Generational Expectations for Work
With the Covid-19 global pandemic, it’s given us all a chance for a bit of introspection. There was a YouTube video a while back that caught my attention. No, it wasn’t flashy or anime or a fan creation. It was a video of a young animator saying why she left her job at Disney (link). For independent creators, that’s a sobering commentary on the industry we want to be part of. As I watched the video (or rather after I reposted it), I was startled by the comments it received. Many comments shamed the author or looked at her poorly for both her decision and her speaking out. As I scrolled through the comments it made me think of the difference in generational expectation for work, hence this article.
Now without painting anyone with a wide brush, I will only say what my comment section showed me. The generations above me mostly thought the young lady should “suck it up,” or that was “just the way things were.” While the generation I reside in and below felt empathy for the young woman and expressed their dissatisfaction with current job situations. I can see both sides of it.
After viewing the video, I’d be a fool to think that the young lady wasn’t a bit naive. But I also have to ask, is that her fault? I remember going on the Disney Tours, both virtual and at the park. I remember watching the BTS footage for Lion King. It looked like this commune of artists and actors that got to see and draw lions and march around making their visions come to life. Most of the creatives I know dreamed of something like this. Many of us still do. So, it’s understandable that she would feel like she did. Most of us have held other jobs. She was fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to work for Disney as her first out of school job. With that comes a certain disenfranchisement that I believe we should have empathy for. It wasn’t the artists’ paradise she had envisioned. It wasn’t the dream sold to her.
Instead, it was a corporation, driven by profits. While it’s sad that was the case, it’s not uncommon nor unexpected. There are other company cultures that are different, but in reality, who passes up the chance to work for Disney?
On the other end of the spectrum, there’s the thought process of “she should be lucky she has a job in the field of her passion.” That’s not entirely wrong, but it is wrong to ridicule or criticize someone for seeing the flaws in what was around her. The generational difference in accepting what is and fighting for what might be is sometimes staggering. Many basically told her to wake up and face reality. That’s what industry is and if she can’t get with it, then get out. Remember this is coming mainly from independent creators. I agree that it’s what the industry is, but does it have to be? I understand that generations previously worked in horrible conditions and had to put up with more than we currently do. But is that any reason to stop pushing the worker’s rights forward? Is that any reason to become complacent with something that is your heart and soul?
The generations above me usually say that people have become soft and that they expect people to do things for them. My question would be, where did they learn that? I think it’s the responsibility of each generation to teach and improve society for the generation that comes behind it. Just because you endured hardships to get
where you are, doesn’t mean that people should continue to endure them. If there is an easier path, a better path, we should open that up for all those to come. Every rights movement has been about just that.
Should we simply expect doors to be opened for us? No. Should we expect everything will be as we dreamt of it? No (otherwise there would be flying cars and transformers). But to think that something we pour our heart and soul into might just be an environment where we want to be, might be great. Places like Google and Pixar and Dreamworks and even Blizzard (once upon a time) had cultures that were based in artistic pursuits and they have benefited from that. There’s nothing wrong with wanting different. Just like there’s nothing wrong with expecting people to earn what they are given. But she earned her degree, she earned her job. She was dissatisfied with the culture that surrounded it. There’s nothing wrong with that.
We’ve got to get out of the mentality of because I had to go through it, you do too. There’s so much more for us to discover and learn when we realize that you can learn from my experiences just as I can learn from yours. Shawn Carter said it best, “Hov did that, so hopefully you won’t have to go through that.”
For the artist’s video, check the link:
Brian Joseph Lambert is the lead contributing writer and editor at Wingless Entertainment LTD. He specializes in bringing diversity to action/adventure, fantasy and sci-fi worlds. In 2017, while earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Full Sail University, he published his first novel, ASCENSION- THE CHRUSION SAGA BOOK 1. In 2019 he earned a Master’s degree in Entertainment Business and released JUSTICE- ISSUE #0 for Wingless Entertainment LTD and Konkret Comics. Brian's current projects include WAR FOR THE SWORD- THE CHRUSION SAGA BOOK 2, a CG animated feature film entitled, RUBICON and JUSTICE- THE FALL, an ongoing graphic novel with KONKRET COMICS. Brian recently was selected as a Reader's Favorite Book Award Finalist in 2019 for, ASCENSION- THE CHRUSION SAGA BOOK 1. Brian has edited numerous independent works including, Is’Nana the Were-Spider by Greg Anderson Elysée, Akolyte by Derek Allen, Nia Caler by Dorphise Jean and the upcoming Beyond 13th by Michael Ralph. When not writing or editing, Brian works on creating a functioning lightsaber so that he can pass the Jedi trials.