In the same way that the bold frontiersmen of the 19th-century gold rush were different from the era's staid urban patriarchs, today's American college graduates differ from their parents as they take their place in the "modern gold rush" economy. According to a report from CNN, an increasing number of college seniors are turning to the here-today, gone-tomorrow Internet world for post-graduation jobs, rather than exploring "safer" alternatives in advertising, banking and the law. Like the economy, today's graduates are a different breed than their predecessors. Unlike their parents, who sought long-term jobs and worked for one or two companies, most see themselves as modern-day guns for hire, putting in three or four years and then switching jobs, companies or even careers. In fact, most of them will probably switch careers three or four times a sharp contrast to the decades their parents have logged climbing the hierarchy at a single firm.
Adding to their enthusiasm for the Internet world is the fact that they are, in essence, staying in a field they already know. Raised alongside the fledgling computer industry, they practiced math with DOS-based "Number Munchers" and presented their senior theses as web sites rather than 100-page printouts. "By virtue of going to schools that are wired, they are trained in the language of today's economy," said William Saporito, business editor of TIME. "They'll be entering an economy custom-designed for them."