Go to school; get good grades; find a good job; retire forty years later with a gold watch. Today, we are witnessing the outcome of this formula and what it has done—and hasn't done—for our parents.

We see them having to pick up a second job for a little extra income because their company has downsized. Perhaps they were let go after thirty years of service, and at the age of 55 they have to start all over with no savings, no retirement plan and a feeling of hopelessness.

No thank you is the answer you will hear from me and my peers.

We don't get too excited about someone else deciding our worth and viewing us as just another business expense. We will not let out a sigh of relief when our employers tell us they want to cut our pay in half, but at least they will keep us around.

We think, feel and know we are an asset. If the traditional model does not recognize this, then we'll seek alternatives. This is where network marketing comes in. Not only is it a way to be the creator of your own worth, it also allows our generation to do what we do best: network with one another.

We are constantly in the know. We check in, tweet, tag, post and blog while hanging out with friends, at a business function or community event. Granted, we may get a little carried away. For instance, you may see a group of young professionals having dinner at a restaurant and everyone is on their phone social networking—but not in person. This is something we are becoming more aware of and working on.

However, Gen Y would rather have to brush up on our face-to-face networking skills than have to worry about starting over at age 55. That is just plain unappealing.

Network marketing is a space where even shy people such as myself can create an income, be self-supporting, assist others, hang out with those we care about the most and not be tied to a nine-to-five schedule.

Our network crosses state lines and country borders, thanks to the Internet. We can collaborate, build rapport and friendships across the world and create the means to go visit one another, thanks to this wonderful profession. We are creative and optimistic, our friends become our extended family, we enjoy bringing about a better world and making a difference. Which other business allows you such a range of diversity?

I am blessed to have been introduced to network marketing at a young age, and as I continue to connect with other like-minded individuals, they too express their gratitude. Don't be afraid to introduce us to your business. We are looking—and you just may be the answer.

SHAY WHEAT was introduced to network
marketing by her stepdad at age 21. Eight
years later she leads a group of powerful
young professionals in her current enterprise
and also speaks, trains and conducts workshops
on topics such as bridging the generation gap.