Dear Generation X and Older, Here’s Something You May Not Know…

YOUR WAY IS NOT THE ONLY WAY.

Times. Have. Changed. We are living in new, modern times. Updated. Refreshed. Cutting-Edge. Regardless of how you put it, this means that virtually everything is different now. I’ll give you a couple examples to warm you up before dropping some ground-breaking information on you that you won’t want to miss.

1: Advanced Technology

Just look at our cell phones. That right there is probably one of the biggest, and most obvious transformations and we hold it in the palms of our hands. Okay, okay. Lately, major corporations, let’s call them Crapple and Cramsung,  haven’t exactly produced the greatest product. (Crapple, because they basically suck lately. Cramsung because they pack things into a phone and put it out for the world before its even ready.) They are taking away features people love and adding features we didn’t even ask for, then charging us MORE than an arm and a leg to have it. (Which is just more proof that they pay absolutely no attention to the “Suggestions” or “Customer Feedback” sections on their websites.) Other products are spontaneously combusting or catching fire and posing a serious threat to consumers everywhere. Nice one, guys. You really outdid yourselves this time. Fortunately for you, we’ll ignore those flaws for the sake of making a point. Older generations? Do exactly that; look past the recent issues and you’ll notice just how far cellular technology has come along.

One word:

RAZR.

Hahahaha yes. The RAZR. This sleek, stylish flip phone debuted in 2004. At the time, I was a clumsy, care-free, 4th grader with an embarrassing haircut and I paid little attention to ever-improving technology. But even I knew that sweet Motorola phone was coveted by so many. In 2005 the RAZR V3i was an even bigger hit with cellphone users. Especially in the colors maroon and orchid. My basketball coach had one. My teacher had one. My neighbor had one. Half my church congregation had one. Yeah, buddy. Those were the crown jewels of mobile phones. I’m not even sure my family was using cell phones at that time. And if we were, it was a blocky, indestructible Nokia that charged a dollar a minute to use. FANCY! *Insert eye roll*

But now look at us. We have touch screens, 4G LTE,  Angry Birds, banking apps, 16 megapixel back cameras, notes, weather apps, email, virtual wallets, and MUCH more all accessed easily on a thin, rectangular gadget that fits in our pocket. Holy Crapple!

Example number 2: High School Graduation Requirements

That’s right. I’m talking about the ever-changing and frustratingly inconsistent list that determines whether a student graduates or not. In my senior year of high school, the math requirement changed. I had not taken the specific math course they decided was necessary. I had taken the one that was ruled necessary since, like, EVER. Thankfully, I escaped by a HAIR. The new requirement didn’t apply to those of us set to graduate in 2013. SCORE. However, I felt bad for my younger friends, especially those who were home schooled and had to change their lesson plans and etc. to fit the “rules.” Y’all survived. Congrats!

I’m not going to get into all the boring details about what the requirements were before 1975-ish and what they are now. And, personally, I don’t want to do all of that research. That’s not why I’m writing this “letter” that’s about to be jam-packed with toe-crushing F.Y.I material. Phones and education are just scratching the surface of change and we millennials (as I honestly HATE being called because of the bad rep we get on a daily basis) are thriving in this truly disparate lifestyle.

Now that I’ve opened the gateway for the purpose of this post with some pretty obvious and probably dispensable information, I hope you’re ready to have a bombshell dropped on you.

As said at the very beginning of this piece, your way is not the only way. And I’m so very thrilled to explain why and just what it is I am talking about.

SUCCESS. Everyone wants it. Everyone has their own idea of what success is and how to achieve it. And everyone thinks their way is the best way. ESPECIALLY the majority of the members of Generation X and above. (To those of you who don’t shove your methods and “constructive criticism” down our throats, nothing to see here. Move along. This doesn’t pertain to you. Also, THANKS.) However, if you’re the older man sitting in the booth with his wife at Waffle House, talking trash about the 22-year-old waitress serving you saying “She’ll never amount to anything. She’s obviously not smart if she’s working here,” or if you’re the rich, lawyer dad lecturing your son because he wants to be a chef and you don’t think he’ll make enough money and “cooking isn’t a man’s job,” OR if you’re the stuck-up, judgy, suburban housewife who frowns upon young girls going after careers thinking “every woman should stay at home,” STOP IT.

STOP IT STOP IT STOP IT. UGH!!

That waitress? She’s working killer hours so she can afford to take classes at the local college which, by the way, she is attending when she isn’t at work serving your snarky self.

Your son? He has skills you probably aren’t even aware of and maybe, just MAYBE, if you try some of his dishes your mind will be blown and you’ll see just how much potential he has. He could own a classy, expensive, five-star restaurant some day. He’ll be fine. Trust me. Cooking most certainly can be a “man’s job.” Tell your son I said keep it up.

The working woman is not an issue. What I’m about to say will equally anger both feminists and the judgemental housewife from “another time.” Brace yourselves. Women weren’t created to do everything a man can do. They were created to do what men CAN’T do. To COMPLETE them. It’s OKAY to work. It’s OKAY to get an education. It’s OKAY to want to be single and independent and never get married. It’s OKAY to be a stay-at-home mom. It’s OKAY to have kids and work so long as work doesn’t become more important. It’s OKAY to be a doctor, lawyer, musician, teacher, chef, writer, actress, realtor, or whathaveyou. Women CAN have important careers just as much as a man can. But women should not have the goal of overpowering men to prove we can do things and have equal rights. Honestly, it makes you look stupid and weak and desperate. Women are strong because of the role we were already given. Childbirth. Mothering. Menstrual crap for crying out loud. We work when we’re sick. Mothers never take a day off. Women are already powerful and needed and important. STOP TRYING TO PROVE WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW BY SHOVING YOUR FEET INTO A MAN’S SHOES. Just STOP. You don’t need to prove anything!!!

A working woman is fine. A non-working woman is fine. Quit pulling the drapes back and peering out the window at your generation Y neighbor who’s kissing her also working husband goodbye and driving to her place of work. Don’t you have a pie in the oven? Go clean your already spotless kitchen for the THIRD TIME TODAY and leave that young couple alone. They’re not hurting anyone and they’re not hurting themselves.

Y’all need to leave the men and women of the younger generations ALONE. Please. I’m begging you. Your constant critiquing, that we don’t even ask for to begin with, makes things worse for us. Want to know something else? I’m twenty-one, I dropped out of college after attending no more than two years. I failed probably three different classes while there, one of them twice, and I hated school because I had no idea why I was even there. I didn’t even know what I wanted to do because everyone older than me shoved it in my face since day one that I HAD to attend college and I HAD to do so right after high school otherwise I’d be jobless, homeless, and stuck. (Thanks for killing my drive.) I worked fast food for two years, I’ve had 4 jobs in the past three, I can’t seem to save money very well yet, and I don’t always keep my room clean. *GASP* I know! I’m a MESS! I’m HOPELESS! But guess what. After taking a much-needed break from college and not going along with what everyone else my age was doing, I finally figured out what I wanted to do and I’m EXCITED to go back to school. I may graduate later than others but who cares? Who said I had to have my degree before I was 25?? Just because YOU did it that way does NOT mean I should have to in order to be successful. Some of y’all didn’t even go to college so don’t even think about telling me how I should. Some of you tried the whole “break” thing and it took you even longer to finish and you SWEAR that is the wrong way to do it. “Just get it done and out of the way ASAP.” Okay, that’s a great idea. But everyone is DIFFERENT. Different ways work for different people. Just because it didn’t work for you doesn’t mean it won’t work for me or someone else. STOP FORCING YOUR OPINION DOWN OUR THROATS LIKE YOU KNOW BETTER. Because NEWS FLASH. YOU DON’T. Yes, you are SMART. And you do have a lot to contribute to the world and to us “babies.” But you have got to stop saying it’s the best and only way. That just makes us angry and feel extremely pressured to fit a mold that clearly wasn’t made for us. Oh, and we really don’t care what you think we should do. The older we get the more we realize we are the only ones who determine our futures. (God has the ultimate plan for us and may His will be done) but no other human being gets to decide how we pave our paths to success. When we “leave the nest” our parents don’t even get to choose how we make a life for ourselves. Why should you??

Times have changed. We will learn at our own pace and we’ll get there eventually. We will be the future and we will run it well. We will dream our own dreams and achieve them without your excessive and unwanted handholding. We’ll fight for a chance to be something great and we will win. We will fail several times but we’ll keep trying. We will make mistakes but we’ll learn from them.

We will do things our own way. We WON’T do them your way.

And it will be okay.

Sincerely,

a stubborn, reckless Next Gen who is tired of your crap

Ps. To the millennials who think being “on fleek” and having more than 12 likes on Instagram is TOP PRIORITY, and thinking you can continue to mooch off of mommy and daddy’s bank account for as long as you want because they won’t stop you… Y’all the whole reason the rest of us hard-working, dedicated, NON-MOOCHING, young adults are drowning in flack from the elders. Please. Separate yourselves from us. It’s embarrassing.

einstein-judging

Retail or Circus Act?

I work a fairly decent job at one of the local department stores and though it’s proven better than some of the jobs I’ve had in the very distant past, it can be a NIGHTMARE!

I’m not using that word lightly. And as if it isn’t enough during the day, I have terrible dreams about it at night. (Yep, even the weird, show-up-to-work-naked ones that make ZERO sense because you could swear you were wearing clothes two seconds ago.) Maybe I allow too much stress to seep in during each shift or I don’t take a breath quite enough in between the hustle and bustle but some days I am ready to pull all my hair out and roll around on the floor singing Sarah McLachlan’s “In the Arms of an Angel” within the first two hours of my shift.

While I’m thankful for the very TEMPORARY job that’s keeping me busy until I go back to school for an actual career, after days like today I grow more and more impatient for that “something better.”My shift started with a sudden panic. To better understand why I dealt with this momentary trepidation here’s a small backstory. Monday (yesterday), there was a huge fiasco surrounding my bank. An unknown charge went through and I had a sob fest in my car when the funds I had saved for that specific bill, and then some, that I TRIPLE checked on my lunch break to make sure were still there, were mostly gone. The bank was closing in 15 minutes and the insurance company in 30. Major traffic and no time to fix everything. I called my mom, nervous and upset. We worked it out so that I would go to the insurance office and explain what happened, bring them the measly $76 that I had left, and my mom would pay the last half for me tomorrow while running errands. Well, I went to the office and told them what happened, they worked with us on the issue and were very understanding.

Now back to present day. Tuesday. Almost a whole 24 hours later I opened my employee locker and stuffed my oversized handbag inside and a sickening realization washed over me. Sure, I told them what was going on but I failed to carry out the paramount part of my mission; PAY THE $76! I frantically thought of ways to do that before they closed, knowing mom would be frustrated with me and things would come crashing down if I didn’t. I thought about telling my boss I had a situation and would be right back in 30 minutes but after having to bail two days ago due to being sick, I knew that wouldn’t fly. Back to the drawing board. After figuring out I could use my measly half-hour break to skip lunch and run this errand at 3pm, I relaxed a little. I let my mom know what was going on and how I was handling it and all seemed fine… Until the fear of another possible charge being put on my account ate at my insides. I had to pray and ignore it and begin my day.  (Ps. That was way easier said than done.)

Thanks to that itty bitty episode, I clocked in late. So I rushed to the register still reeling from the stress I put on myself and the underlying stress I still had. My department was flocked with customers and I’d hardly stepped a foot on the sales floor before a customer threw her armful of merchandise in front of me with an exasperated sigh and 2o,000 questions about her coupons. The manager had to pull an employee from Men’s department to help us tackle the checkout line. (Please…don’t take that word choice literally.)  Clothes flooded the fitting rooms, most of them left behind by lazy customers lacking the character and good morals required to PUT THEIR UNWANTED STUFF ON THE RACK THEY LITERALLY HAVE TO WALK BY UPON LEAVING THE DRESSING ROOM. (PLEASE. Don’t be that person.) Both the “Go-Back” rack by the fitting room and the one by the register were crammed with clothes that were practically taunting us, waiting to be put back in their proper places. Those racks then overflowed into not one, but TWO shopping carts in a matter of minutes. There were two of us working and a line that just wouldn’t quit. Go-Backs were not our top priority but it frustrated me to no end having so much cluttering our workspace. And it only got worse.

All day long it was just the two of us; me and my coworker. We’ll call her Jane for identity conservation purposes. Jane told me when I got there that she’d barely left the register since 8:30. My manager, who was now standing with us, agreed and forced a smiled. It was now 12pm. Ouch. I grabbed a couple of shirts and tried to put them away before the next rush while our fellow sales associate from Men’s dept., we’ll call him Tarrence, was still sorting out an issue with a customer’s check after trying for several minutes to process the transaction. Though I’d had several clues in the first 5 minutes, I knew for sure at that moment, it was going to be one heck of a day.

By my lunch break, I was STARVING. But, I had no time to eat. Running the insurance errand, successfully might I add, to cover up my stupidity took all of my 30 minutes just as I’d anticipated and before I knew it, I was back on the floor, “hangry” and not at all in the mood to deal with any more “I can’t find my coupon. I just had it!” junk backing the line up to Timbuktu. But, in the game of Customer Service, a good and reputable employee forces a smile if she wants to remain employed with a clean record. And that’s just what I did. I had to fight with the computer to get a coupon to go through. I lost and my manager had to take care of it with her super, magnificent, managerial “powers.” I had to make three different phone calls for different credit card issues and item inquiry issues and the phone wouldn’t work for several tries. And the line kept getting longer and longer and LONGER. But I still kept a smile and replied, “I’m doing well” to every “I’m great! How are you?” I didn’t let the go-backs overwhelm me because I knew there was nothing I could do about it. I was doing all I could and I wasn’t about to add unnecessary stress into my life (on top of what I already had.) It worked and I’m quite proud of myself for taking action to remain calm because I am NEVER calm. Ask anyone who knows me. I’m a big mess and may the Lord bless them abundantly for putting up with me so graciously. I love y’all. Seriously.

So, I pushed through until 5pm when Jane’s shift was over and I was stuck ALL. BY. MYSELF. until 6pm when the night crew was scheduled to show up. That was mega stressful. One customer needed help ordering something online, another couldn’t find shoes in her size and needed me to check in the back and while bouncing back and forth between the “online order” customer in Misses and the “shoe size” customer in the shoe dept. a line of impatient customers developed at the register. No… more like SPAWNED. Right there. Just *POOF* HUGE LINE. Like someone dropping a villager spawn egg in Minecraft, these customers just appeared out of nowhere. I SWEAR. I just stood there, frozen, in the isle that connected both departments, all eyes on me like I was about to perform a knife-juggling act while hula hooping. I felt like my brain was on fire and my body no longer knew how to human. I must’ve looked like an idiot. I radioed for backup and two customers, upon hearing that I was the sole commander of the register, took their money-spending selves to the checkout in Men’s. I was slightly relieved yet offended. “What? You don’t think I can handle this myself? I can get this line moving quicker than you think!!” But really… I was mostly relieved. Less work for me. It was finally 6pm and I was finishing up with my last customer, EAGERLY waiting for my replacements to show up. This lady was PRECIOUS but she stood there for five minutes sorting through her email to retrieve her $10 OFF coupon. “It’s here. I know it. They just disappear sometimes.” *chuckles*

Yep. You’re so sweet. And I totally understand. But I really want to go home. Oh. Perfect. Three more customers have now lined up behind you, it’s 6:10, night crew still isn’t here. *Smiles*

I finally finish her transaction and hand her a coupon she received for making a purchase. This then reminds her of another coupon she wanted to use today. She moves to the back of the line and waits. NIGHT CREW SHOWS THEIR SWEET, SWEET FACES. The angelic choir couldn’t sing louder. We get through the other customers and lucky me gets the sweet, older lady from 10 minutes ago who then wanted to return all 15+ items and RE-purchase them, this time using the original coupon and the one she forgot about. Yay. 

She was super sweet and apologetic and grateful. I was thankful she was nice and patient… and NICE. But it was now 6:20. I hadn’t eaten all day. My sciatic was KILLING me. And I really, REALLY wanted to go home. I smiled, wished her a pleasant evening, saluted my manager who was now standing beside me, and I RAN like freaking Seabiscuit, ripping off my nametag to prevent getting stopped by a typical “I-just-read-your-nametag-and-noticed-your-walkie-and-I-also-see-that-you’re-in-a-hurry-but-let-me-ask-if-you-work-here-and-then-ask-another-very-obvious-question-while-you’re-trying-to-leave” type of customer. I had two things on my mind when I clocked out; Starbucks hot chocolate because I won a gift card at work the other day (yay stockroom perks!) and DINNER.

The day wasn’t so bad now that I look back on it. But holy freaking moly was it tiring! I was spread way too thin and I’m very glad I work in the stockroom tomorrow so I don’t have to handle people and numbers and clothes thrown across the room with the hangers M.I.A. I think everyone should work retail once in their life to gain experience and a better understanding of what Sales associates go through on a daily basis. But for those who don’t, you can just read my retail blunders and gain some helpful insight. Maybe even laugh a little and thank your lucky stars you never had to be apart of this.

Whatever your reason for reading this, thank you and you’re welcome.

I’m clocking out for the night.

Oh, and Tuesday? Well, it will be referred to as “Monday Jr.” from here on out…

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