What do Echo Boomers think when they look ahead towards the future? If I were 25 right now, I'd be kind of overwhelmed at the wicked negative vibes about job prospects. Lots of new grads are landing $8.00 per hour jobs while carrying $40,000 to $50,000 in student loans. They don't particularly want to slave away as their Boomer parents did because they are noticing that what their parents worked for has been shaved in two. We were the generation of working moms who thought they could have it all; marriage, kids and a fabulous career.
A lot of our kids didn't like having a working mom. I put off having children at first because I loved being a Yuppy - young upwardly mobile professional - and I did expect more! I wanted a house and a neat car. I wanted to travel and buy lots of clothes. I wanted to have fun and I wanted to keep on making more money. By the time I thought about babies, it just didn't happen for me. The most memorable quote from Barbara Walters goes something like this: You can have a great marriage and a great kid! A great kid and a great career. A great career and a great marriage, but you cannot have it all! Sobering, but true.
The kids today want mostly to be wired into every possible electronic media device and thereby be connected to their world. They are o.k. with living in a really tiny place, provided that it has some pizazz! Include communal laundry, game rooms, social activities and exercise facilities and they are in. They are about style and brands. While we were about getting rid of our bas, buying funky clothes at the Goodwill and smoking a little dope, these kids are quite frank about their sexuality and shockingly pragmatic about how they solve certain intimate challenges in a way that reflects the impossible situation we over indulgent parents created for them. These are the kids that have been nurtured into being unrealistic and spoiled, narcissistic and selfish.
Into this reality two huge American companies have introduced a though process that I believe will spread like a virus. Several years ago a representative from Target spoke at the national ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) conference here in San diego ad unveiled their brilliant plans for creating a cutting edge brand. These people are brilliant their their mission statement - Expect More. Pay Less. - is exactly what a Gen-Y or Echo Boomers want. The genius of Target has been to align themselves with well known designers of clothes, house ware products, shoes and furnishings and create favorably priced, but really cool products.
Quality is not as critical to the young as style and being chic. WalMart in certain parts of the country began with a reputation for being the cheapest place to shop. Elitists on both coasts wouldn't be caught dead inside a WalMart store and frankly I've been in only a handful of WalMart's in my entire life. However, they will have the last laugh with their slogan Live Better. Pay Less! They are nipping at Target's style heels and introducing a bold new program to assign a Green rating to each product that they carry. This ain't your grandma's WalMart!
When the young think of their future, do they ambitiously want it all, just like their parents? I would think so, but from my mid-life vantage point I now realize that few people attain everything they wish for from life. When we tell ourselves that we should expect more, how realistic is that? While it is obviously true that we can engineer products to be affordable and attractive, life on the other hand is not as easily controlled.