Archive for June, 2013

Disclaimer: This is meant to be a critique of my generation (and my generation’s parents/teachers/mentors) as a whole. I fully believe my parents did a wonderful job of raising me and this in no way reflects their parenting style. That is all.

I was born smack dab in the middle of generation Y, which means I grew up amidst a massive shift in parenting techniques – most significantly, my generation was told we could “be anything we want,” and that we should “follow your dreams,” unlike previous generations who had to go a more traditional route or rebel.

At first glance, there is nothing wrong with our parents’ professions that we can take on the world and that all our loftiest dreams are reachable. It was great motivation, and many of us have grown up with confidence and high aspirations. There is a darker side, however. Because there was so much emphasis on boosting our self-esteem and making us feel like we’re special individuals, it’s resulted in a generation of kids who grew up and are currently being hit in the face with reality. Your parents think you’re special? Sorry, that won’t get you into OR pay for college. You want a job? Here’s an internship. It’ll help you get a job. Maybe. You want to be a musician? Okay, play these bars until you can rustle up a fan base, then you can play these tiny venues for a while, then MAYBE you can get a big enough draw for a mid-size venue. Tour? Good luck with that.

This has lead to a common, rather nasty reaction, which has gotten us the unfortunate nickname, The “Me” Generation. Said reaction comes in the form of the dreaded entitlement, and it has tainted my generation with a stereotype of being selfish, lazy, and too good for minimum wage jobs.

We grew up during the “self-esteem” movement, which means we were told that we’re all beautiful, all special, all have value, and often we weren’t given the ability to link self-esteem with accomplishments or anything of meaning other than just…being alive. Due to this shoddy foundation, there is an excess of young adults who are going into college and the real world believing that they deserve to simply be given what they want. We’re called The Me Generation for a reason.

One of the biggest issues where this crops up is that of the internship. Supposedly the gateway to a career, many college graduates have been let down when their one internship didn’t lead to a high-level position right after they walked across the stage and received their degree. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. With the majority of college students taking on one or more internships, the expected level of knowledge and experience has risen. If you want to get a high-level position, you still have to work your way up – there’s no getting around it. The only other way to start off working your dream job is to try your hand at self-employment, which may sound like a shortcut, but it can be far more stressful than working up through the ranks. Unfortunately, Generation Y often doesn’t think that way, which leads to a lot of unemployed, self-righteous grads living at home.

It may seem like I’m being harsh, but I’m not here to condemn my generation – or our parents. What I am here to say is that we all need to step back and take a look at the way we’ve been raised, knock our egos down a peg, and make sure we raise the next generation to be a balance of self-assured and hardworking.

Also, we should all boycott unpaid internships. But that’ll never happen.

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It’s difficult to be productive when I visit the place I lived for my first 18 years. A month went by and I didn’t really notice, because “home” feels like some entity separate from my life. But I recently relocated and my brain finally realized it wasn’t being used for its intended purpose (i.e. something other than an 8 hour shift at a sandwich shop and an overdose of movies and hummus.) Welcome back to reality, self!

I also realized I haven’t updated about my life happenings in a while. So here’s a list of life-changing moments I’ve had in the past 3 months, in no particular order:

1. Graduation!

Yep, I completed my last semester at Berklee, celebrated copiously with my family, woke up way too early for the ceremony, and shook the hands of Carole King, Willie Nelson, and Annie Lenox as I walked across the stage at the Agganis Arena. Having stayed up way too late enjoying Boston with my family, I very nearly fainted waiting the four hours before we could sit down, but luckily I made it 😉

2. Production Company

I briefly mentioned a startup company I was working on at the beginning of my last semester. It started out as one thing, and turned into a concert production company. While it didn’t last (mainly because neither I nor my partner will be in the same place come fall,) I learned quite a bit and was able to help out a few local bands on the way. It helped me realize that I would very likely be happy working on the putting together concerts, tours, or even festivals. Which leads me to…

3. Colorado!!!

I got an internship (housing provided!!) in Colorado this summer as a “Special Projects and Marketing Intern” at the Breckenridge Music Festival. This is definitely a completely different universe from NYC or even Boston, but I have always been drawn to the prospect of Colorado and this will be a kind of “trial-run” for that beautiful, mountainous state. Similar to last summer, I will post updates about my time here! First up will be about my cross country trip and first week on the job.

4. Job Hunting

This really began in earnest a couple months ago. Although I wasn’t looking for an internship, as they don’t pay in this industry, I’d rather be doing something I love and working on the side than working full time in a position that flattens my life. Currently I’m looking for a position to take once my internship is complete, and I am open to any place with people who are passionate and want to make great music.

In the meantime, I am starting my career as a freelancer! (and baby/pet/house sitter when needed. Hey, it pays.) If you know anyone looking for copywriting, web content, or social media management, send em my way!

Shoot me an email at musikleigh@gmail.com for more information.