Bloggin’ ‘Bout My Generation

Bloggin’ ‘Bout My Generation

Two of the TV shows I watch remind me of how old I am. Not just old, mind you, but super have-gotten-irrelevant-and-obsolescent kind of old. They are Younger and The Great Indoors.

Younger is about a woman in her 40s, like me, who has to re-enter the work force after being out of it for so long, but even though she’s capable, no one hires her because of her age. After being mistaken for someone 20 years younger than she is, however, she gets the idea to pose as a 26-year-old at her next interview with a publishing house, and she gets the job. The series follows her journey from there and emphasizes the differences between her generation and that of the millennials.

The Great Indoors is about an outdoorsman whose longtime job as an on-the-field magazine writer undergoes a drastic change due to a dying print industry — he now has to work at an office indoors, managing a team of online content creators in their 20s. Each episode then makes fun of how the two generations work (or don’t work) together.

I relate very strongly to the main characters in these shows because I’m older, and I’m having to adjust to a changed work environment, competing with millennials and/or working with them. There’s new media and new ways of doing essentially the same thing — marketing, advertising, editing, writing, and really just creating compelling content that people will buy and read.

There are a lot of things each generation has to learn from the other, and with that are also all the stereotypes one has for the other. For instance, millennials are often portrayed as being very tech savvy but with a very big sense of entitlement, while those of my generation are portrayed as perhaps already quite accomplished but very slow to adjust to new things. I’m certain a lot of the stereotypes are exaggerated or even wrong, but there’s also probably plenty of truth in them.

That said, while these two TV shows display the stereotypes, they also show the characters defying those stereotypes. Liza, the main character in Younger, proves that she is more than capable of adjusting to a new work environment; she’s an editorial assistant who also manages the publishing house’s social media accounts, tweeting to market whatever books they happen to be promoting at the time. She even helps find the next big author or book.

Jack, in The Great Indoors, meanwhile, helps mentor his millennial team into being better writers, pushing them to abandon the click-bait and list-type writing that seems to prevail in today’s online content. He also teaches them basic interpersonal skills — like how to ask someone out on a date — skills which they somehow seem to lack, having grown up with helicopter parents who arranged their play dates. In turn, he finds that he has a lot to learn from his team as well.

So it’s been an eye-opener, seeing the clash of the generations from this TV perspective. It’s something I’m living out right now, so it’s also a reassurance that I’m not alone in feeling looked over and seen as no longer relevant or capable. It’s like companies see me as being just one step away from being completely retired. I mean, what can I possibly have to offer in the workplace being this old? I’ve already obviously reached the pinnacle of my career, so I couldn’t possibly do any better and help a company reach a higher level.

But I do have something — a different perspective, which millennial co-workers desperately need. Obviously.

I’m also pretty capable. But whatevs.

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