04 Mar 2014
I was lucky. I grew up in an age where there was no real alternative to pursuing a career in my area of study. Well, there was. I could starve. Or marry rich (which I realised too late).
By contrast, the Millennials are cursed with too many options. Theirs is a world where an undergraduate can parlay a great idea into a multi-billion dollar company and turn the word "Friend" into a verb. Theirs is a culture where having a law degree is not a career imperative but a pit stop in the journey to becoming a top chef, a creative hotelier or a dedicated full-time home-schooling mom. These are all legitimate options, but with too many choices comes the challenge of doing something well.
Young lawyers these days, hardworking as they may be, are plagued by the question: Is there something else I should be doing with my life? Should I be giving my career my all or should I prioritise having a family? And if I start a family, how do I juggle the triple demands of family, work and guilt?
People say that Millennials are the "Strawberry Generation", easily bruised, needing exactly the right conditions to thrive, lacking resilience. I don't agree. Our Millennial lawyers are hardworking and dedicated; they just see their lives as having more than the one mission (to make money). And it is often the women who face the greatest challenge.
I think this is why TSMP's launch of Girl Power!, an initiative to mentor and support our women professionals, was so well received. Having a guilt-free forum to share your fears and to hear from other women that you are not alone in your dumbest anxieties, is therapeutic and affirming. Knowing how men and women operate differently in the workplace helps us to understand ourselves better and enables us to better achieve our career goals. Having the support of a fellow professional who has trod the path ahead successfully in her Roger Viviers, and knowing that what you do as a female professional will pave the path for your sisters behind you, now that's Girl Power!
From the desk of Stefanie Yuen Thio