Blog, My Thoughts on You

Battle Cry for the Gen Y

My dad’s very corporate company spends lots of money doing research about why people my age think the way we do. So I’d like to save everyone a little time and give you all a screen shot of the inner-thinking’s of my generation. Our lives are easy, full of convenience and entertainment. We’ve always had everything. There was no famine, no war, no depression. Even the depression/recession hasn’t really affected us because we don’t own anything. Mostly though, it’s because we are the computer generation — in fact the recession has made us worth more because it made the Internet the center of the universe, and who knows it better?

With our lives of convenience comes the need for mobility. So, naturally, since our laptops can go anywhere, we wonder why we can’t go anywhere, too. Doesn’t really make sense to have global WiFi if you’re not gonna use it, now does it? You don’t even really need a laptop anyway. You just need a computer, any computer, anywhere because there’s this cool thing called internet applications. What that means is that software doesn’t exist anymore. Only applications – Internet-based apps that perform all the same tasks as software, but from anywhere. Are you scared yet?

What about the value of face-to-face time? Well sure, that’s important depending on what you do. But you can get face-to-face time in for, like, two hours a week and the rest can really be done elsewhere.

Don’t you think the work days should be shorter then? Now that you can be as productive, if not more, in a fraction of the time? Instead of decreasing work days, there is actually more work, which is fundamentally why we Gen Y’ers feel like we’re worth more. Because let’s face it, we’re doing 10 times as much as you used to do when you had to calculate everything by hand and there was no spell check. Or when making a creative comp meant literally taking your own photos in a shoot, and piecing it all together in a final product that may never go further than your office.

So while you may think we’re all rebellious, greedy and lazy, we’re here doing your work 10 times faster and better and we’re getting paid, like, nothing to do it because we don’t need as much shit in our lives to be fulfilled. And because some assholes in Washington are telling us that we’re fortunate just to have a job. Creating fear in the job market, so that they don’t lose their jobs to some MBA Gen Y’er who will take half their salary.

Fear is a good way to keep control, but it won’t last. Because another thing you should know about us is that we aren’t scared of anything. Anything. We like to play, we like to drink, we like to come to work hungover and we can still do your job better than you.

Now all hope isn’t lost for the retiring baby boomers and their younger siblings. I’m just letting you into the mind of Y, or “i”, I suppose. We’re cool people, too, you know. We just don’t want to live our lives by the same standards as you during your over-inflated consumerism, 80s Wall Street, all-work/no-play days. We think your outfits looked stupid back then, and those thin ties made your heads look small.

I should take this time to also mention that high schoolers wearing emo-thin jeans are NOT part of the generation I’m explaining here. Gen Y is mid-20 to early 30 somethings, working professionals with college degrees and vivid memories of the following: Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky, OJ Simpson, John Benee Ramsey, black Michael Jackson. Not those snot-nosed kids who grew up playing World of Warcraft instead of capture the flag. We passed notes, not “sexts”. We played team sports and had to do thousands of extra curricular activities to get into college. We did not grow up obese and over-prescribed. We were just kids that had Silent Sustained Reading time, the Oregon Trail, 3 1/2-inch Floppies, casette tapes, Green Day, flannel shirts, Molly Ringwald, Pop-Up Video, sagging shorts and Adidas.

I’m not saying we’re all that or anything. All I’m saying is that we’re going to run this shit pretty soon. And when we do, we’re not having casual Fridays, we’re having Powder-day Fridays. We’re not working 9-5 and we’re burning all the cubicles. Our computers are not going to be the place where “collaboration” takes place, because get serious, a computer is a stifling, mind-sucking device. We’re going to be out in the world, exploring, collaborating on our iPhones in the middle of the jungle. And we’re still going to be productive. Don’t you get it? We don’t want your stinky throne; we don’t like to sit down.

Blog, Come on, Fisher!, My Thoughts on You

Let’s Stop Perpetuating this Culture of Gluttony

I went out with the girls the other night and towards the end what seemed like a speed dating extravaganza, it became very apparent to all of us. All anyone cared about asking was what we did for a living. Not what do you do in your spare time? What kind of music do you listen to? What are you reading? How do you guys know each other? Nothing that might actually peer into the essence of who we were as individuals. It was as if our professions were the end-all measurement of our being. Yikes.

It made me think about when I lived in Europe, with my senora, Concha. She woke up and went to work every morning and got home at about 2pm (in time for siesta), then went out with her friends and family, drank wine, socialized, shopped for the rest of her glorious day. Always back in time to make us dinner at 10 pm. I lived in her house for 6 months and never knew what exactly she did. Her life was defined by a totally different description. It didn’t matter how big her home was, or how much money she made. When I asked her once about her job, she just smiled and said she made money working for the government. She was the happiest woman I had ever met.

My dad (Mr. Corporate America) used to say that Europeans were lazy. No one ever works! And that, in a sense, is probably true. But maybe that’s just it. Maybe they got it right. We Americans are bred to believe that the only thing that defines us is our job. You are a lawyer. You are a Doctor. It’s not you are an outgoing athletic girl, who does marketing to make ends meet. We are bred to define every aspect of ourselves by how much shit we have. How big our houses are. How big our wedding rings are. And we are bred to be divorced, obese and chronically unhappy.

Today, we Americans pay at least 45% of our earnings away in taxes when you include sales tax, social security (which we’ll never see), income, etc. etc. We are working to support a system that supports everyone else. In socialist countries, like Spain, they are at least up front about it. But in Spain, people also get a mandatory month off in August. Six hour work days. A country-wide nap time. They never bring their work home with them. In fact, they never even talk about work. They are defined by their family name, not their profession.

But I couldn’t live in Spain. And I’m also not a socialist. I certainly don’t want to support lazy bottom feeders, people that refuse to take care of themselves, people who have 18 kids on welfare, and I don’t want to continue to support everyone’s unwillingness to change. I’m an American and I want to support myself.

It isn’t just the workforce that this culture of excess seeps into, either. It’s in every aspect of your lives. Marriage: people do everything they do in the dating world to eventually get married (and support the commercial wedding industry). And society feeds off of it. Once you’re married, you get a tax break and shared health care benefits, not to mention all the crap you get from your wedding. If you never get married or have kids, you get nothing but the label of sad and single. Self employment: so you work to break the mold and work for yourself. Welcome to insanely poor health care benefits unless you pay $300 a month, 15% in Social Security taxes, zero tax breaks, audit city, no paid vacation, and near impossibility to save a dime. Vacation: so you do work a steady job and you get a finite number of vacation days. You are forced to take them by a certain time or all that hard earned time off goes to the waste side. But it looks bad if you take those days at too much consistency or all at once. So are you truly encouraged to take time off or is it just another ploy to keep you working far over what you’re paid?

Retirement. That is the American dream. And it’s not because of all the shit you can buy. It’s because deep down, everyone’s ultimate goal is to not work. Even if you happily conform to the system for your entire life, you are only doing it to finally be able to have your time to yourself. And then you have the media saying over and over; Life is short. If life is so short, why do you have to spend 40 working years to obtain your dream? It seems like such a waste of your good time. We should retire first and then work when we’re old.

In this economy, change and restructuring are the two hottest things on the market. But are we really changing or just looking for new ways to facilitate our old habits? What if we truly did change, and found new ways to live comfortably without excess? Balance work and life. Stop conforming to what everyone else wants. Stop getting married so fricking young and buying ridiculous rings you can’t afford? Stop buying crap you don’t need and start going on more vacations. Right now we’re on a country-wide diet. But the key to any diet is sustainability.