More whinging articles about Gen X = Web 2.0 *MUST* be here | 11:12 am | 30 March 2006

Hey, hey! I think the economy might be turning around soon, or at least Web 2.0 is going to be big.

I finally got past the nauseating first three pages of this article from New York that’s making the rounds, and by the last two pages, I realized I’ve already read this article ten years ago, when the first round of bitchy, labelling articles about Gen X and what a bunch of slackers they are. After the b(r)and-name dropping and thinly disguised jealousy, it’s the same old saw (truth?): Gen X doesn’t want to work in the same “Man in the Grey Flannel Suit” model that we watched our parents struggle with.

“If I had spent the last six years working at that job and progressed, I would have made a lot of money,” Nathanson told me from San Juan Capistrano, California, where his surfwear company is based. “But honestly, there have been very few days in the past six years where I’ve gotten in my car to go to work and thought, Fuck, I’m going to work. When I was at the investment bank, that was happening 50 percent of the days. And now I can go snowboarding at Mammoth in the middle of the week if there’s a good storm, rather than worrying about being at work at six in the morning. And there’s another upside as well: I have a total and complete passion for this business.”

Which brings me back to my father: the one who wore suits, not jeans; the one who, when he was my age, already had four kids; the one who logged a lifetime at exactly the kind of middle-management jobs that no one wakes up excited about going to in the morning, and who then found himself sandbagged by the late-eighties recession, laid off in what must have felt like the worst kind of double whammy. All the adult trade-offs he’d made turned out to be a brutal bait-and-switch. Is it any wonder that the Grups have looked at that brand of adulthood and said, “No thanks, you can keep your carrot and your stick.” Especially once we saw just how easily that stick can be turned around to whap your ass as you’re ushered out the door, suit and all. Just how easily a bona fide, by-the-book adult can be made to wonder where it all went wrong, and why you ever bothered to grow up in the first place.

My brother and I were very lucky in this regard — our parents (and both sets of grandparents were) entrepreneurs, and we have no qualms about following our interests, working for ourselves, and saying, “take this job and…” when things get too stupid at workplaces.*
*Did I mention that today is my last day at this glacial, inefficient, wasteful insurance behemoth? w00+.

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