Think Creative Job Ideas Are a Joke? Not So Fast.

Posted by The Editors on August 12, 2011

For an upcoming article in WetFeet magazine, my colleagues and I debated the validity of stereotypes about Generation Y (or the Millennial Generation, or just “millennials”—there seem to be as many terms as there are stereotypes) and where the line between Generations X and Y falls. It made me think: how Gen Y am I? How much do I have in common with my peers? Have I really been fulfilling these stereotypes all along?

This week, I came across a blog post (you can find it here, and please forgive the profanity in the title) with the heading “Generation Why” about creative job options. Really?! Here, I thought, is someone who’s on the same page as me! A closer look, though, revealed that the author was bemoaning, on behalf of an entire generation, the current lack of good jobs and steady employment.

As far as the list of job possibilities goes, well, they seem more a result of desperation than of creativity. None of them is exactly a sandcastle engineer. When I realized they were jokes rather than practical suggestions, I thought, “You’re playing right into their hands.” This is what older generations have been saying about us for years: They’re not serious enough, they look for the easy way out, they’d rather criticize a problem or make light of it than fix it.

Rather than throwing up their hands, the underemployed and unsatisfied folks of my generation should focus on what they have going for them. As my colleague Emily pointed out earlier this week, we’re digital natives; we have a facility with technology unlike any other generation. We’re willing to hear people out and listen to their point of view, which is why journalist and author Laura Sessions Stepp recently suggested putting us in charge of the government. In short, we see things differently than our predecessors, and that is a sign, above all, of creativity. We might be headed into traditional job roles, at least to start, but we can approach them in a way that hasn’t been done before. Becoming street performers or hunter-gatherers won’t get us there. 

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