Move Over Margaret Mead!
Margaret M. was a cultural anthropologist. That’s studying groups of people, their culture, and how it affects them. She did a lot of work in Samoa. Me, I’m deep undercover, studying the elusive American Millennial.
Like yesterday. I applied for a $16 per hour job. The ad stated only Millennials would be considered for employment, and even then, in order to apply, there was a questionnaire that had to be filled out and approved before they’d issue a password to access a website where the real application process would begin.
That’s a lot of work for a temp job, but the gig sounded like fun so I jumped through the hoops… and guess what… I’m under consideration!
Only I’m not a Millennial.
I’m not a Baby Boomer either.
Like the rest of the Writer Janes of See Jane Publish I’m part of the in-between generation. Though no one uses the term “Generation X” anymore (thanks to author Douglas Copeland for his iconic novel of the same name) that’s our slice of the socio-cultural pie. Not old enough to think about retirement, and too busy staying competitive to think about taking crazy, swing-for-the-fences chances.
It sucks to be us.
But it sucks even more to be the generation after us. The Millennials.
Well, sort of. They do have youth on their side (I, on the other hand, furiously erase any evidence of silvery strands along my hairline). Yet even as I compete against, and work alongside decades-younger workers, I can’t help but find myself drawn to their struggles.
I am fascinated with Millennials.
They know the economic deck is stacked against them, their student loans might never be paid off, and the only thing stopping them from enjoying the opportunities of the two generations ahead of them… are the two generations ahead of them — including their can’t-afford-to-retire parents who will live to be over a hundred years old and spend any chance of an inheritance.
It’s bleak. It’s desperate. It’s dramatic.
It’s great storytelling.
By understanding Millennials, I hope to build better and more current heroines. Today’s protagonists are nothing like my generation, and baby-boomer Happily-Ever-Afters have no place in their socio-survivalist culture. Yet their AMBITIONS are as strong as any generation before theirs. These women are a powerful and techno-savvy force of nature.
So just like Margerat M., with time, patience and observation, I’m learning more and more about this new generation… one temp job at a time!