the HR department. (Yes, in the late ’90s people answered their phones.) It was the height of the dot-com boom and it was thrilling to be part of it for the 18 months the company’s funding lasted. When the bubble burst, I was left with a few weeks’ severance and a laptop.
“Go start your own business,” the company’s chairman told me on my way out.
This time I listened. While working part-time at a women’s business organization, I started freelance writing and giving speeches on the only topic I knew: how to be a young person figuring out what to do with your life.
Just like in my days as an RA, I spent my time advising teens and young adults. Then speech by speech, article by article, blog post by blog post, my business grew. In 2007, HarperCollins published my first book, Getting from College to Career, and in 2009 through a referral from a friend-of-a-friend, I became an official ambassador for LinkedIn, running many of their online training programs for job seekers and university career services professionals.
I continued to travel around the country speaking to college students and young professionals, providing highly practical, cutting-edge career advice with a lot of empathy for how hard the transition from college to career can be. Then, a few years ago, I started to receive requests from companies asking me to help them understand this new generation of young people known as Generation Y or millennials (those born approximately between 1982 and 2000). Because of my day-to-day work with college students and recent grads in this age group, I put together a series of offerings to help organizations attract and retain their young employees.
In the more than a decade since I first set out on my own, I’ve built a bio I’m proud of while having the privilege of truly living my dream of being an RA for life, guiding young people to their careers and helping the “grown-ups” understand the younger generation. I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Location: New York City
Starbucks Order: Tall skim latte
Misspellings of My Name:
- Lindsay Pollak
- Lindsey Pollack
- Lindsay Pollack
- Lindsey Pollock
- Lindsay Pollock