Friday, June 01, 2007

Gen-X ~ Marks Its Spot

So much for my pastoral wonderings. I tried to rally today but was buffeted back by a still weakened system. Beatrice says she has something to post and I agreed on the grounds that it wasn't a wild rant. After all, that is within my purview. Somebody, please hire her. - IWG

Guest commentary by Beatrice Russo

An e-mail interchange with my friend Patrizia in Florence, Italy (yes I changed her name and asked her if it was OK) . I'm doing this as a favor to the sick old man, he looks pretty craggy. I really need to be looking for different work, I can't spend another summer in a steak house - BR

Dear Bea,

E-mailing to you because I cannot communicate here with anyone approximately this. But because you come from my generation, that what they call Gen-Y or the Millennials, I think that you will understand. And because your crazy uncle is in the Italian commerce of the wine and is here in Italy also that he works for our crazy men, perhaps can resolve this problem.

You know I live to Firenze and I work in the district of Chianti Classico. You know the wine cellar. And it is good because the laborers think there in the important things that they are like me. Things like organic and sostenibile and not using more fuel. Therefore, when I say to my boss, that he comes from that first generation, called X, approximately wishing to work from my home two days a week, he asks to me because? I say because we are connected with the Internet and to obtain within and outside from Firenze is therefore difficult and wish to use my time and energy more efficiently. He says, as I know you so little, how would I know you would not be in a café in some place or surfing the Internet?

That generation of X has been developed in not trusting of anyone? I say that, Y follows the X but I do not wish to follow this generation. Oh yes, they make a big display, what we call a bella figura, about their title and their position and their wealth when they have it. Even if they would only inherit them. And they are all Dottore, a country has filled up of pigro Dottore’s! Which thing are they called, Yes-men? Minchia, therefore I am so angry, my Sicilian grandmother is bubbling in the inner part of me.

Therefore the result is, because this Dottore does not trust me to working away from the center two days, I cannot. Now he cannot dismiss me, but he can pay to me wages so small that I must amuse myself to make one life. And the rents of the apartment to Firenze are like Saint Francisco in which my sister lives. Therefore it is much expensive living here on a 1200 Euro month.

You think I could communicate with an American company to be their representative here? Perhaps the managing of relationships with Italian wine companies? Am I totally lost? I watch the heads of this so-noted generation X and feel frightened and angry and helpless. And, they, behaving like a crosspiece between Berlusconi and the mother Teresa, touching nothing therefore cannot be culpable of anything. But taking credit for anything that people below them do well, and they do that all the time!

Is this like that in America? Is this generation already worse than the famous flower-child boomers? I think so; at least the flower-child-boomers came to Firenze during the floods in 1966, and cleaned up the city for months, asking for nothing.

Today, if you asked my manager to make something similar, he would transmit an email to the office of the agricultural department in order to go to Firenze. And then in order to put himself in a good light he would present an official press release, talking about how great his leadership is for Toscany and Italy. I am not kidding!

I’m sorry Bea, but we are friends and I want to ask you how in your country it works with these X-men.
(Sorry for my English:)

Your friend,

Dear Patrizia,

I cannot say from experience because I barely have enough work to afford to live on my own. I do not have health insurance. Because I was orphaned, I have some benefits. But until I finish college, and I'm not sure I will, I cannot get work in the wine industry of the uncle, as you call him. He is a “flower-child-boomer” (I love that, where did you come up with that?), and quite harmless, and we talk about the generation between us, from time to time. He doesn’t get them, I don’t get them, I really see no reason for their existence, so many of them are just grown-up slackers; I just don’t want to work under them.

X-Men ~ from tie-dye to tie guys

They say they don’t want controversy, they say they want everyone to speak in normal tones, conform to a standard. But 5 o’clock comes and they are gone sailing. Try to reach them before 9 o’clock in the morning or during the weekends, and forget it. I am so ready for their sun to set. And it will, sooner than they think.

On another subject, so what kind of wine have you been tasting lately? I recently bagged a few half-chewed bottles of wine over at uncle’s house, from a very delicious California winery called Four Vines. The old Italian wine guy was going off on these wines, really got his head spinning, like he was 20 again and driving up the California coastline in his funky old Fiat (no offense).

I tasted two I thought were pretty awesome, one was called Anarchy (of course), some old vine Zinfandel, Syrah and Mourvedre blend that I had with some Satay. I was in heaven. The other wine was also red, called the Heretic, a Petite Sirah that reminded me of that Maremma wine we were talking about from your friend Francesca’s winery.

Look, get a visa and we’ll invade uncle’s house and his wine cellar. His son is around and has a group of interesting friends. Uncle says the X-generation reminds him of a 5 year-old Beaujolais wine, old before it’s time. I think he’s frustrated with them too. Maybe we can talk him into liberating a small company and we all can run it. Into the ground, ha-ha! You should come here if it gets too depressing in Italy, there's room for another smart, beautiful Italian woman.


(p.s. don’t worry ‘bout your english, my italian’s not so good either :)

Dear Bea,

Oh, you crazy American girl. Thanks, I have needed to communicate it with someone without telling to so many other people around. I know it would be safe turning to you. Maybe I will come, maybe I should! Find us two ripe boys and I will be there even sooner.

I have tasted a wine that is turning around lately in the wine bars here in Firenze. One wine bar is called I Fratellini. It is one appreciated very because they carry this wine from the country that I only see in the laboratory. They call it Grand Noir and the pulp of the grape is dark ; it is violet and very colorful. It reminds me of a wine as Barbera or a Gigondas (my aunt comes from Avignon) and it is a lot interesting. I have an image but the label is much disgustosa and messy. That is my one divertimento.

Well I must get back to work; here comes "Il Duce" looking over my shoulder.

Ciao Bella,



Anonymous said...

Dear Bea and Patrizia, Your conversation was delicious. I don't blame yo for feeling the way you do about that generation. I find them exasperating as well. Even though I am your old, craggy Uncle's even older siter. (But I'm not so craggy, I beleive in amore)

Anyway....You should take over for him from time to time and educate us elders on the ways of your generation. I'm pre-boomer, sensible, responsible and rebellious as well. It's a good mix.

Caio Bella


Anonymous said...

I was born in 1975 so I suppose I am at the end of x-gen. I have rarely met one in America that isn’t a contractor. In fact all my jobs and multiple jobs often at the same time are all contract. We live in a forced corporate globalized society with wealth leaving our country every day and redistributed to the wealthy without anyway to take part in the exchange or make a profit from it.

We are constantly bad mouthed as “Unqualified Applicants” by the boomer aristocracy of society while they ask us to train our replacements. We have no voice in America because the boomers are the larger population and can only hear them selves talking and then frustrated when they step on us and we yell at them for causing us harm. But then they say it isn’t personal, “It is just business”.

I don’t get it either. In terms of the working world I want all my money up front because I don’t trust any business and expect them to rip me off down the road. I would rather invest my money instead of letting them invest it for their profit. Yeah, I don’t trust anyone but I guess that happens when you constantly are looking for work and constantly lied to by the economic leadership. We are called contractors, which is a fancy corporate word for temporary employee.

The boomers don’t understand, because most of them are very skilled and were trained by the older generation that is passing away daily now. They had hands on apprentice training and lived off the end of corporate benevolence that is now long dead. As an X generation the boomers expect me to walk into any job pre wrapped and able to handle everything up front otherwise I won’t be hired. There is no apprenticeship and no one will even share knowledge because they are afraid of losing their job to another employee. Even now many boomers still have jobs they were allowed to grow up in, were trained in and even can retire in. That does not exist anymore.

As for Y-Gen they are still moving through college and grew up a bit after the while being plugged into the internet 24/7. I was in college through the so I saw the highest chance of opportunity and then in 2001 it was totally ripped out from under my feet. So really there are two groups, the ones that survived the business world pre-2001 and those after who are underemployed because of global labor arbitrage with India, China and Mexico.

Maybe life jades people after awhile. I know I am. I can understand why Y-gen doesn’t like us though. We look like a bunch of losers and they see the world fresh and it looks great to them. They see the heights of what is possible today but don’t have the memory of what we saw during the tech boom. As for the boomers they don’t understand how people can be so disloyal. They don’t understand we grew up with the boomer generation pushing globalization in the name of one world socialism guised in the rhetoric of free trade. Now we are forced to hop jobs because what we start with is what we end with in terms of pay, and you can forget any sort of benefits.

Feel free to hate someone like me. If that makes your life better go for it. I’m at least glad that y-gen appears to see opportunity ahead and I will do my damn best to protect that generation and fight the battle for their future to get us back to where we belong. I’m sick of this economical political nonsense in the world that leads to wars and suffering. Misunderstand or hate my generation all you want. I can take it, I’ve seen the best and I am fairly certain the worst is yet to come. But I will be there to fight to protect my boomer family in their old age and the y-gen who doesn’t have a clue what they are getting into in the coming years.

And as for middle managers or bottom feeder bosses, my experience is they are the same in all generations. You will find your own way to deal with them in time.

A Glimpse of Generation X

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