Note: To see what the 5 Minute Month is all about, click here to read the first post in the series.
A couple of days ago, I took a spin through the stacks at the library and checked out a few books on the psychological profiles of current job-seekers based on generational stereotypes. At this point in my career, having completed my doctorate and a post-doc while applying to academic jobs for the past couple of years, I’m doing a lot of self-assessment and self-reflection. Most often, I check in with a variety of web-based resources about once per day, looking for insights on shifting approaches to landing jobs both in and outside of academia. This is one of those fields, I reason, where the internet has more to offer than traditional publishing, in most respects — a book on how to land the perfect job c. 2005 is now pre- Web 2.0, and thus of limited value.
I was struck by two interesting books sitting side-by-side on the shelf (titles are escaping me, and I’m not home to look at them, so if you’re curious, let me know and I’ll pass them along). The first was aimed at helping members of Generation X assess their approach to the job market, while the other was geared towards explaining job market techniques to “older” members of Generation Y. As I paged through the introductions to both books, I realized that, while I have long considered myself a “Gen-X-er,” my birthdate and web/social media competencies alike place me squarely in the “Gen Y” camp. I’m not sure how I feel about that; after all, one of my nicknames in high school (which I graduate from in the 90s) was “flannel man,” and I still view Kurt Cobain’s passing as a highly significant event during my formative years. But it’s also true that I’ve been on the internet for close to 20 years, that I’ve been “wired in” since high school, and can only think of about two jobs that I ever applied to which were only listed in the news paper want-ads (one of them being a news reporter position, the other being a delivery driver position). My first and second post-college interviews came through Monster.com, and I realize how much that has often colored my perception of the twenty-first century job market — setting up a solid profile, carefully listing/deliniating accomplishments and objectives, and flinging it into the void to see what comes back. And results always come back — they’re often not what I’ve been hoping for, though.
But beyond job-market tactics and techniques, I still find it hard to fully embrace the Gen Y label. I’m a child of the 80s who came of age (eh…never like that phrase) in the 90s, whose first iPod came several years after I graduate college and who had an “emergency calls only” cell phone until the start of the 00’s. Thus, I’m proposing a new generational classification (as if we really need another one!), Gen XY (and I’ll bet its already taken). Us Gen XY-ers are still flannel-shirt and Doc Marten -wearing grunge rockers at heart, in no hurry to dig in and adopt the suburban / “traditional” lifestyle we were often raised in (I grew up in a rural area, but still) — yet feel we are no less tech-savvy, or are perhaps even more tech-savvy (in some ways), than many of our early twenty-something friends and colleagues. How about it — any other “Gen XY-ers” out there? Thoughts?
Word count: about 575
Time: lost count, was having fun!