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Opinion Editorials

I am the world’s oldest millennial: exploring our generation’s overlaps

As we explore the massive differences between Junior and Senior Millennials, we pause to acknowledge the fact that I’m the world’s oldest millennial. Yay?

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world's oldest millennial

The truth is, I am the world’s oldest millennial

Here you go internet, it’s time you know the truth: I am old. I was born in 1982, the oldest of five siblings. My parents, a blue-collar, conservative, idealistic couple, wanted a big family from the get-go, and they wasted no time.

My mom had all five of us by the time she was 28; my brother, born in 1991, was the tail end, coddled since he was a baby. He was a dreamer–optimistic, always playing instruments and spacing off in class.

I felt it was my job to inform him that he was spoiled. He was.

We were in the same generation, technically, but couldn’t act more differently

Birth order wasn’t the only thing that affected us. In the almost ten year span from the time that I was a young adult until he was a young adult, our country’s access to technology and opportunities changed rapidly.

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We didn’t even have a personal computer while I was in school (again, we were a blue collar family, and some of my classmates’ families did have a computer, but still). By the time my brother was in 7th grade my parents decided to get with the program and invest in a family desktop; my brother’s ease with any kind of gadget will always be far beyond mine.

His love for Nirvana and Seinfeld was considered retro

I remember listening to Smells Like Teen Spirit when it first came out (on the actual FM radio!) and talking about the airplane scene of the Seinfeld finale in high school.

He was too young to join MySpace when it arrived on the scene; I signed up with enthusiasm. These days, he doesn’t really bother with Facebook, while I update all of my aunts and high school friends on important life events frequently.

Junior Millennials vs. Senior Millennials

Our differences could be categorized as typical between a youngest and oldest sibling; however, they are also due to the fact that we are born on different ends of the millennial spectrum–he is a Junior Millennial and I am Addressing the generation gap between Junior and Senior Millennialsa Senior Millennial. When I graduated college, our country was three years post 9/11 and four years from a recession. Things were bleak, and about to be bleaker.

The Washington Post pointed out these differences, particularly in idealism and opportunities. In the article, “Millennials are the Lost Half-Generation” Catherine Rampell noted that, “the younger members of Gen Y are loaded with debt, but they are at least graduating into an economy with expanding job opportunities; meanwhile, the cohort of young people unlucky enough to have entered the job market during a time of scarcer openings sees its economic misfortunes (and resulting inability to afford a homestead or other life milestones) persist.”

She explained, “When openings are rare, young people take whatever job is available and get stuck on a lower trajectory, at worse-paying firms, with fewer opportunities for upward mobility. Many may end up trapped in the wrong industry altogether, at least when it comes to earning potential.”

How we react differently to an unresponsive job market

Apparently this unresponsive job market has affected a good amount of my Senior Millennial peers – leaving them shuffling between careers, or stuck in a low-paying gig. They are probably reminiscing about the glory days of the mid-90s, when we were all playing with pogs, dialing up the internet, and we shared a vague sense that the economy, under the Clinton administration, was doing just fine.

The younger sect of the millennials, meanwhile, just entered the workforce a couple of years ago (or they’ve yet to enter the workforce, as is the case for my extremely young and optimistic 17 yr old sister-in-law). We have not completely recovered from the Great Recession – our economy is not all roses – but we are in an upswing, compared to where we were seven or eight years ago, meaning the Junior Millennials have entered and will enter at peak times compared to Senior Millennials.

I’m a dinosaur in my generation

My brother came to visit me recently, and he was characteristically bright-eyed and carefree. He’s being promoted at his job, but he’s considering a change: thinking about taking some college classes to work in the technology industry. I could be more specific about the field he’s interested in, but to be honest, I don’t understand most of his technology references.

Probably because I’m old. Okay, okay, I’m not old. But compared to my brother, and my teenaged sister-in-law, and most of their digital, inventive, happy-go-lucky, 25-and-under cohorts I am old.

I am, at least, a dinosaur in my generation; perhaps the oldest millennial in the world. And I accept it. I am the world’s oldest millennial.

#SrMillennials

Amy Orazio received her MFA in Creative Writing at Otis College of Art and Design, in Los Angeles. She lives in Portland now, where she is enjoying the cross section of finishing her poetry manuscript and writing for The American Genius.

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4 Comments

  1. Pingback: What millennials want in a job, and why we hop around so much - The American Genius

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  4. Aaron

    May 31, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Technically, I’m a millenial as well, born in 1980. Pretty much defined as born 1980-2000. Never really fit in anywhere, though. I’m still in college at 37, long story, due to medical complications from being in the military.

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Opinion Editorials

Have an in-person job interview? 7 tips to crush the competition

EDITORIAL) While we all know the usual interview schtick, take some time to really study for your next face-to-face job interview.

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Job interview between two women.

So, you’re all scheduled for an in-person interview for a job you’d kill for. It’s exciting that you’ve made it to this step, but the question is, are you ready? Especially with remote interviews being the new norm, your nerves may feel shaken up a bit to interview in person – but you’ve got this! And many of these tips can be applied no matter the interview setting.

We all know the basics of a job interview: dress nice, get there early, come prepared, firm handshake, yada, yada, yada… However, it’s good to really sit and think about all of the requirements of a successful interview.

There are seven steps for crushing a face-to-face interview. Do your homework upside down and inside out in order to walk into that room.

Which brings us to the first step: know everything you need to know backwards and forwards.

This can be done in two steps: getting to know the company and getting to know yourself. By doing website, social media, and LinkedIn research, you can get a feel of the company culture as well as the position you’re interviewing for.

By getting to know yourself, have a friend ask you some interview questions so you can practice. Also, take a look at your resume through the eyes of someone who doesn’t know you. Make sure everything is clear and can compete with other candidates.

The next step is to anticipate solving future problems. Have some insight on the department that you are interviewing for and come prepared with ideas of how to better this department. (i.e. if it’s marketing, give examples of campaigns you’ve done in the past that have proven to have been successful.)

Step number three requires you to go back to the research board and get some information on the employer. Find out who you’re meeting with (head of HR, head of the department, etc.) and make your self-presentation appropriate for the given person.

Next, work on making the interview conversation a meaningful one. This can be done by asking questions as people like to see you take an interest in them. Also, be sure to never answer the questions as if it’s your regular spiel. Treat each job interview as if this is the first time you’re presenting your employability information.

With this, your next step is to have stories prepared for the job interview. Anecdotes and examples of previous jobs or volunteer/organization experiences can help bring life to an otherwise run-of-the-mill resume.

After this, you’ll want to make sure that you’re showing enthusiasm for the position you’re interviewing for. Don’t jump on the couch in the lobby like you’re Tom Cruise on Oprah, but definitely portray that you’re excited and up for the challenge.

Lastly, make a good impression by being impressive. Be professional and in control of your body language. Put yourself in the mindset of whatever position you’re interviewing for and show them that you have what it takes.

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Opinion Editorials

The benefits of remote work are just too good to overlook

(EDITORIAL) Employees scream it from the rooftops and businesses don’t want to admit it: Remote work is just too beneficial to pass up- and here’s why.

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Work from home written with scrabble letters.

Remote work has been rising in popularity in the past several years. Especially following the COVID-19 global pandemic, more companies saw significant benefits for both their business and their staff that went beyond the realm of finances by allowing remote labor.

Less happily, many people lost their job during the pandemic, but they ended up having more time to put toward their passions or were compelled to get creative with their remote business ideas to ensure a consistent stream of income.

If you remain on the fence about allowing your employees to work remotely, or are considering a career shift yourself, take a look at the top four benefits of working remotely, which may sway your decision.

Better Overall Quality of Life

Allowing your employees to work remotely doesn’t necessarily mean they work from home full time. There are benefits to having your employees work in an office part of the time – say, two or three days – and working from home, in more familiar surroundings, the rest of the week.

In this way, your workers enjoy some freedom and independence while retaining the ability to interact face-to-face with their peers. That provides human interaction, which can play a substantial role in terms of improved mental health for your staff.

Happy employees means healthier employees, which can save your outfit money in the form of healthcare costs and lost productivity. But we will get further into the cost-saving benefits a little further on.

If you’re a remote worker, you should see yourself becoming significantly more productive. But why would this be the case if you don’t have a manager over your shoulder watching your every move?

It’s true that when employees have a greater sense of independence, they also experience a significant sense of trust on the part of their employers and managers. This is one of the huge benefits of working remotely because it has a trickle-down effect on the quality and overall production of people’s work.

Can Work Anywhere with Internet

Whether you are a small business owner or have crafted your work to tailor toward a life of remote labor, this is an opportunity for someone who has dreamed of being a digital nomad. You have the ability to work anywhere in the world as long as you have access to the Internet. If you love to travel, this is a chance to spend time in various places around the globe while continuing to meet your deadlines.

Multi-member Zoom call on a Apple Mac laptop with a blue mug of black coffee next to it.

Set Your Own Hours

In some cases with remote businesses, you have the freedom to set your own hours. Content writers, for instance, tend to enjoy more flexibility with regard to when they work because a lot of what they produce is project-based rather than tied to a nine-to-five schedule.

When you’re a business owner, this can be incredibly useful when you outsource tasks to save money. You can find a higher quality of performance by searching for contractors anywhere in the world and it doesn’t limit you to workers who live near to your office.

Saves Everyone Time and Money

 In the end, remote work typically saves money for every person and entity involved. Businesses save costs in terms of not having to pay for a physical space, utilities, Internet, and other expenses. This allows you, as the owner, to spend more of your income on providing quality software and benefits for your employees so your operation runs more smoothly and efficiently.

According to FlexJobs, employees or remote business owners may save around $4,000 on average every year for expenses such as car maintenance, transportation, professional clothing in the office, or even money spent dining out for lunch with coworkers. Eventually, the costs add up, which means extra money in your pocket to take that much-needed vacation or save up for a down payment on your first home.

These benefits of working remotely only skim the surface. There are also sustainability factors such as removing cars from the roads and streets, because people don’t have to travel to and from an office; or employees missing fewer workdays since they have the ability and freedom to clock in from home.

Weigh the pros and cons as to whether remote work is right for you as a business owner or online professional. You might be surprised to find that working from home for more than the duration of the pandemic is worthwhile and could have long-lasting benefits.

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Opinion Editorials

Do these 3 things if you TRULY want to be an ally to women in tech

(EDITORIAL) We understand diversity helps and strengthens our companies, and individual teams. But how can you be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce?

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Two women at meeting table discussing working in tech.

More and more women are leaving their positions with tech companies, citing lack of opportunity for advancement, wage gaps, and even hostile working conditions as some of the reasons why.

What’s better for the tech industry and its employees than cultivating inclusive and diverse departments? Diversity is known to strengthen the overall performance of a company and its teams, and there are a number of ways you can be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce. To name a few:

1. Be open to listening to different perspectives.

It can be awkward to hear so many reports of workplace politics stacking against women, especially if you’re not a woman!

Instead of getting uncomfortable or defensive – ask open ended questions and be interested in a perspective that isn’t yours and may be unfamiliar.

Don’t seek to rationalize or explain the experiences you’re hearing about, as that can come off as condescending. It’s common for women to be interrupted or spoken over in team gatherings. If you notice this happening, bring the conversation back to where the interruption began. Offering your ear and counting yourself as responsible for making space will improve the overall quality of communication in your company.

Listening to and validating what women have to say about the quality of their employment with a company is an important step in the right direction.

Expressing something as simple as “I was interested in what you had to say – could you elaborate on your thought?” can help.

2. Develop an Employee Resource Group (ERG) program.

An ERG is a volunteer-based, employee-led group that acts as a resource for a particular group of employees. An ERG can help to foster inclusiveness through discussion, team-building activities and events. It’s common for a department to have only one or two women on the roster.

This can mean that the day to day feels disconnected from concerns commonly shared by women. disjointed it might feel to be on a high performing team, without access to relatable conversations.

3. Be responsible for your company’s culture.

Chances are, your company already has some amazing cultural values in place. That said, how often are you checking your own performance and your co-workers performances against those high standards? Strong company culture and values sound great, but whether or not they’re adhered to can make or break the mood of a work environment.

Many women say they’ve experienced extremely damaging and toxic cultural environments, which lead to hostility, frustration, and even harassment. Take action when you see the new woman uncomfortable with being hit on at team drinks.

Call out those who make unfriendly and uncouth comments about how women perform, look, or behave.

Setting a personal threshold for these kinds of microaggressions can help you lead by example, and will help build a trustworthy allyship.

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