Thursday, February 04, 2010

The brightness of your future


In the last couple of weeks, both Kimberly Rae and I have been on the job hunt. She's managed to embarrass me with he amazing skills at getting a job within days of any attempt.

But then, while my ego is bruised by being the jackass who takes forever to find a job, hers is bruised by her mom who has the magic ability to make her feel bad about any job she gets, attempts to get or hopes to get. I half-joked that she'd come up with a way to make her feel bad if she became the president's official liaison to the city of Austin and made hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

(Ok, maybe a quarter-joked. Or even an eighth.)

It's an emotionally destructive habit, that offers no benefits at all. On the rare occasion it involves any positive suggestion involving what she should do, it's something like hairdresser, that seems a lateral move from the work she's been doing, as well as being something bizarrely, even insultingly, outside of her skills or interests.

Weirdly, I do think she means well by it. I somehow imagine her having no real conception of how counter-productive it is.

But I find myself wondering about this on a larger level about what Boomer parents expect of those of us of my generation and younger. I wondered some of this as recently as The suburbs.

The Boomers left scorched earth where once there was the possibility that one could get a job at a company, consider that a career, live, buy a house, raise and family and retire from it. There's good and bad that's come out of that, and I'm sure the generations to come will feel some real benefit from it.

But for those of us who aren't going to school to become lawyers or brokers, who don't have any interest in being dull suburbanites, what is there aside from a series of mediocre jobs that merely function as a means to keep a roof over our heads, food on our plates and the occasional night out.

Being a careerist sounds horrific to me. Having a house in a neighborhood that makes the right impression. Taking up a hobby like golf in order to socialize with the right people. It sounds like a world in which I have more money but less time and, in a practical sense, less freedom, and those are trade-offs I'm not interested in. They sound kinda... I dunno... gross. Does that mean I just never grew up? Maybe.

I don't care, though.

I know that the possibility that I'll become successful as a writer (or whatever) becomes more remote as time goes on, although that's not intended as a statement of defeat. But it does leave the open question of what else I might do with myself with whatever years I have left.

I don't necessarily have a useful answer.

I suspect it'll include some continuing number of jobs that don't sound very exciting on the surface, though, and that's a choice I'm frankly happy with.

3 comments:

Marilyn said...

Gee, boomers destroyed all your job prospects? I thought all the old white men who run the country and the financial systems did that?

As for parents putting one down, my Depression-era mom could sling it with the best of them. It has nothing to do with being a boomer and a lot to do with being competitive with one's daughter.

Neil Sarver said...

Job prospects? Not exactly, no.

The world has been changed, however, in many good and bad ways. In the process of that, the world of getting a "job" that one kept as a career has disappeared.

I suppose I took that on poorly. I less blame the Baby Boom generation for making it happen. I think that a number of things took place under that watch that caused it.

I think the Baby Boom generation as a whole is particularly (even delusionally) self-fixated, however, and very seldom recognizes how the world or life it different from the way they experienced it, which makes it easier to question why others make choices different from how they did.

But I also agree that the put-down thing isn't itself a Boomer flaw. I, in fact, regularly remind Kim that she's merely treating her the way she learned to treat a child from her mother, and probably has never even conceived it as anything but "parenting" and never saw it as entirely counter-productive, which is certainly what it is.

Neil Sarver said...

I guess the job prospects thing needs to be touched on again, since I must not have been clear at all.

Frankly, I'm not disappointed with my job prospects so much... I guess it's annoying that after growing up in a world where having a job your whole life was an option, I find that it certainly is not... but rather it's disappointment at what's expected that one would do with the job prospects that are available.

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