I read recently about a micro-generation between Gen X and Millennials. Basically people born between 1980 and 1983. I fall in there, so I was intrigued and happy to find I’m not the only one thinking some of these thoughts.
First of all, we can remember a time before personal technology, and we grew up without smart (or dumb) phones. But we were also early adopters of AOL instant messenger (ick, chat rooms), got cell phones in college and were excited to get in on the ground floor of Facebook. This article rang so true for me, “Oregon Trail Generation” (um, obsessed with OT). http://socialmediaweek.org/blog/2015/04/oregon-trail-generation/
We love our technology, but we could probably do without it too. It’s not as hardwired in us as in those that were born shortly after us.
Secondly, when we came out of college, we went into the working world full steam ahead and full of ambition. Like, We’re going to be awesome! But then the recession happened and whether or not you got laid off, there was some collective understanding that we were caught in the middle of some change. There may not have been a personal or immediate repercussion, but goals and priorities seemed to start changing. And at the same time, technology was and is just bounding ahead.
And many of our micro-genners were/are stuck in workplace limbo: those Gen Xers ahead of us are established in whatever they were already doing – just keep on keepin on y’all. Millennials behind us knew they wouldn’t have tons of jobs waiting for them out of school, so they took creative and entrepreneurial approaches to life right from the start and didn’t bother with all that corporate America stuff.
Then there’s me, contemplating, What am I doing with my life? Am I sticking to what I’ve done or am I shaking it up? Because I have some different goals and priorities than I did back then. And, this isn’t in 2008; this is 2013, 2014, now.
The world gave me a minute to reflect and decide and think about personal fulfillment and community benefit because the answer to What should I do with my life? isn’t cut and dry anymore. I thought I wanted one thing growing up – to emulate that standard American Dream of working hard, home ownership, family, retirement – but maybe that’s no longer realistic or even desirable. I’ve been programmed and trained for A, but maybe B is the best and highest and most rewarding use of my brain actually. [Side note: it’s still completely unclear what B is.]
And so many cool and interesting things to do out there! I don’t want to shut the door on any of them! It’s kind of a little tornado in my mind thinking about all the things I want to do and alternatively feeling discouraged because the Millennials are on my heels and they have been building websites and garnering a social media following since they were five.
This funny and spot-on article takes two different perspectives on our micro-generation, and when I read the latter half, written by someone born in 1983, I literally shouted “YES” every paragraph. So true: http://magazine.good.is/articles/generation-xennials
These two perspectives go to show what a unique generation we are: people born only a few years apart have totally different takes on life. While a lot of us have stayed the course in those original jobs, many of have taken a beat to go to grad school, have kids, or explore second (and third) careers and are feeling like we’re still “figuring it out.”
It’s exciting but also scary because, at least for me, I don’t see a clear path ahead. There’s no standard-bearer here. I don’t feel like I’m following in anyone else’s footsteps. I’m both ahead and behind somehow. I feel like I have so many experiences and talents, but I don’t really have a job title to back it up – and that’s okay. Or not okay. Sometimes it just depends on the day. Sometimes I feel accomplished and sometimes I feel like I haven’t done anything with myself.
Any other non-Gen X-non-Millennials out there feeling lapped but also excited to keep trying all new things?