| DERON FETZ
Several weeks ago, after several candid conversations with my leadership team, followed by much personal deliberation, I decided that my professional and personal goals were no longer in line with the company’s and it was simply no longer a good fit for me. I gave my resignation notice shortly thereafter and worked with my team to ensure a smooth transition before I left. I am finding that at this point in my career that it’s absolutely essential for me to work with people who want to achieve progress, to realize common goals, and to work towards achieving the ultimate goal of bettering the lives of everyone in the community rather than working for people to achieve the goals of a select few- something I had always struggled to satisfy in the traditional private sector. As I began transitioning out of my old role held in the suburbs and began getting more involved in my urban community, I quickly began to learn that the desires I have for my career are reminiscent of many in my generation. We are in the midst of a paradigm shift and the emergence of a brand new American Dream that is inspiring several young, talented individuals to abandon traditional Corporate America for socially progressive businesses, nonprofits, government agencies, and entrepreneurship.
Many of us have come to realize that we are all still very much apart of a system where some have the deck stacked greatly in their favor while many have the deck stacked against them. As a society we are reducing one another down to numbers and measuring the worth of our lives solely based on our ability to make money. Previous generations have accepted this as “normal” through
perpetuating the myth of some magical proverbial ladder that everyone has the ability to climb. But there is nothing normal or romantic about the reality of systematically keeping certain groups marginalized in order to hoard wealth and power for a select few.
Historically, we’ve come to call our lust for personal material gain “The American Dream” but in doing so we began missing out on many aspects of the human experience and losing respect for quality of life. The New American Dream seeks to restore balance. One cannot deny the importance of money but money alone doesn’t make the world go ‘round and money alone certainly won’t keep the world going ‘round for generations to come. Keeping the earth spinning depends greatly on how we distribute our wealth, what we focus our energy on, and what we choose to spend our money on. These realizations have led to the emergence of a much more altruistic, purposeful American Dream that includes a place at the table for anyone willing to work and many are abandoning their roles in traditional corporations to be a part of it.
As Leigh Gallagher points out in his book The End of The Suburbs: Where the American Dream is Moving, Millennials are buying bikes and public transit passes instead of cars, we are abandoning spacious townhouses for efficiency lofts, and we have whittled down our desire for objects to a few electronic devices. We are also trading in our cubicles for more communal workspaces that allow us to be both more autonomous and collaborative. This is greatly in part due to the realization that success isn’t the same for everyone and it shouldn’t be an exclusive commodity for people of very specific types of intelligence, talents, socio-economic backgrounds, gender, sexual orientation, physical ability, and race. Generations before us have failed to recognize the importance of including a seat at the table for everyone who is hungry, but we are an infinitely diverse species and we must honor and respect what each of us has to offer in order for our communities to be their strongest.