Monday, September 1, 2008

A Realization of Gen-Y Tendencies...

When I first started being alerted to the unique 'qualities' of Gen-Y I kind of thought the whole thing was bullshit. I mean, who are we to think that we are beautiful and unique snowflakes? Or, at least, a new breed of worker and society contributor? I thought that we really were just trying to emulate our superiors as best we could while figuring out how to navigate coming of age during a war and a pretty shitty economy. Only total numbskulls were going to work in irreverent tees and designer jeans, listening to iPods when we should they overhearing office conversations, and multitasking like crazy between business-related tasks.

Well, here is one of those rare times where Victoria Gutierrez is going to put her gnarly dancer's foot in her mouth. Here I am, sitting across my boyfriend at the kitchen table. Both of us are 23. Both of us are on our work computers, getting a huge amount of work done on a holiday... while blogging and catching up on personal emails, in between showing each other condo listings and getting a week's worth of laundry done. My chihuahua, Elvis, is sitting on my lap and trying to steal sips of organic green tea. Nick is in his pajamas, I am in an old Red Hot Chili Peppers tee. Pandora is blaring some sort of whiny-boy punk music, and this somehow feels like my ideal work environment.

Contrast this with Nick's dad, who is at this very minute (and most minutes while he is here) dressed in very polished business casual,with the door closed in his office, trying to get his next presentation put together on his huge desk full of laptops, monitors, and printers. Complete silence and a big cup of coffee generally gets the job done.

And here I see the fundamental differences between the generations. Nick's dad is a boomer, we are the definition of Gen Y. Gen X I feel, for the most part, is much better at the act that I thought I was playing: copying their boomer boss' moves, outfits, and mortgages to a tee until it comes naturally. My Gen X cousins and friends take a certain joy in getting to wear a tie to work, creeping into middle management, and planning for single family homes and babies. I want a timber loft and more chihuahuas (and a child only if it is a son who will play in the NFL and guarantee me a Campbells Chunky Soup commercial of my own), and to run my own start-up so that I can continue dressing like some sort of eccentric pseudo-hippie.

I'm sure I'll get accused of making assumptions based upon very generalized ideas. I don't really care. What I feel is most important about coming to this sort of realization is that it shows me that I am finally doing something right. My job search was a long and arduous one because I have two requirements for career paths in my life: one, it has to be one where you have something unique and valuable to contribute, and two, it has to be something that makes you excited to get out of bed 75% of the time. For me that means being creative, being extremely busy, and just getting to be myself while I'm at work.

I am there, but Nick is not. Neither are a lot of my friends...which makes me wonder, how many of you are unhappy? How many of you played the game to get the job, and are now struggling to just feel right in your own skin at work?

1 comment:

Adam Pieniazek said...

I see a lot of people in my generation trying to emulate the people above them and honestly feel a little sad. For instance, one of my friends believes that to get ahead in his job he must go out drinking with his co-workers and bosses because that's what they do. Yet, he works longer hours than any of them.

Personally, emulating my superiors is not something that ever seemed acceptable to me. In fact, I've seen how the generations above us have endlessly toiled for faceless corporations who then just threw them out when it was no longer profitable to keep them! That's something I want to avoid at all costs. If it means earning less money, so be it because the freedom to work on what I want to work on is much, much more important than having a fancy title or big salary. I learned from the mistakes of the generations above us, rather than from their successes!