I always thought Generation Y was summed up by the motto “Why not?”
Such as (but not limited to):
Why not take horse tranquilizers for fun?
Why not live in Bed Sty?
Why not eat sushi that is shaped like a mermaid?
Why not wear fanny packs?
However, that is apparently a very old fashioned idea of what Generation Y is, at least according to this blog that I found via a New York Times Op Ed that is called “Modite” (http://modite.com/blog). Interestingly Modite’s subtitle is “A quarter life crisis is so last year. Helping you change the world.” This is has a very similar sound to S.N.O.B’s subtitle “A quarter-century life crisis does not mean psychic death.” However, whereas this blog strives to make people think critically (or just make fun of everything and then listen to the music I suggest… same difference), Rebecca Thorman’s young perky professional woman blog strives to create Generation Y Leaders out of us all!
Let us read an excerpt:
2. Cynicism vs. Idealism Since the Gen Xers weren’t able to create the workplace change they desired, it’s no wonder that I get the feeling that Generation X is inherently skeptical of who I am. They’re weary of how easy success comes to me, of my desire to bring them into the mix, and of my idealism.
Unlike our older co-workers, Generation Y doesn’t operate out of fear or distrust, but the possibility of what can be done. I realize that Generation Y is new to the workplace. To Gen X, I just don’t get how the world works. And while it’s quite possible that we won’t change the world like we anticipate, why shoot for just the possible? Idealism is what changes the world.3. You vs. Us The Gen X focus on distrust makes them solitary workers, preferring to rely solely on their selves to see a project through, while Generation Y tends to want to support and work together. A Gen Xer is often found at the office, squeezing by on their flextime, and blocking out the world with their iPod.My favorite line here is “A Gen Xer is often found at the office, squeezing by on their flextime, and blocking out the world with their iPod.” In my mind I see an Ethan Hawke-ish figure sitting at his cubicle huddled over his Meat Puppets II album: But, wait… something is wrong. Wouldn’t he have a mini tape player or, at best, a very large Disc man?
Seriously, though, what is disturbing about this blog entry is that it strives to go so far as not merely dis the Generation Xers, but to demonize them. Does this or does this not sound a bit Hitler Youth:
Generation X is no doubt feeling like a stepping stone generation, and many are, in fact, choosing to align themselves with Generation Y rather than fade into the background. The founder of MySpace went so far as to lie about his age.
I say the more the merrier. There is strength and value to realism, and there is strength and value to optimism. That’s why we have to work together. What can I say? I’m a team player.
This post is veiled in idealism, (there is strength and value to optimism) but it’s really suggesting we castrate Generation Xers. Except they are so apathetic, they don’t procreate anyway—that would be too much of a team player endeavor and besides, they probably smoked so much weed by now that they are all infertile.
So to the gas chambers!
I don’t mean to make light of genocide in any way. It’s just that this kind of rhetoric against one group is reminiscent of the kind of propaganda that is used for many heinous crimes, especially when it’s generational. It’s the opposite of being critical about the world. Here it seems as though being critical (i.e. cynical) is antithetical to success, something that has spread like a virus with the past generation and must be abolished in the new generation. Modite is perpetuating Human Resources dogma (which is bullshit by the way—I know, as I used to do research for big Pharma recruiters) as the way to revolutionize our generation. Marching ants of mini CEO’s who want to destroy the generation before them is not a vision I’d like to participate in as a young professional. It’s not unlike what Rwanda as played out by white collar America.
My question to the real Generation Y, whatever that means, is why the hate for Gen X? People in their 40’s and 30’s have given us The Daily Show, The Pixies, the entire computer/internet revolution, and the idea that it’s ok to wear jeans at work, not to mention the acceptance of gay and lesbian rights in the workplace and more humane legal rights for working women with children.
This proselytizing needs a bit of an antidote. So, in my lighthearted but deeply cynical opinion, I’d like to suggest that rather than becoming a positivity-cult monkey, your best way to succeed in not just business but life is to simply just avoid a few things. Here are some pitfalls common to our generation that can stand in your way in becoming ALL YOU CAN BE AS A MEMBER OF GENERATION Y:
• The Killers (or anything Electro clash derived)
• Asymmetrical haircuts (unless you are Asian or a crazy homeless woman)
• Fenway Park after a Red Sox Game
• Very short denim skirts with cut off, scraggly hems accessorized with cowboy boots—unless an you’re absurdly cute seventeen year old girl
• The Meatpacking District (NYC)
• Olde E 40’s (in excess). Same for Sparks.
• Glamour.com bloggers
• MTV (unless it’s a reality show)
• Fixed gear brakeless bikes unless you know how to ride them properly
• Florida. The entire fucking state. Just avoid it. Yes, even for “spring break.”
• The Atkins Diet (the dude is DEAD FROM A HEART ATTACK!)
• Dudes who live in East Williamsburg and are currently moving into their next musical project (i.e. they don’t even have a band yet); ladies who think Lindsay Lohan is just “misunderstood.”
That’s my genuine 25-Year-Old Professional Person advice to the new generation coming up.
So, in lieu of this Modite propaganda, I think my advice is easier and less vomit inducing. Just think for yourself, don’t date douches, don’t use up your vacation/sick time with hangovers, graduate before you’re 40 and don’t wear anything that even Mary Kate Olson couldn’t pull off.
And stay away from these scary Success-is-the-new-Heaven’s Gate blogs for young people (from bitches who live in the Midwest!).