WBEZ | millennials http://www.wbez.org/tags/millennials Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Millennials, risk and the economy http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/millennials-risk-and-economy-108886 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/niala.PNG" alt="" /><p><p><em>Above is a Google hangout between fellow WBEZ blogger Britt Julious and Afternoon Shift host Niala Boodhoo, discussing how millenials are taking risks in today&#39;s economy.</em></p><p>Oh, those millenials. Generation Y, made up of people born between the late &#39;70s and early &#39;90s, is often called the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/opinion/sunday/the-entrepreneurial-generation.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=1&amp;" target="_blank">&quot;entrepreneur generation,&quot;</a>&nbsp;due in large part to the plucky startup models, risk-taking mentalities and personal branding strategies that have come to define success at work in the new millennium. Rapidly transitioning from one career to another also has emerged as a frequent practice for Gen Y, and <a href="http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/born-digital-millennials-change-workforce-much-more-115241544.html" target="_blank">&quot;sidepreneurism,&quot;</a> the increasingly popular trend of employees creating and running their own businesses while still engaged in a full-time job, is perhaps even more common.&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image ">However, millennials of the Internet Age also have been dismissed by think piece writers, political pundits, and baby boomers ad nauseam. They have been labeled lazy, bratty, pretentious, entitled and self-absorbed. Framed in a stereotype, the millennial&#39;s fingers are perpetually glued to an electronic device, watching life go by through the glow of a smartphone screen.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>I am 24, and clearly a millennial, but not a single one of the condescending &quot;kids these days&quot; stereotypes applies to me. I was raised to work hard, take responsibility for my actions, embrace change, and never burn bridges. I spend more time reading books then scrolling through filters on Instagram. I also have learned that failure&mdash;big, crushing, spectacular failure&mdash; is often a necessary pathway to success.&nbsp;</p><p>So, which scenario carries more risk for millenials in today&#39;s economy: starting a business from scratch or climbing the corporate ladder? Personally, I would relish the opportunity to work my way up at an organization that fulfills my needs as a young professional&mdash; especially since post-grad <a href="http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2011/01/02/Permalancing-The-New-Disposable-Workforce" target="_blank">permalancing</a>, while popular among the twenty-something set,&nbsp;is not the most financially stable of pursuits. Health benefits are frustratingly difficult to come by, and nearly impossible to obtain as a freelancer. Any semblance of job security? Even less so.</p><p>Still, I find myself drawn to the romance and excitement of innovation. I am propelled by Chicago&#39;s recent crowning by Forbes as the new <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/johnhall/2013/08/30/why-chicago-is-a-new-hot-spot-for-entrepreneurs/" target="_blank">&quot;hot spot for entrepreneurs</a>,&quot; and inspired by the dream teams who came before us. I think of&nbsp;Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak building the first Apple computers in Jobs&#39; Los Altos garage, ushering in a new wave of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.businessweek.com/innovate/content/jun2010/id20100610_525759.htm" target="_blank">startup culture</a>&nbsp;and a new generation of people&nbsp;working to&nbsp;elicit powerful, meaningful, and life-altering change from their own backyards, and on their own terms.</p><p>Perhaps millennials need to learn how to fall down in order to get back up again: to create, innovate, and <em>try </em>with boundless enthusiasm. After all, isn&#39;t putting ourselves out there&mdash;at least being able to say that we tried, that we didn&#39;t settle&mdash;better than remaining frozen in stifling, unfulfilling work environments for the rest of our lives, wondering, &quot;What if?&quot;</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. You can find her on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 10 Oct 2013 13:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-10/millennials-risk-and-economy-108886 'Frances Ha' gets young women and millennials right http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/frances-ha-gets-young-women-and-millennials-right-107411 <p><p><a href="https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=6&amp;ved=0CGMQFjAF&amp;url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.franceshamovie.com%2F&amp;ei=6BWmUdilIIrK9gSeq4DoCg&amp;usg=AFQjCNE9dGzWz47gWHrazMzBTDHcf3EbPw&amp;sig2=Vv3gALUP77OzEm-zDFMMwg&amp;bvm=bv.47008514,d.eWU" target="_blank"><em>Frances Ha</em></a> is a truly great film. It appears light and lovely and even (lovingly) frivolous and it is all of those things. But it is also very, very good. If one gives it the chance it deserves, it might even surprise and delight.</p><p>Yes, the movie was filmed in black and white, giving Manhattan and Brooklyn and Paris and even a small house in Sacramento a certain beauty that romanticizes the story line.</p><p>Yes, the dialogue can be fast and unnatural.</p><p>And yes, the end which wraps up almost too nicely can feel frustrating knowing the journey beforehand. But these things should not deter from the film as a whole. If films are meant to offer slices of life, then <em>Frances Ha</em> offers just that. Life is not a perfect narrative, but one that changes course along the way turning from comedy to drama and back again.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/still2.jpg" style="height: 188px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="(Courtesy of IFC Films)" />Frances stumbles onto the screen. And once she is there, it is hard to imagine her not there. She stumbles in both her conversations (never graceful, always uncomfortable) and in her physicality. Greta Gerwig is a tall actress, not entirely a rarity in Hollywood. But she has a physical presence on screen in <em>Frances Ha</em> (a film she co-wrote with director Noah Baumbach) that is captivating and demanding. It was evident in early mumblecore films such as <em>Hannah Takes the Stairs</em> and director Baumbach&rsquo;s <em>Greenberg</em>. It is especially evident here. Yes, she is the star of the film. But even if she wasn&rsquo;t, even if she was a minor character like the few minor yet perfect characters that pop up in <em>Frances Ha</em> throughout her 18-month journey (such as the always enigmatic Adam Driver as roommate #2 Lev), she would still demand attention. That Frances is an aspiring modern dancer only further highlights the ways in which life literally changes the machinations of our body.</p><p><em>Frances Ha</em> is a movie about many things. On the surface, it appears to be about millennials. Frances faces big and little disappointments that slowly try to break her spirit. Her best friend moves out of their apartment and into Manhattan. The rent on her Chinatown shared apartment goes up past what she can afford. She is not asked to be a part of her company&rsquo;s winter performances. These situations are physically affecting on Frances, if only temporarily. One sees it in her hunched shoulders or her face, a brief tell. But through it all she maintains a sort of millennial optimism that emphasizes finding joy in what life has given you, even if it is not perfect.</p><p>Frances is a character both easy and not easy to love. This is common for most Baumbach characters, but her possible lack of appeal stems more from her optimism and enthusiasm than from his typical pessimism and cruelty. In many ways, she might seem unreal. There is a perception that millennials want everything and want it immediately. But <em>Frances Ha</em> shows the reality, one that merely asks that happiness <em>be</em> possible.&nbsp;More than anything, the movie is a story about the loss of friendships. It seems impossible that the friends we hold so dear can one day slip away from us. But perhaps a part of us has always known that this might (or would certainly) happen and it is too difficult to understand.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/still3.jpg" style="height: 388px; width: 620px;" title="(Courtesy of IFC Films)" /></p><p>This is a story told through Frances&rsquo; perspective. We assume that Frances&rsquo; roommate does not like her boyfriend because Frances does not like him. But she stays with him. This continues to shock Frances. But what does Frances truly know about the world around her? What does she know about the people around her? When best friend Sophie moves to Tribeca, Frances takes it almost like an act of betrayal. Maybe it is. It is not impossible to imagine being in a similar situation. But Sophie supposedly expressed her desire to live in Tribeca before. That this dream would involve Frances factored little into her motivation. In friendship, we hope to find someone agreeable. In reality, we find this and something more: an actual individual person with hopes and dreams and desires. Even having diverging interests can fracture a friendship. The things we do, the people we hold dear, can change the course of our lives forever.</p><p>The film greatly supports the power and strength of female friendships too. They are unique and precious and to have a truly great best friend as a woman with another woman is to know love that transcends the complications of life. To lose that, then, is to lose comfort and security. It is the loss of someone we think we know as well as ourselves. It is the loss of self.</p><p>Dreams change. Friendships slip away. This is difficult to process. It seems unfair. Recognizing what you saw for yourself and what life actually gave you can be heartbreaking. This is what <em>Frances Ha</em> reminds its audience. I went to see the film on a Monday afternoon. The audience was largely comprised of middle-age couples, probably the ideal Baumbach audience. There were very few people my age and that is a shame because this is a film for them &ndash; for &quot;us&quot; &ndash; in a way that many films are not.</p><p>I can understand now why a show like <em>Girls</em> is popular even when many people (including me) do not like it. It is rare to see that life, the one of a young woman, reflected back on the screen. Not all fiction needs to be a study in our own desires for self-reflection. But its lack of presence in popular culture points to how refreshing it is to see on screen. Living through it now, it is difficult to say whether or not the millennial situation is worse than previous generations. But it is certainly unique and complicated in a way that very few have captured honestly. In <em>Frances Ha</em>, we are given a movie that understands. It does not condescend. It loves and loves fiercely.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Frances Ha is in theaters now.&nbsp;Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 29 May 2013 10:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-05/frances-ha-gets-young-women-and-millennials-right-107411 Why it is okay for young creatives to leave the city http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-04/why-it-okay-young-creatives-leave-city-106744 <p><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/112723069_0a19f3ee08_b.jpg" style="height: 488px; width: 620px;" title="(Flickr/Adam Conolly)" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>These migrations all occur at once. Or at least that is how they appear initially. Whether is was for school or work or opportunity, they left in droves and it always hurt. Growing older is acknowledging and accepting the complications of life. We begin adulthood with hopes and aspirations. Aging is both the working toward and the acceptance of success and defeat. This is okay. It must be okay.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The great artistic pilgrimage feels painful because our identities are tied into where we live. Leaving here is like leaving your friend. We feel abandoned and left behind, as if we are missing out on something important. To leave is to reject what we&#39;ve always known. And when you live in one place long enough, you begin to adapt it as your own. I once heard that to call a city one&#39;s own, one must live there for at least seven years. I have lived here my whole life. Losing a friend to a move is a deeper rejection. It feels personal.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>But really, the decisions others make are on the part of those who leave. They leave because they want to or they have to. Their identity is not tied to this place. What they set out to do in life can not be accomplished here, not entirely. They need something different and it is a personal decision. It is tied to their path and not the smaller things that we think it is all about. I have friends who moved out of the city for graduate school, for job opportunities in the fashion world, and to be surrounded by communities that support the sort of art that they are trying to make, but can not make here.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In <a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/post/41304262299/runner-up-by-britt-julious-you-either-risk-it" target="_blank">an essay for WBEZ&#39;s tumblr</a> earlier this year, I wrote:</div><blockquote><div>Chicago makes you do the work. I&rsquo;m not talking just about the concept of &ldquo;hard work,&rdquo; &nbsp;although that certainly applies. And I&rsquo;m not saying that Chicago is not great, or that it does not exceed stereotypes. But it makes you do the work. It makes you find the the things you want. And it makes you build these things, if you want them to happen, little by little. Chicago to me has always been a working class city and it is because of this idea that so much of what happens here feels like the result of a million hands digging deep into the work, getting dirty, and leaving worn out yet satisfied.&nbsp;</div></blockquote><div>I still hold this to be true. But the reality is that not everyone can or will think that way.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;He made a name for himself here, but he left as soon as he could,&quot; a friend once said to me about the young and brilliant artist Angel Otero. What is so wrong with that? Just because one can make something of themselves here does not mean that they must always be here. The art we create and the lives we live should not be informed by loyalty to a sense of place. That can not always be the case for everyone. We are not all the same.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Because these moves often happen in our twenties, it begins to feel like everyone is making the same decisions for the same reason. But really, it is only because this time is one of change and transition. We are being confronted with a multitude of big questions and decisions. The answers to these questions that build and build within us must come to pass or else we will be left with the lingering of what if. One or two what ifs are fine, but too many signify a restless and unsatisfied mind. That must be avoided.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I am facing that as well right now, seeing it for the first time. It at times feels like an act of betrayal on the part of others. But it is because of this that I realize my identity is tied into this city, these massive buildings and decay and regeneration and surprising beauty.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>This is also a time of identity creation. It is a time of identity manipulation and chance. To identify with only one place can be an individual struggle. What if this identity I have gained is not good enough? What if it is not accurate? What if there is more to be understood? In the end, this is what change means. We can not truly predict the outcome, but we can dive in head first and wade through on our way to a new understanding of ourselves.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em><strong>Britt Julious</strong> blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for <a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a> or on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></div></p> Fri, 19 Apr 2013 12:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-04/why-it-okay-young-creatives-leave-city-106744