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How far can "Grit" Get Graduates in the COVID Economy?

girl graduating
Photo by Stanley Morales from Pexels

High school seniors are reassessing their college plans, and this spring’s college graduates are entering the most punishing labor market in memory. With so much uncertainty, what can young people do to thrive? Linda Kaplan Thaler, co-author of Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary, joins Full Disclosure with Roben Farzadto give perspective and advice on how this generation’s young leaders can rise to the challenges of a Covid-19 economy.

Kaplan Thaler grew up in the Bronx, “with no money or connections,” and became an award-winning advertising executive who created some of the most recognizable advertising campaigns and jingles in the industry, including the Aflac Duck, the “Yes, Yes, Yes” Herbal Essences campaign, and the “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, I’m A Toys ‘R’ Us Kid” jingle. She’s given numerous talks at businesses and colleges and has appeared widely on television.

"We are mostly creative when we're bored because the mind fills you up with other ideas. - Kaplan Thaler

The show airs live Fridays at 2 pm on VPM News 88.9 FM and reairs Saturday at 6:00 p.m. and Sundays at 8:00 p.m.

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Episode excerpt

The following excerpt was edited for clarity.

Robin Farzad: There seems to be this culture war between millennials and boomers. And you were promised certain things and you never got to partake in anything. And there was a level of poverty that you never signed up for. I will say that the millennials that I talked to feel like they were robbed, they were deprived, they did not get their extension of the social compact. So how can we be arguing when the unemployment rate is going to be potentially multiples of how bad it was in 2008 and 2009, that it's going to be any better for the class of 2020?


Linda Kaplan Taylor: In a way, coming out of it [they will be] stronger and just be able to conquer anything. You know, we looked at who is considered the greatest generation. They got through the Great Depression, they got through World War II, and they became sort of like steel, right? And I feel like that's what's going to happen with this generation. Yeah, there's a sense of feeling wronged. There are no two ways about it. And it's going on, unfortunately, all over the world. But I think it's an opportunity also, to sort of think of everything that you're going to do going forward as something that's going to be added to the list that is going to help you become very successful as you go on. 

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