HEY! I’ve been reading a lot of articles about my generation – Generation X. Seems to be a lot of enthusiastically challenged or rant-y articles out there on the subject – why is GenX being left out, they’ve always been the latchkey kids, only Boomers and Millenials are mentioned. And now it’s time for 90s nostalgia! OH, there’s where the GenX gets mentioned – our media boom of the 1990s, the style. Oh my god, when did that happen? 20 years ago I was a teenager watching Fresh Prince, OMG!
I mean sure, I can rant as a GenXer too at the unfairness of time and economic distress – Journalism degree in 2004, right at the cusp of still being able to get a lot of magazine work and launching a media career just before that couldn’t be done anymore, and now, it’s devalued to the point of many-a-editor-writer-photographer’s dismay. Pennies on the dollar for the same work just less than 10 years ago! We came up right at the cusp of the digital age, and now it’s trying to pass us by.
(Still ranting…about to lock it up!)
It’s as if the world went from Boomers to Millenials. Hello, media and other pundits, you’re missing about 22 years of folks who were adolescents in the 80s, the first to adopt the Internet in the 90s, where the heyday of music videos and hip hop and the invention of reality TV (not necessarily the proudest thing) occurred, graduated college BEFORE the iPad and are JUST NOW in their mid-thirties – too young to be Boomers, too old to be Millenials. But after all, it’s a matter of demographics
Let’s not give advertising and media executives the power to turn us (Boomers, GenXers, Millenials) against each other, taking our frustrations out on each other via hateful, anonymous ranting or blameful opining. Whether it was the activists breaking rules in the name of equality in the 60s, the collective adventurousness of GenX entrepreneurs and artists in the 90s, or the digital-savvy, app creating Millenials in the 20-teens, we are all affected by the generations in which we are sandwiched. Instead of debating over who left the world worse for whom or why one is better than the other, let’s give each other credit for what we’ve ALL brought to the table.
Realize what’s really at play.
The biggest problem of all is G-R-E-E-D and that has been around in every generation, since before there was an America, and the powers that be are pretty much the same ones. Look at Manufacturing, Distribution (shipping industry), Banking, Oil, Transportation…shall I go on? The same families that started those industries still control them today.
Those of us ranting about generations are the ones playing out the drama. We are the players of a play (movie) that is being directed and produced by others. The super elite of this world are not affected by generational shifts. We are ALL fighting the same TIDE of money, greed, and corrupt, unchecked power that has been going on since the U.S. entered its second century. Unfortunately, the Great Experiment of the U.S.A. was poisoned in the Industrial Age, the moment we decided to centralize our banking system and create the Fed (1913). If you look up the history of our Revolution, we left England to avoid the inescapably exploitative and corrupting powers of private centralized banking.
We are ALL, every single generation (for the past 100 years), paying the interest our government takes from the big, FAT, private banks. We pay the interest with our taxes. For every $10 created, $11 has to be paid back. After 100 years of this made-legal ponzi scheme, we see, and deeply feel the consequences of that system (ouch!). For some reason (greed, apathy), the very right we fought for in our Revolution against the Bank of England – the ability to create our OWN money and credit – was completely reversed by American business and political leaders doing exactly to its citizens what the King did to the Colonies.
So…what’s my point? No big point, just experiencing life from my perspective.
We (more specifically, GenX women who graduated college in the early 2000s), came up in a time when you were supposed to have a career and a family. We werent aware JUST yet, but then proved, that there was NO SUCH THING as a woman “having it all” with regards to full time family and full time career. But we were going to try! As we went through college, we were taught to utilize new tools, become computer dependent. The internet was by-far the biggest research revolution to hit colleges ever! Imagine having to go to the library for every, single paper you wrote? Thankfully, I didn’t have to. (They should’ve given grades AND cash in the pre-computer era for how much physicality went into learning and producing papers in college. We are spoiled.)
But then, in the span of just a few years – the world changed – and we had JUST been college educated and starting our careers – perhaps a few years in – when WHAM – we were already deficient in important skills – that had overnight just become important skills – and with an alarmingly faster rate – people began focusing more on the virtual than the tactile. Those of us in media, magazines, etc. had to act FAST and with great nimbleness, evolve our portfolios to include online work and be able to have an “e-version” of everything we published. During all this we saw our prospects – potential work at magazines and national freelance, which were VERY robust up to the early 2000s – evaporate in a matter of four years. Really. By 2008 EVERYTHING was different.
Talk about a generational shift/wake-up call. I mean, I graduated college and went into magazines just when editors, writers, photographers and graphic designers were starting to be downsized and reduced – all while the sales forces were being increased 100-fold. Sure we saw SOME of it coming. Working in media, we understood digital changes, but we didn’t quite have any notion of the iPhone and apps and the new world of handheld devices. Things REALLY changed then.
The urgency to stay alive in this new era, particularly in print media, meant the demise of original and adventurous content, and the pay for it was cut in half – pennies per word. Editors and creative contributors who aren’t willing to also sell ads, or at least allow for a half advertiser-directed content publication, are scarce at best and viewed only as an expense, at worst.
The biggest upside to being a GenXer?
Thanks to being born in the late 70s, I know how to utilize the world manually (say if we had a big electromagnetic pulse and all satellites and computers were fried), such as finding public records at City Hall and looking up old articles on microfilm at the Library (ugh-no! But if I had to, I could!). Because I was a young adult when the Internet came along, I was able to become proficient in the digital world quite quickly. The Internet truly brought us a never-before-experienced world of open communication. It’s the New Frontier and we really are just getting started! For the first time, regular people have some serious power to communicate with each other and shine a spotlight on ourselves – our highs and lows – and for all the one-off quantity with less quality – I’m still happy it’s here. It’s harder to be seen and noticed, but it’s also harder to hide things that need to be shown!
We GenXers (and others, too) aren’t fooled by the media-circus of distractions and fringe issues that keep us from focusing on what’s really happening – we feel it and we are uniting online!
This GenXer with my Journalism degree has the best of both worlds to benefit me. Grabbing my spiral notebook, pen and my Macbook, I head to today’s local coffee shop for some creative cultivation.
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