I’m a millennial.
And along with the rest of the world – when I’m not monopolising avocado yields or just whingeing somewhere – I hate the term. More than that, though, I hate what comes along with it.
The always having to be ‘on’, always worrying about what’s next, always judging yourself against others because you’ve been conditioned that way. Yada yada. A recent BBC article on ‘millennial burnout’ explains that ‘it’s all about being hyper-healthy, hyper-clued-up, hyper-fashionable – and it’s exhausting.’
It sure as hell is exhausting and more than that it’s boring.
But an intriguing thought struck me recently:
Could all this ‘millennial anxiety’ be positively fuelling our creative careers?
The always ‘on’ mentality?
It means thinking about and documenting words and ideas whenever inspiration strikes. Working on the go and never being limited by the surrounding set-up. Texting on the night bus? How about tactics on the night bus?
The dependence on technology?
It means writing for any platform or format. Twitter? Yep. Web? Yep. App? Yep. When the machines enslave us all, maybe I’ll curry favour through delightful binary.
We’re all obsessed with ourselves, so naturally that extends to our jobs. Being a millennial means I know my work is the only significant work going in the land. Everything I do is of crucial import and no one else could possibly get me.
The self-doubt or ‘imposter syndrome’?
It helps us to stay modest and powers us to work harder in the creative industries. I’m constantly expecting my boss to stand up and bellow ‘get out, fiend’ in his best Ian McKellen voice.
It adds pressure that forces us to hit deadlines and fuels us to produce the best work we possibly can. It also leads to crippling mental and physical health issues but let’s just sweep that under the rug.
The comparison with others?
It keeps us competitive, researching what others are doing and always topping up the inspiration. It also means we’re constantly coveting other people’s wondrously emerald grass.
So what do we reckon then? Could being an anxious millennial make us better creatives?
Maybe I’m asking the wrong question. Maybe the real question is: how do you be a millennial and a creative…while being content?
[Adapted from an original guest post for Bank of Creativity]