January 4, 2011 10 Comments
The other day I was talking to one of my good friends from graduate school. She’s been working at the same company for the past 5 years and has been looking at moving to a new city, getting a new job, and starting a new field of research. There isn’t anything wrong with her job – she just wants something new.
To quote her:
I will have been here 5 years in march, a nice time for a career change.
I started thinking about the people I know, including myself, and the life decisions we’ve made. And I don’t think that we’re Generation X or Generation Y. No, we’re Generation Change.
We’re not the type of people who want to settle in relationships, and when we do “settle down” we understand on a deep subtextual level that there is always a possibility of divorce if it doesn’t work out.
We’re taught that if things don’t make us happy we shouldn’t just grin and bear it, we should make whatever changes we need to in order to make the situation better.
Three years ago this is why I left San Diego, CA for my post-doc position.
A year ago that is why I started applying for faculty positions.
I wanted change. There was a deep unhappiness for the present position that I felt could be resolved with a new place, new people, a new job.
I am a prime example of Generation Change.
I don’t see today’s 20 and 30 something’s working at one place for 40-50 years like our grandparents did. I don’t even see any of us making it to 10 years. Change, and changing up, is so deeply embedded in our psyche that we don’t know how to grin and bear it – why should we have to if there is a possibility of something better somewhere else?
We’re obsessed with upgrading, downsizing, minimalizing, consumerism, my tv is better than yours. We change our phones, our clothes, our TVs, our cars. Usually when we really don’t need to – for those few moments of glee when ours is the newest, the greatest, the fastest, the best. It is an addiction to change that we cling to. “This new thing will change me and who I am, it will make me better for having it.”
The only change Generation Change really fears is changing ourselves. Sure, we’ll change our education level, we’ll change our career, we’ll change our relationships, we’ll change our fashion sense, we’ll change our politics, we’ll change our religion, we’ll change where our money goes. We’ll change everything about us in a heart beat if we think it will make us happier in the long run. The only thing we believe we can’t change is who we are. We’re not the problem. We aren’t what makes us unhappy – it is the job, the degree, the relationship, the circumstance, the outfit, the politics.
What if instead of being Generation Change everything about our lives – we became Generation Change the world around us? Now there is a positive change that could in fact change everything!
Do you belong to Generation Change?