Quarter Life Crisis: A Millennial’s Guide to Life and Los Angeles
Chapter One: Working on Living
Posted: 1 hour ago
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Responsibilities include scripted and unscripted dogtagging, upper-level post-production justice, marauding, getting coffee, and playing the lute like a goddamn angel. On a daily basis, you will liaise with Chester, our feral wolf, and report back in time. Must be willing to work with assholes. 70 hours a week. Entry level pay (no overtime). Only respond if you’re a masochist. Include cover letter and resume written in jelly donut jelly (jelly not from a jelly donut will NOT be accepted) on the bathroom wall of Bob Hope Airport, NOT as an attachment. Subject your email “I’m a pretty little dolly” so we know you’re willing to humiliate yourself.
Hey Millennials (I know, I only just heard of that too). We’re a generation of special little guys and daddy’s sweetest angels. We can do anything that we even say once we’re interested in. We don’t even have to put our mind to it, that’s how gifted we are.
You know how you always won at Candy Land? That’s because that game has no rules, and your parents still had to let you win.
We were raised by a committee of researchers and best-selling authors who are still to this day a part of the wealthiest generation ever. They were raised in upper-middle class homes with lots of nice things by folks who still parented as if no less than three of their children would die of bone-vanish, before the bank came and stole their genitals. What resulted was a generation of parents with the motivation, means, and societal circumstances to coddle the sense of self-doubt right the hell out of us.
We were raised by the first generation raised in a super-solid middle class. In the fluffy cloud of the 90s (I mean, Michael Jordan was there!). By people who thought we would inherit the most golden-paved phantasmagoria of endless possibility, even though they were the very people destroying our chance at a living wage.
I’m not bitter.
We’re a really interesting case study. And I’m obviously not able to comment on our generation with any hindsight whatsoever. But Millennials may be the smartest, most innovative and hopeful generation ever. We’re also the most epically effed.
All of our notions of sustainability and fair trade and globalization of knowledge and localization of production are fantastic (and, yes, they’re not just ours to claim). Our tenacity tends to be fairly commendable (though many call us super-lazy, which…I don’t have the energy to address). We have big ideas. We have big dreams. And we’re navigating a totally new economy that practically forces us to cast away the one thing that makes us sub-par workers in the first place: bosses.
Me, I’ve been my own boss since birth. Any time I look down at my paunchy middle and my paltry metabolism, I think “why did my parents feed me so much Taco Bell as a child?” I’ve asked them as much. Their reply: “Because you wouldn’t eat anything else!”
I don’t know what the hell I’m doing! Why would you put me in charge of me? This is how I feel about my childhood, and it’s also—predictably—what I’m starting to feel about my present. Can’t someone just like…figure out my shit for me? I want to be a comedy writer! This was supposed to be easy! I’m putting in the work! I’m making good comedy! Why is nobody giving me a career yet!?
We’re a generation completely disoriented by the impossible bipolarity of our disposition. We’re strong-willed but unprepared. We’re full of self-confidence but entirely unsure. We take forever to grow up but we’ve been programming computers since we were 7. We know what we want and have no idea how to get it.
Also…there are just way too many of us. We’re graduating college with big ideas and tiny employment pools. And when we hear our leaders talk about their construction and manufacturing job-creating initiatives, we’re thinking “But none of us want to be assembly-line workers! Didn’t you hear our parents before? We’re the bestest! Didn’t you read our half-written graphic novels???!!!”
That ad at the start of this column is, well, fictional (I’m sorry I’ve deceived you). But it’s laughably close to reality. I’m a comedy writer, and my parents think I’m the best. I guarantee you they’re reading this right now. That’s how damn supportive they are of everything I do. But there’s no formula for becoming a professional comedy writer except for just doing it. Which is what I’m doing. Which has been fulfilling. Except that I’m not getting paid and I’m broke.
But everyone I went to film school with? They’re also the best. And so is every other 27 year old aspiring TV writer. And all of us applied to that shit-heap job on Craigslist offering to pay us $20k a year in one of the most expensive cities in the country to fulfill a job description even they don’t understand. But here’s a hint: “Pre-Production Concierge” most likely means “invisible chore monkey.” And no, you don’t get a lunch break.
The job prospects we’ve been faced with, to get us through the meantime, take wild advantage of the fact that the Millennial talent pool is pretty much endless. That’s why we live in cool expensive cities and make tiny salaries.
Luckily, we have Youtube and Kickstarter and Amazon Studios and Reddit and Etsy and blogs and podcasting. We have these immensely powerful tools for making our thing and exporting it to a worldwide audience. This is probably the defining feature of our generation’s commercial economy. And given its “microscopic fish, HUGE pond” format, it’s also the perfect metaphor for our suspension between hopefulness and hopelessness.
Ultimately, most of the people I know are totally lost. We’ve all been out of college now for longer than we were in college, and many of us are no closer to our ultimate career dreams. We’re all just starting to realize that this isn’t a nurturing job market we were handed. We have to make our careers for ourselves. We’re also all coming to terms with the fact that eventually, we may have to give in to our B or C or D plans. This fact wildly contradicts everything we’ve been hearing our entire lives. It’s shocking. And upsetting. And there’s still room for all of us to be stars. Don’t worry. There has to be.
Of course, this does not necessarily go for all Millennials. Some of us are CPAs and stuff. I’ve heard. I don’t know.
I’m only one person with one set of experiences. But…my Mom says I’m the Voice of a Generation, so…
Micah Gordon is the co-Executive Producer/Head Writer of the sketch comedy web series Kill Bosby Presents: Watch Immediately. Visit Micah’s portfolio here.