John and Doug, Gen Xers

Time on Gen X reconsidered

Yesterday, I came across a delightful blog written by a self-described “Gen Xer.”  John draws pictures and takes photographs of Doug (a truly creative monkey!), and together they explore work in the new world.  I found John’s writing thoughtful and warm and funny.  He has clearly thought a great deal about how to spend his life meaningfully, and he generously shares this journey through a series of posts called Find Your Path In Life Series and guides his readers through taking that same journey.  It IS a feel-good journey, but it’s more than that; John doesn’t dismiss the real obstacles and difficulties in balancing the need for security and safety with the need for meaning.  What he does do is to show that asking the right questions and engaging in creative problem-solving can move one forward.  His sense of optimism and spirit would be a great guide for anyone wanting to ask the questions that will move you.  Feeling restless in your work?  Feeling completely dissatisfied?  I invite you to try out a few of John and Doug’s exercises in the series.

Doug Does Life comes after a conversation I had recently with other baby boomers about the sense of “entitlement” post-baby boomers seem to exhibit in today’s workplace.  My friends included their own, hard-working children in the group.  But we all know the game has changed.  Post baby-boomers (Generations X and Y (also known as Millenials)) are living the writing on the wall, even as their parents encourage dedication to hard work as the most viable and probable path to success.  Gen Xers and Millenials can see for themselves that the late baby-boomers are having to continue that singular path of working ruggedly hard into their seventh and eighth decades, and they are rightfully asking why.  The payoff isn’t waiting at the end for most of us.  Seeking meaningful work, expecting basic health care benefits and a livable wage, and not promising the bulk of one’s hours of the day in exchange is asking for payment now, knowing that tomorrow’s payday will likely not come, no matter what has been promised.  It’s not a matter of entitlement or who worked, or is working, harder.  It’s a matter of recognizing the way things are and demanding respect in our economy.  We all value meaning and leisure and joy; the “youngsters” know to ask for it now, at the same time they are working hard and working well.  They are creating the opportunities, too.  While we baby-boomers are still trying to make the transition, let’s watch and take notes.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Advertisements

a question-filled hiatus

Hello, Dedicated Readers!

How lovely to be back here again. A year’s break from writing was never imagined when I wrote that last post just over a year ago. But, I have been on such a journey this past year, a journey that may find its way in and out of these next months’ posts, because there were certainly many big and little, tangled and clear, simple and complex problems. Many questions were asked, pondered, and answered; some solutions were fashioned. And then the question, “Just what is keeping you from getting back to writing about ‘working well in the modern world’?” kept presenting itself evermore insistently. Answers were given, ad hoc testing was attempted, and finally we arrive at the answer of simply sitting down at the keyboard and floating these thoughts out to you.

Problems are questions. Questions are problems. Our ability to see and elucidate the questions and more questions and more and more is our never-ending search for understanding, meaning, love, the alleviation of suffering, the creation of abundance. We are blinded at each moment by many facets, the fact of our human self and our mind’s constructs being primary, and so we turn the problem this way and that, probing here, probing there; it is a lifelong task, indeed the never-ending task of humanity. If we are wise, we live the questions themselves, as the poet says. We find both our sorrow and our joy in the questions, our passion and our determination — in the questions. If we wait for answers before we began to live, we miss much of life altogether. And, then, when we are living the questions, in sorrow, joy, passion, determination, sometimes the answers, the resolution, the way comes to us and sits in our lap, quietly lights on our shoulder, wakes us suddenly in the middle of the night, or shows itself plainly under our microscope or in our notebooks because some blind spot has been finally adjusted. Passionate problem-solving is passionate questing and questioning, passionately living the problems themselves. How do we visualize a problem? We paint masterpieces that strike others in the human race over 100 years later with the agony of the human condition. We tell stories that are passed through the generations. We share drawings and thoughts and passions. Sadness and frustration. Discovery and abundance. This is passionate problem-solving. This is glorious life.

Back tomorrow.