I Dream of "Gen Y"
If you're over 30 you probably don’t yearn to recapture twenty-something days of gritty uncertainty. It’s even less appealing if you’re from the tail end of the Baby Boom.
Last week a visiting friend and I reminisced about our salad days in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District. Now the Sex and the City types fill its fashion showrooms, art galleries and wine vaults but in the late ‘80s — when our loft went Hollywood in the film Fatal Attraction and Madonna launched her naughty picture book from the basement nightclub — it was a no man's land of motorcycle gangs and transvestite prostitutes. You know, affordable. Plus, our landlady (a dominatrix!) didn’t complain about the party noise.
Unconventional after-hours freedom compensated for brick-wall career prospects in mainstream media, entertainment, architecture and advertising. If the disaffected Gen X slackers a couple years behind us embraced the fact my downtown loftmates and I would never build equity with our big name employers, we didn’t.
We still had our eye on the ball! Just. Needed. To. Get. A foot. In. The door. We didn’t realize birth year alone meant we’d always occupy an entry-level position in our cultural generation. No surprise the rising tide of Gen Y brings the status quo rebellion we seek.
Even with today’s dismal economy, the blogosphere is abuzz with possibility for young adults. Untemplater launched this week for devotees of lifestyle design and location independence hoping to “live an awesome life on your own damn terms”. Founded by a handful of twenty-somethings offering in-the-trenches guidance, it promises to be more actionable than info from gurus, theorists and anyone who’s already "made it." Top blogs of young entrepreneurs spearhead social renewal in their own image.
Generation gap Baby Boomers like me are inspired by this idealistic wave. Brazen Careerist ideas resonate because we’re old enough to have faced the corporate cubicle with few options or support, and still young enough to frolic with a novel and unbounded reality.
Time travel to Gen Y’s brand of twenty-something grit is a trip we’re willing to take. How about you?