Mar 19, 2019 | By Joanne Thomas
Aug 24, 2017
It’s fair to say that the Millennial generation is never not in the headlines. Stories abound about their attention span, how they transformed retail with their buying habits and how they are addicted to their phones etc.
But what is it actually like to be a Millennial, behind the overhyped headlines, the stats, and white paper reports? A new summer read by Lauren Berry (who is also the founding editor of KnockBack Magazine, a satirical feminist zine) comes to closest to the reality. Aptly named Living the Dream, Lauren’s book tells the story of two girls Emma, who works at a marketing firm where they use words like ‘innovation’ and not in a sarcastic way. It’s not her dream job, it was only supposed to be a temp role and she describes it as “good for the bank balance, bad for the soul”. Her real passion lies in her brilliant blog that she writes religiously on the side (the original side hustle), it acts as a sense of escapsim but also a place to talk frankly (and with a huge dose of humor) about her life. Then there’s her mate Clem, who moved to NYC with big dreams and #goals of becoming a screenwriter, and is now back in London with debt; it seems her promising career stalled somewhere on the journey back over, and she’s now living at home with her parents.
While the story has a happy ending (we won’t spoil it for you), it also accurately reflects a generation that spent a lot (some might say too much) on their education, and have social media telling them that no dream is too big. The careers that they studied for don’t exist now in their traditional form (the evolution of digital took care of that) and so now they are hired as young creatives who their bosses think are ‘edgy’ , but they struggle to ask for pay rises, and navigate this world that promised them everything but almost gave them too much choice, while reminding them constantly of this incessant need to ‘have it all’.
This book is a must-read for anyone trying to navigate these times, and it feeds into what we are starting to see emerge, which is a backlash against the idea of perfect, from food instagrams, to careers paths. Millennials are being more honest about some of the challenges they face. This great article in Debrief called Why We Need to Rethink our Ideas About ‘Success’ and ‘Failure’ is great supplement to Lauren’s book, explaining that while we are constantly being fed images of what is considered successful there’s a beauty in things not going to plan.
Because behind all of the headlines about Millennials, are the people themselves, trying to navigate their way in this ever-evolving world.
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