Tag Archives: work

Y it’s not a dirty letter

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Lena Dunham: another Gen Y'er who just expects handouts... in exchange for her hard work, talent, and courage to break new ground.

Lena Dunham: another Gen Y’er who just expects handouts… in exchange for her hard work, talent, and courage to break new ground.

So you’ve heard how the conversation starts, right?

“That’s not how it was in my day…”

“Yeah, it’s so much easier for them now. They don’t want to have to work for anything.”

“It’s all just ‘me, me, me’ and ‘I want it now’.”

“Flamin’ mongrels.”

Ok, so I may have gone to the Alf side there for a second, but hey, that’s me, I’m Generation Y, we’re sooo random.

Most of the time, my Gen Y comrades and I just nod and smile during those workplace conversations. Yes, we are lucky. Yes, we don’t have to fight for so much. Yes, the world is our oyster. What can we say, we’re younger, our lives are ahead of us, we’re not going to win this argument, just be grateful and smile.

All of this is fine… to a point. That point is when a complete stranger starts accusing me across a meeting room table of being a passive, consumerist, spoilt brat.

Well, the issue of good manners aside, does this very forward gentleman have a point? (My use of the word ‘gentleman’ there is part of a little game I like to play in all my writing called ‘Spot the sarcasm’.)

Have we just wandered into the world, ready to take whatever is handed to us? By the end of our lives, will we have made no mark other than to contribute to a healthier economy through our spendthrift ways?

This man, a former radical and member of Generation X, was in the midst of planning an exhibition and party for himself and the other former members of his ragtag team that published naughty things back in the 1970s and ‘80s.

I was actually pretty excited to meet them but his combative attitude, his distaste for my involvement due to my age and obvious ignorance was like a glass of ice cold water poured over my flickering candle of admiration.

As a younger generation, are we allowed to fight back?

Well, Generation X certainly did. But how exactly?

Those who weren’t known for being disaffected, apathetic nihilists were very good at complaining about things. In France, people of this age were called Génération Bof, or Generation Whatever.

Some of my favourite music, films and reading materials come from this generation’s complaints. They used these established vehicles, mostly run by the Baby Boomers, to make their complaints.

To what end? They let the world know they were angry before embracing ‘the establishment’ jobs and settling down with a couple of kids, marrying then divorcing, realising they were older and had a whole new generation about which to complain.

I’m sorry, was that an unfair, sweeping generalisation? How dare I.

In reality, I have no issue with Generation X. They are simply a group of people born during a vague period of time in the 20th century (no one ever seems to agree what the actual start and end birth years are for each generation). There are corporate ladder climbers, stay at home parents, criminals, artists, travelling gypsies, politicians, the full range of humanity.

But if we must talk in general terms about Generation Y, then can we at least acknowledge that there is a good side.

We are more radical than people think.

We don’t just do mischievous things in the spaces established by previous generations – we create the space, change the face of it or challenge its very existence. We make new rules.

We’ve shaped the realm of social media that continues to keep corporations, politicians and marketers on their toes. We hold them accountable for their claims. Surely that dispels the myth of a passive consumerist generation. We know what we want, we are resourceful, we research, we ask each other for advice.

We have embraced, for better or for worse, file sharing and the exchange of ideas and yet we are accused of having no sense of community.

My friends and I report the news to each other, providing links to several sources via social media and then engaging in discussion and critique. No one can tell us what to think.

We are made to feel selfish and spoiled because we dare to ask ourselves what it is we want and then proactively seek out the answer to that question. My friends are not lazy. My Facebook newsfeed is a constant stream of “Still at the office”, “Finished my first triathlon”, “Volunteering at the charity store tomorrow”, “Writing my thesis”, and “Completed the surf lifesaving course”.

It seems when you stop complaining and pointing the finger of blame at other groups of people, you start becoming a more valuable, productive member of society.

Huh.

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Live like a boy for a week

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"You know how I know you're gay..."

“You know how I know you’re gay…”

Are you feeling stressed, exhausted or strung out? Forget expensive day spas, massages, alcoholic beverages and gorging chocolate whilst watching misleading romantic comedy films.

How would you like a free vacation from all your worries and cares?

Wondering where the hell I’m going with this?

Four words. Four simple words and you will thank me, non-verbally and probably just in your own head, for the rest of your life.

LIVE LIKE A BOY.

You might say, ‘why would I want to do that?’ or ‘what do boys know?’ or ‘hey, I used to be a boy’ but do you really understand what makes The Boy so great? Do you know his essence (no, not that kind of essence) and can you really make use of it (no, not like that, stop it) and wear it with pride (whatever, grow up)?

I’m going to break this plan down into three (that’s the same as 3!) easy steps because everybody loves numbers of things. It’s that simple.

#1 In the office

Perfect the art of nonchalance at work. If you act like you don’t care if you get fired, you will never get fired. In fact, you will probably get promoted.

See Exhibit A: the fine, critically acclaimed film Office Space.

Practise shrugging in response to questions, and see how quickly you can hit the floor under the meeting table when the boss asks for volunteers for additional work.

Make sure you never contribute food to birthday morning teas but always be sure to eat the most after turning up late. Don’t participate in singing ‘Happy birthday’ because only lame people do that.

In fact, do not, I repeat do not, turn up on time to anything ever. Make sure you are at least half an hour late to the office everyday and don’t offer any explanation as to why you were late. If directly asked, say ‘I was sleeping’. If pushed for further explanation, tell them you had a late night at the pub.

Ignore all electronic meeting requests and always always respond to questions with ‘I dunno, ask [insert your most annoying work colleague here].’

Trust me, work stress will soon be a thing of the past.

#2 Recreation time

It is easy to fall into the trap of trying to be ‘productive’ with your spare time and fill hours with grocery shopping, cleaning, gardening or visiting family and friends. Reading a book, well, that just makes me laugh… and then feel sorry for you.

Keep it simple, stupid. Get an Xbox and play from Friday night through to the wee hours of Monday morning. Imagine the kills you’ll get in that time and the people you’ll avoid getting into complicated discussions with.

If you sometimes crave human connection, get a headset and talk smack about your mate’s mum whilst sneaking up behind her and shooting her in the head. You didn’t really murder your best friend, it’s a game, silly. But it does prepare you to fight in the army, defeat an alien invasion and/or drive prostitutes to their next appointment.

Come Monday morning, you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, stress relief from killing so many Nazis and you’ll feel super tired at work which will help you carry out step #1 of this program.

See Exhibit B: Vince Vaughn (that man has taught me so much) in The Break Up, which leads me to…

#3 Relationships are for suckers

Who needs a human lover when you have an iPad or similar mobile device? Touching a touchscreen is so much more satisfying.

Even when Siri does talk back, she at least apologises first.

Who needs the kind of pressures and expectations from a boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband?

But if you must maintain your relationship during your vacation time, make sure to do the right thing and FART.

That’s right, F.A.R.T.

F – Yes, literally Fart on your lover. But don’t just fart. Get creative! Fart blossom, when you use your hands to help waft the odour directly into their face. Dutch oven, when you fart under the blankets and then force their head underneath the covers. Take a romantic bath, take quiet and tranquil pause, gaze into your lover’s eyes and fart underwater. It’s Fun.

A – Ensure Accuracy. Hey, you’re not going to let go of your mobile device so why not use it in your relationship? Fact-check every statement that your partner makes. Is that really a French wine? Does their family really originate from Ireland? Were they popular in high school? Make enquiries, do your research, join online communities, google. It makes whatever they’re rambling on about so much more interesting if you can disprove it. It makes you an Asshole, which is so much fun to be. See Exhibit C: Denis Leary’s classic song Asshole.

R – Delay Response time. Just because they ask you a question, it does not mean it warrants an answer from you. Inane questions like, ‘what are you thinking?’ when clearly you’re thinking about how to kill the enemy in Call of Duty, hardly deserve a response. Just pretend you have gone deaf for three hours. It’s liberating.

T – Turn off. Seriously, this is where your mobile device truly does become a smart phone. Ignore calls, turn off your phone, remain un-contactable. If you get a long text message with a lot of detailed questions about dinner tonight, ignore it until 9.30pm and then text back, ‘hey, what up?’ It keeps your lover on their toes, gives you solitude and keeps the fire alive.

Just use these 3 easy steps and you’ll be enjoying the carefree life of a boy in no time. And if not, whatevs.