Is there a generation gap? You don't say...
Tell us more!
BABY BOOMER (1/10)
I was getting my masters degree and we had a guest lecturer come in. He had been CEO of a small company for many years. He basically told us that he stumbled into the job right out of college because he didn't know what to do and gave it a shot. They gave him the assistant CEO position because he had been the assistant manager at a movie theater for a summer. And then 2 years later he became the CEO.
He was basically telling this entire glass of people getting their advance degrees in the hopes to get his position that he got his job on a whim 30 years ago.
BABY BOOMER (2/10)
The lab tech at one of the schools I teach at is a retired old fella. Comes in maybe 2 hours a day, real early in the morning to set up labs for the day. Basically has the "job" for his own entertainment.
One morning he caught me in the hall and somehow got into telling me how I really ought to find a job with a good pension. Apparently he worked for some commercial chemistry research lab and retired early once he qualified for their pension program. Then, him and some buddies took some of their early retirement money and bought a big parcel of land. They arranged to have it incorporated into a town, that they ran, then sold off pieces of it for housing developments.
So, he's going through this little history lesson in how the economy used to work and I just stand there and nod. In the back of my head, it dawns on me. He thinks I'm an adjunct by choice. He thinks I teach part-time at three different schools with no advancement potential and minimal benefits because I like it.
Hey Boomers, the reason why us god dammed Millenials aren't doing things the way you used to is that those things don't exist anymore. There's no career track jobs in science with just a MS. There's no more salary for life company pensions. I can't just go "buy me some land" and flip it for a profit.
BABY BOOMER (3/10)
My first retail job, any time I complained about customers or coworkers to my father I would get, "You just have to suck it up. It builds character, and you'll always have something you don't like about your job or coworkers." A few years ago, he lost his help desk job, and nobody wanted to hire him on for an IT position when he's just a couple years shy of retirement age and doesn't have a degree. After a couple years of being unemployed, he realized the gig was up, and took a part time job working in a grocery store across the street from the one I had in high school.
Now, whenever I go to visit him, I always hear something like, "Can you believe this bitch, shikitohno? I just finished building a goddamn corn pyramid, has to be 7 feet tall, and she wants one from the center on the bottom, because she says she can tell those are the freshest. Can you believe it?" No, dad, not a clue at all what you're talking about, but your character sure seems to be growing.
BABY BOOMER (4/10)
I love being told "be grateful you /have/ a job!"
Then they look on in horror as I explain that I can't afford to live on my own while working over 40 hours a week. I don't get vacations. I don't get sick days. I get absolutely no paid time off, even for shit like Christmas. No time to pursue things I enjoy, no money to see a doctor about my deteriorating jaw.
But it's not their problem, you know? They get to walk away from the conversation.
BABY BOOMER (5/10)
Once upon a time, just a few years ago, I was a chef in New Orleans. I don't mean I was a burger flipper, fry cook, or glorified garde manger. I mean I was the Chef de Cuisine at one of the hottest new fine-dining restaurants in the Medina of the culinary world (Paris, of course, bears the distinction of being Mecca). Our first year in business we got write-ups in USA Today and the New York Times. We were featured on a few TV shows. We had the backing of one of the city's most influential restaurateurs.
What the public didn't know is that the exotic cuisine they were paying princely sums for, was being made by a dangerously underweight white guy working 90 hour weeks who still couldn't pay the rent on his shared apartment most months, only ate at work, and walked 5 miles each way every day.
I remember the day before my grandfather's funeral, my mother called. I had been working even longer hours than usual - the owner of the restaurant needed me on hand while we opened our new location - and I hadn't been able to see him before he passed away. She asked if I would be able to make it to the funeral. When I told her that I couldn't make it, she gave me the same patronizing line I'd heard a dozen or so times before:
"You know, (real name redacted), there's doing the right thing and there's doing the fun thing. Sometimes you have to give up a little fun to do what's right."
I love and respect my mother, but I issued the berating of a lifetime that night. I asked her what part of my insane schedule, paltry pay, or exhausting walk through dangerous neighborhoods sounded "fun" to her. I asked her how the hell I was going to travel two states without a car - since it had already been established that they neither could nor would accommodate transportation. I told her that since the delusions of her generation and the three before it had stripped the term "middle class" of any basis in reality, all that was left to people of my generation who had been born into the middle class was merely a position on a new spectrum of poverty levels.
She was shocked at the defiance. She was hurt at the vitriol. But she had no choice to concede that I was right.