There is a lot of talk these days about Millennials — what they like, what they don’t like, their inherent issues, dealing with them in the workplace. What’s wrong with them? What’s right with them? They can do this, but they don’t seem to understand that. I have had Millennials tell me I’m one of them, but they always seem a bit too young to be my exact generational peer. However, I am not old enough to be a Gen X-er. So here I am, stuck in the middle.
Xennial: A Generation in the Middle
Over the summer I read a Huffington Post article about the microgeneration that I actually fit into—Xennial. We are the generation born between 1977 and 1983. We are not nearly as savvy with technology as Millennials, but have lived more years of our lives with it than the folks under the Generation X label. I remember not having call waiting on the one house phone my parents had, a time with no cell phones, and when pay phones and beepers existed. I have experienced travel pre- and post-9/11. I recall recording my favorite shows on a VHS tape, and now I have an arsenal of shows on my DVR. I have seen technology take leaps within the last 20 years.
All this is to say I live a life in the middle, so to speak. Yet lately, I find I get the best and most earnest career advice from Millennials — Millennial women to be exact. If I need a super pep talk, that’s who I end up calling. Okay, texting, who am I kidding? The Millennials in my life tend to be bold, and they approach work as if it owes them something. They are not afraid. I know this is a turn-off for some, but what is wrong with looking at your job and continuously asking the question, “What can you do for me?”
Changing Our Views of Work
My parents were blue collar workers. They provided well for me, made sure I was cared for and properly educated. They are firm believers that work, is just that, work. “You hate your job? So what, everybody hates their job.” You work so you can do the things that you want to do with the people you actually want to be around. I was raised to believe that work was a means to an end. So I carried that mindset wherever I went. Then some Millennial comes along and tells me how they are leaving their job to freelance in the U.K. for a few months. Or that they are moving out of yet another apartment, with a group of roommates different from the ones they had a year ago. Two-week notice? If you’re lucky. When that random production company gig in L.A. comes through, they are gone.
I do not want to follow in all of my Millennial friends’ footsteps. I mean, I enjoy the spaciousness of having my own home. The last time I had more than one roommate, their names were Mom and Dad. However, I admire how they don’t own TVs anymore, but know all of the best podcasts that are subscribe-worthy and the Netflix series I “need to watch.” Although I still listen to albums that came out when I was in high school, I like to keep up with new artists that I would never have known about without a solid recommendation from someone ten years my junior.
From a work standpoint, sometimes Millennials are on to something. I see my co-workers more than my family, and my entire week revolves around my work schedule. Why can’t I demand more from my job? It shouldn’t always be considered ungrateful and spoiled behavior. Maybe this is a real revolution.
Photo by Julia Sabiniarz on Unsplash