Son of boomers
The current culture war between “Millennials” and “Boomers” is fucking weird.
As a product of so called “Generation X”, the stereotype is that I’m sitting on the side lines observing the generations ahead and behind me fighting it out. However, that’s not quite the case. I’m not impartial. The attitudes of Boomers could be said to have had a distinct impact on my life and development.
The main issue was with my father. The most striking generational difference that has shaped a lot of interactions between us is that when he was growing up in the thriving post war economy of North America, finding good paying work was a lot easier for people than it has been before or since. Specifically, in my father’s case, he was ahead of the curve in that he got into computers back when they were all about punch cards, and co-evolved with the technology as it advanced. So as the world needed computing to be done, he was right there to do it. With skills in high demand and companies expanding, he could pretty much walk out the door of one company anytime and go get a better job any time he felt like it.
Which was not the case for me. For most of my adult working life, the job market had ebbed and flowed, but so far as I can tell, it was just never as bountiful as what my father experienced.
But it’s not the case that my father bought into any tired stereotype about how his generation worked harder and kids these days are just lazy and entitled. It’s more just that people consider the circumstances they grew up with to be “normal.” Especially a somewhat vague and amorphous experience as a personal search for work. I think for a long time, my father was sensible enough to recognize that the types of jobs available change as well as working conditions, but underneath subtleties, his own experience had taught him in a visceral sense that jobs are there, they just have to be uncovered. So for a long time while I struggled with finding work, my father just couldn’t quite see what was holding me back.
Sometime in my late thirties, my father had some kind of epiphany, I think from reading a book about economic changes over the last century or so. Not that the concept was new to him, but for whatever reason, this book hit the right notes to change his outlook…