All posts tagged: Generation X

Aaliyah, J-Love and Britney: My 20s Pop Culture Education

“When you grow up, your heart dies.” When I first heard mop-topped goth girl Alison Reynolds utter this dismal pronouncement in John Hughes’ 1985 now-classic The Breakfast Club, it sent shivers down my spine. Like her, I was a teenager at the time and imagining myself in college — forget about later on, as part of the work force — was enough to make me break out in zits. But the idea of spending the subsequent 75 years or so wandering the earth as a bored, numb, jaded adult? That was downright terrifying. Today, at 44 (an age my teen self couldn’t fathom; back then, I thought 30 was ancient), I can honestly say I’m almost as unjaded, wide-eyed and goofy — not to mention, passionate about my obsessions — as I was as a teen, and I have my 25-year-old self to thank for it. That’s how old I was when I hit my stride as a teen magazine editor. I knew I’d wanted to be a journalist since age 11, but “teen magazine …

Hey, Millennials: A Tunic Is Not a Dress (and Other Important Career Advice)

In the 20 years since I’ve entered the workforce (the past 10 of them at J. Walter Thompson), I have traveled the world, hung with Hollywood’s elite (and not so elite), had cocktails with the Marahana of Udaipur, sold major bling and counted stacks of moldy cash (literally, stacks) in the kitchen of an Aspen mansion on red mountain, met “The Donald” and all of his wives (yep, Ivana, Marla and Melania – at separate times for different reasons), been accompanied by one major Las Vegas CEO’s Belgian attack dogs (long story) and handled many major corporate crisis communications campaigns, brand launches, executive visibility campaigns and so on. Because of the nature of my job, some of my biggest accomplishments were keeping things OUT of the media, to protect either a brand or an executive. So when the fabulous Ann Shoket asked me to write about advice I would give to my 25-year-old self (or those starting in the work force), it was pretty simple. Today’s 25-year-olds don’t understand that Generation X “paid our dues” …

Mom, Interrupted: Let Me Finish My Sentence

“Mom, can the new kid in my class come over sometime and…” Click. “The new kid in MY class from Japan brought in this candy today that tasted like…” Click. “Somebody said there was a bug in the noodles today, and my whole class was, like, screaming…” “Tristan’s mom is having a baby…” “Sweetheart, can you please get my watch fixed before… “ Click. Click. Click. Somehow my entire existence has become a live-action website. Each day hurtles at me at warp speed. But it’s not like it was when I was growing up, when life seemed to unfold in a forward motion not unlike the 1970s TV shows I watched after school. Instead, life in my family today seems as if it’s its own social network of bang-bang status updates – an unyielding series of nested hyperlinks, one after another, mouse click after mouse click after mouse click. They carry me, like a cognitive tidal wave, away from whatever it is that I’m trying to say and think. [pullquote]Perhaps we’re afraid our overscheduled 40-something …

The Generational Pop-Culture Trivia Gap Explained

“Dig this guy cutting a rug out there like he’s Rerun or something.” I’m standing at my company holiday party, chatting with a coworker next to the dance floor. He scrunches up his face in reaction to my comment. “Huh?” Oh boy. Here we go again. “I said he’s cutting a rug — that means dancing — like the character Rerun.” “Rerun of what?” “Rerun. Rerun is a character. From the show What’s Happening!!” “Oh. Right.” He punctuates his acknowledgment with a blank nod and smile. I know this look. That’s him registering zero. I do a little Gene Gene the Dancing Machine shuffle to finish off the exchange as weirdly as possible. I’m writing this piece from what I call the Pastless Present: a place where brilliant youth are reinventing our future but seem to be utterly unaware of anything has come before. More specifically, I work in tech. In fact, I’m a woman in tech, and I’m 42, which is kind of like being a unicorn tap dancing on a rainbow. I like …