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!


About Jamie Brazil

Humor writer, romance novelist, Bloodhound enthusiast.

Posted on May 19, 2014, in Auth: Jamie Brazil and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I teach the Millennials and am always violently thrown back and forth between despair at how entitled and clueless they can be and awe over how ingenious and creative they are. I guess we were all clueless in our youth, but I don’t remember the entitlement. Maybe I was and am just clueless about that now in my old doddering age. 🙂


  2. It interesting to see what every generation does as youth and energy give way to maturity and wisdom. I think each wave inches us forward, which is good. I’m still bummed we don’t have personal jet packs yet!


  3. Good luck, Jamie! Actually every generation has some suckage associated with it. That’s just life. My parents generation had WWII and the Korean Wars and its fall out, as well as dealing with the wonders of Macarthyism. The baby boomers (me) had Vietnam and, just as we neared retirement, lost most of our equity in homes or retirement savings with the most recent economic downfall. Generation X is often referred to as the “ignored generation” because the baby boomers were out saving the world (or so they thought). But I do believe they were the first generation to not make as much money as their parents (on average) and have a high divorce rate (also modeled by their parents). That sucks. Our sons are at the beginning of the Millenials (mid 1980’s birthdays) but I see a big difference between those born in the 1980’s and those born in the 1990’s–both Millenials–as technology moved so rapidly in that decade.

    Not sure how old you are but … The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) forbids age discrimination against people who are age 40 or older. The recruiter should not be asking anything about age nor putting anything in the job description. Specifically stating that anyone who is not a MIllenial will not be employed is illegal. It is one thing to do a survey and ask only for Millenials to respond to the questions. It is quite different to post a job and make a statement that older folks need not apply. That’s not to say discrimination doesn’t happen. It does when you go in for the f-2-f interview when they decide your “too old” but make some other excuse about your qualifications. In any case, should you be 40 or over and decide to pursue it, you would have a good EEOC claim with such blatant and public statements as to specific age-related requirements for the job.


  1. Pingback: Move Over Margaret Mead! – JAMIE BRAZIL

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