On burning out, selling out, and generation gaps

Good morning, Wednesday. Gettin' over that hump.

So the other day on the Facebook I posted about a commercial from Fidelity Investments, talking about retirement with the backing track of "If You Leave" by OMD, made infamous by the movie "Pretty in Pink". Gulp. So many feelings. 

If this is a commercial clearly marketed at Gen X,  it gave me pause. How many of us are thinking about retirement? I guess it's not that far fetched but still- it feels so strange. Whoever thought that the Duck man would become an old man? 

But besides that, I loved that a pal of mine from high school commented about whether or not the band "sold out" by selling the rights to their music for this admittedly cheesy commercial. Spoken like a true Xer. And I think that's the biggest difference between us and them. And by them I mean the millennials. Because for millennials, selling out is so not a thing. With mounting student loans and living at home longer and the cult of Instafame, all cards that lead to wealth and fame are cards that should always be played. I can't help but wonder if all that fame seeking makes millennials as difficult to work with as many people say they are. Is it because the traditional workplace is simply too confining for people who dream of being front and center and are merely background players? They're also notoriously prone to early burnout. Sellouts and burnouts. Not a great look. Maybe Neil Young had it right all those years ago. Is it better to burn out than to fade away? Kurt Cobain put that famous line in his suicide note, and I remember him being criticized by fans for going too mainstream.That used to be a thing. It isn't now.

As for my generation? We never showed our hand when it came to "selling out". It was beyond frowned upon, even though we were the MTV generation and brands were clamoring to be our pals. They just weren't giving us products to feature on social media. Or write about on our blogs. Because we didn't have those things. And we were familiar with 15 minutes of fame but we didn't care.What a difference a generation makes.

And now that Generation Z is hot on the heels of millennials as the new golden child of demography, it will be interesting to see how they handle the notion of selling out, because after all, they are our kids. And they're already being touted as more cynical than millennials. That's prototypical X behavior right there.

That said, many Xers would now probably love the opportunity to shill for brands and pocket some cold, hard cash. We're not idiots. It's just that not many of us are being asked to the party. Besides being an audience to commercials that features the music we grew up with. So are you willing to sell out? And what does that even mean in such a blurry world where brands are expected to lead conversations and be in service of consumers? Interesting times these.

Cause that's what's up this X marks the spot kind of Wednesday in the 718. Yours, in selling out vs. burning out. XO