After the Recession in 2008, life as people knew it changed forever. I was in my 20s in 2008 and I knew that the fall of our Nation’s economy was just the beginning of a new way of life for many Americans.
Fast forward a few years later and I was in grad school completing my MBA and learning about the Federal Reserve propping up America’s economy. How terrifying that we are all relying on one central banking system to maintain the stability of our country.
I felt myself descend into complete concern as I continued to learn just how uncertain our futures as Generation X (1974–1984) and Millennials (1982–2000) were.
During my 20s, I had heard the whispers that Social Security wasn’t going to be there for Gen Xers and Millennials by the time we retired. Then, college, which was increasingly becoming more and more expensive, didn’t exactly guarantee a job…anywhere.
I knew while I pursued my degrees that I was operating on a hope and a prayer that my degree would be worth it in the end and I’d land my dream job making six figures per year. I thought about my high salary more than building a family or taking vacations. I was driven and very serious about my career and my future.
But, the problem is that I was, literally, putting the power to all my hopes and dreams into someone else’s hands.
Looking back now, I can’t believe how crazy and reckless that was. Giving away so much power to people I didn’t know to make or break all dreams and possibilities that I had for my life and my family’s life, as well as, my legacy.
Now, in 2017, almost everyone I know has started a business, about to start a business or thinking about starting a business.
So, what is so different about the generations that have come after our parents’ generation? Why is working for a 9to5 for thirty years of our lives just not appealing for Generation X and Millennials? Why is the idea practically unbearable for us to endure?
Gen Xers and Millennials hop from company to company, seeking higher pay, career challenges and different levels of experiences to add to our resumes.
We leave our jobs behind to launch fledgling startups without a second thought. Well, maybe, one second thought but then we forge ahead, not looking back, somehow knowing in our hearts that we are making the right decision and that our futures are now ours to make of them as we will.
So, you must wonder how we have the courage to be almost the complete opposite of our concrete parents who seemed to never leave a company until they retired (or passed away). Why are we so different?
Looking at my own story, I see African American parents who grew up during the 60s, thus, emerging from a way of life that was uncertain and terrifying. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and many others were in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement that paved the way for my parents to later be hired for the “good” white-collar jobs that African Americans couldn’t have hoped to get before the Civil Rights Movement occurred.
I can see why my parents would feel grateful to their ancestors for providing a way for them to have steady employment which meant a steady income to raise their families and begin to build wealth…again…while enjoying the fruits of my grandparents’ labor.
I grew up in my parents’ adult World. Seeing the World with veiled eyes where possibilities were endless and my generation was being taught that we could be anything we wanted to be.
And we believe this. Hence, the Dreamer-mode takeover that causes us to sit in our cubicles and daydream of an existence in which we are striving to live to the fullest of our talents and potential.The Information Age; then, the Technology Age did not help to squelch our dreams. If anything, modern advancements allowed us to make our dreams become more realized and we put those dream into plans then plans into actions…that our parents don’t understand.
Yet, it amazes me that my parents don’t get my Entrepreneurial spirit when they themselves raised a strong Woman and a dreamer. They themselves told me that I “could do anything I put my mind to.” And “don’t let anyone stand in the way of your dreams.”
Were these just cliche statements? Did my parents never believe in my limitless abilities?
Well, I set out to prove them right, then wrong. Yes, I can be anything I choose to be. A doctor. An attorney. A scientist. A technological entrepreneur. No, I will not play it safe when it is time to act then deliver results that my parents could never dream of.
See, Mom and Dad, the Gen Xers and Millennials aren’t rebellious and lost. We love you and we do want to make you proud, but, you must trust that you did an excellent job in raising the future. We are the next generation up to start the Black Revolution, hold the highest number in college degrees and continue to break records.
Dear, Mom and Dad, let us be great.
And if you won’t support us, we’ll follow our dreams anyway because we know we are doing the right thing. One day, you will understand the methods to our madness or at least see the success of our results. And, hopefully, you’ll forgive us and be proud.
Are you a millenial who feels like you don’t fit in Corporate America? Or do you like a structured 9to5 work routine? I’m curious to know and excited to hear from you! Sound off below!
Samantha Dawson-Williams is a Web Designer, Graphics Designer, Freelance Writer, CEO of LocStar Revolution, NoVA 24/7 Notary Services and Web Designers and Scribes. In her free time, you can find Samantha reading biographies, watching documentaries on Netflix or spending quality time with her family. Samantha lives in Fairfax, VA with her fiancé and 3 sons.
Also published on Medium.