remember the thing about G’rups, which determined that Gen X/Yers are refusing to grow up due to various changes in cultural expectations and influences? and then there was the conversation i had about how adolescent the club scene is, despite the majority of clubbers being well into adulthood, and THEN there was the article on memory that concluded “wasted youth” is no longer such a bad thing because regret is held onto long after indulgence guilt has long faded away in your mind.
so now there’s this: “…to so many peers I encounter, work is worse than a four-letter word: it is psychologically troubling, a squirming emotional sore spot they live in denial of and avoid discussing. With unsettling frequency, I find that my generation can only identify and embrace success if it stems from self-expression, to such an extent that people are numbing and abusing themselves through drink and drugs to suppress frustration and a crushing sense of failure for having a job.” — full (~via)
his theory is that the baby boomer generation was the last to have to work real hard for a living, and they were on the cusp of seeing that the World 2.0 was going to offer opportunities to NOT WORK – IF you were smart enough and had the right opportunities. formerly a privilige only for “old money” and royalty, now anyone who did the right things could work for themselves or not really work at all. think the rise of pyramid schemes and Amway in the 80s. they themselves were born a little to early to take advantage of this globalization benefit, and so from the time our generation was born, we were taught to believe that if you’re special enough and smart enough, you can find a way to get out of having a job. and, of course, all parents believe their children are special. so now that Gen X is nearing middle age, there’s this expectation that if you’re still working for The Man, you missed a turn or something. you should be working for yourself by now, either as a proprieter or an artist or by playing the stock market on the internet. working a 9-2-5 is for suckers!
in many ways, i agree. i just had a conversation the other day about how so many of our friends are self-employed, and how amazing it is. and inspiring. and, if you’re not one of them, a little depressing.
in addition to this theory of baby boomers rearing their children with these expectations, along with every American’s feeling of entitlement, i think there are definitely other factors in play in determining how the younger generations feel about working. for example, on NPR yesterday they were talking about Ford buying out over half their US workers in order to become profitable. like many blue collar union workers, these employees began working for Ford with the expectation that they’d be working there for 30 years, and then taken care of for the rest of their LIVES with big fat pensions. now, many of them, middle aged and with limited skills sets, are out of jobs and have to find new careers. my uncle worked for a factory in indiana for the past 20 some years and was recently forced into early retirement. now, despite a bad back, he’s painting houses to help pay the bills as his pension doesn’t cover his costs of living.
so, in yesteryear, going to work for The Man paid off. it meant a solid future. it meant healthcare and not having to worry about what to do when you got too old or sick to work. now, no one has that security anymore. US employers are outsourcing to asia and laying off people all the time. no one i know goes into a job thinking it’s going to be their lifelong gig. so why should we be expected to commit to working for corporations when really there’s not a whole lot of reason to anymore? why not see if you can work for yourself? if you can’t depend on a corporation to pay your pension when you’re old, why give them your youth?
so many of my friends are making their living as independent photo[url=http://www.alexanderwarnow.com/]graphers[/url], clothiers, web designers, hoopers, jewelers, massage therapists, writers, and all other kinds of trades. while i agree with a lot of what mr. ott wrote on his blog there about a shift in how we view work, and perhaps i also agree somewhat with why, i have to disagree that it’s taking the easy way out or some kind of spoiled-brat, trust-fund, bobo privilege. most of my friends work their asses off, and while i technically work for someone else, i help to run a small business, and it’s no easy feat keeping it afloat. i have to disagree with his statement that says “Ultimately, our parents’ drive to deliver a better childhood is proving a mistake, if a well-intentioned one. We are a generation embarrassed to have day jobs, embarrassed to work for a living. Embarrassed not to be kings and queens.” i think it’s just the opposite. seeing all the long years our parents and grandparents put in at factories and offices and in fields so that one day we could work less than 40 hours a week for a living, and then seeing how that turned out for them has made us realize it’s not worth it. it’s not that we are “embarassed to work for a living”. we’re embarassed to work for companies and employers that don’t care about us, that don’t care about our futures. instead, we’re taking that into our own hands, and to me, that seems pretty damned grown up.Filed in culture and random linkage | Tagged with affluenza, bourgeois | Comments (3)