Defining the Millennial

Epistemologies in the Time of Millennials

I have spent most of my advanced education and career rooted in research — strategizing, building, and strengthening nonprofit projects and programming; conducting market research to best position a client’s branding; identifying a business’s true KPIs and branding through qualitative and quantitative research methods; evaluating and providing recommendations for UX product designs; understanding the barriers to programs and projects and advising how to remove them, etc. Having a foundation in research allows me to be a lifelong learner and span every industry imaginable. It’s also really difficult to explain.

When my former professors (who span four disciplines) ask, “What are you up to nowadays?” it’s not so easy to come up with a clear and concise response that fits into their experience of career pathways. Then again, I’m blessed with brilliant mentors who have already figured out a millennial will have skillsets to follow no less than 15 career pathways… just depending on what’s open at the moment.

The most important thing I tell those in my life is that, in every contract or job or interaction, I try to help people. Whether it’s a for-profit or non-profit client or my Neighborhood Association, my goal in life is to use the skillsets I’ve gained to make someone’s life better. To help them achieve a situation tomorrow that feels more stable and enjoyable than the one they had yesterday.

Research Authenticity

My personal belief is that (95% of the time) researchers should be both moldable and almost invisible. Like water, a good researcher should form around the needs of a solid brand or client goal–remaining clear, but also not pushing any thoughts or agenda onto the initiative. This allows the stakeholders involved to be authentic in their needs and desires. It creates an authenticity in the research design, data, and analysis that is not possible if the researcher themselves is not comfortable with the authentic progression of the work. Authentic research comes from an authentic researcher. An authentic researcher is not someone loud and aggressive who claims “Well this is just my authentic self!” An authentic researcher is compassionate and empathetic to the goals of the people they are hired to serve. They are in a constant position of learning and relating.

Out of the many things I have acquired over the years, there is one important factor (often loudly present) in the employment sphere that I have not come to possess — ego. My work stands for itself and I, like water, exist to nourish those around me.

Sharing as Caring

It has always been difficult for me to discuss my work–strategies, suggestions, successes. It goes against the “remaining unseen until time for recommendations” philosophy that I find so dear to conducting great work. But recently I have come to realize that not sharing goes against my other greatest desire–to help others succeed. So for now I will be embracing an old adage — “Sharing is Caring.” And doing my best to live my own positionality on humans; that everyone has something important and valuable worth sharing.

I’m glad you’re here and so is the world. <3

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