The Millennial Report: Finding a Sense of Belonging in the Channel
No matter what you do for a living or where you live, it’s important to feel like you belong to the larger community and have access to additional resources to help guide you in your professional and personal life.
No matter what you do for a living or where you live, it’s important to feel like you belong to the larger community and have access to additional resources to help guide you in your professional and personal life. For many young people in the IT channel, finding this sense of belonging can be both stressful and difficult, considering the fact that the number of industry veterans is markedly higher than the number of millennials selling technology, despite forecasted demographic changes within the next several years.
This week I attended my first in-person meeting of CompTIA’s Future Leaders Community at ChannelCon, and I have to say the experience was well worth my trip to Chicago. Just seeing the wealth of other people my age in the channel was not only refreshing, but I felt genuinely excited to be surrounded by other members of my age group who are not only succeeding in the IT industry, but setting an example for others.
Let’s get one thing straight; I love working with and meeting colleagues who fit squarely into the Baby Boomer and Gen X age groups, but I often struggle to relate to their experience and tenure in the industry seeing as how I have only been in the channel for little over a year. It’s a topic I’ve written about before, and it made me feel an enormous sense of belonging to hear nearly those exact same words from Samantha Ciaccia, a fellow member of the Future Leaders Community and one of the recipients of this year’s ChannelChanger awards. Knowing someone else shared my same insecurities was comforting, and provided me with a new outlet to voice my doubts should I ever feel the need.
On top of that, my fellow millennials seemed to embody and embrace all the interesting things that I happen to love about the channel—the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life with a shared interest in technology as well as a desire to learn and grow in their positions into something greater. And even though I had never met any of these people in person prior to this week, I felt a definite sense of belonging that can be hard to come by when you’re 10-15 years younger than the average conference attendee.
My hope is that other millennials within the IT industry read this and understand that there are groups out there like the Future Leaders Community built specifically for those of us still trying to get a handle on this whole crazy channel business that can seem so overwhelming at first glance. I encourage you all to either join the Future Leaders or to find another organization that fits your needs—I can guarantee it’ll be more than worth your while.
The Millennial Report is a weekly column by associate editor Michael Cusanelli, who graduated from Stony Brook University’s School of Journalism in 2012. He is an avid gamer and movie buff who spends nearly as much time concocting the perfect mix tape as he does writing. You can find him on Twitter @MCusanelliSB.