I am Generation Y. I grew up in the 80s and 90s at a time when technology suddenly made the world available and everything seemed to come at an instant. These inventions would dramatically improve life for many but for many more, for many in my generation, it also had a way of minimizing life into bits of instant access and things we would come to take for granted. Our parents, “The Boomers,” created for us the image of linear success, much like the “linear machines” their generation invented: go to college, graduate, get a job, retire. This seemed like the perfect answer. After all, it was simplistic, linear and fool proof. So, somehow my generation figured similar to the ease of sending a text message, they would do just that with the same expectations: instant reply, instant success, instant money. Of course, they would be wrong. Even our parents never achieved things linearly. In fact, every generation had to struggle, and if my generation wants to be successful, then we all have to do so too.
So about my reasons for writing this. Well, I am very much the negative stereotype of my generation: I was, up until now, very egotistical and believed I deserved success (not that I earned it).
I am smack in the middle of my Twenties, 25 to be exact (well almost, I was actually born in July, 1988) and ever since I was young, I was told I was gifted. It was discovered at age 12 that I had an IQ of 147. Subconsciously, I never let myself forget it. Although I struggled to fit in during HS, I always remembered that “I was gifted” so somehow things would come my way. I graduated in the top 1% (3.92 GPA) in my college class from a Tier 1 institution with a degree in Pre-Law, ranked 3rd in my major. Always a massive film buff, I wanted to study entertainment law, because in my mind, at the time, I was “too smart to PA for success.”
So now, fast forwarding a bit, the recession hit a peak the year I graduated. Millions of over-achieving “gifted kids” with big, soaring GPAs and even bigger egos were all out of work. I decided not to take $200k out in debt to go to Law School, since the legal market was hit especially hard. So somehow, I found myself working in finance as a research assistant to make ends meet, wondering what to do.
So that was it? That was the struggle? No, not at all. Since then, I began writing this account (on Twitter initially). In fact, it was a spoof to a film a few of my friends worked on. I wrote jokes and it gained a small following. Eventually, my professional influence, the films producer, followed. I would target him along with the filmmakers for jokes. Eventually, he found out who it was after a bit of my refusal to give myself up, and he encouraged me to keep writing. In fact, after reading my first effort, he told me “I have a gift with language” and it remains the greatest compliment I have ever received. I cannot tell you how much it means to greatly respect and admire someone, and have them compliment you.
The problem is, like many in my generation, I just expected that this would spell out success on its own. That after deciding to “become a screenwriter” I would bang out a few scripts and move to LA and eventually work full time as a Hollywood writer. Delusional, I know. What I failed to realize, in my impatience, is that even the man I admired didn’t get where he is over night. That I once again failed to realize that we don’t get things instantaneously.
We all have to struggle. So that’s where I am now. After complaining about the industry, how it’s unfair, how the odds are not realistic, how it’s full of sequels, prequels, remakes, a**holes and egomaniacs — I realized I was the a**hole, that I was the egomaniac. The fact of the matter is, it takes years before one becomes successful — and not without struggling. Struggle is subjective of course. For some, it’s living impoverished, just so they can do what they want. For others, it’s perhaps pursuing a field of work to make ends meet, miserable, but so they can survive to pursue their passion. Either way, it’s a struggle. It’s a struggle because on the path to success we must first be in a place where we don’t want to be.
Success doesn’t come instantly. Success doesn’t come because you have a college degree, a high IQ, or because you made a couple of efforts. Success comes to those who struggle, because they put in the hard work. The struggle builds character, it erodes ego, it puts everything in perspective. You can be cynical all you want, but that will only get you cynical results.
So, in talking ’bout my generation, the techno-generation, Gen-Y: technology has made everything instantaneous, but life is still incredibly slow.