I was raised on a healthy diet of idealism, open-mindedness, and acceptance.
I pretty much grew up in the 1960s, a volatile time filled with rage and protests and hippies and folk music and lots of peace, love, and rock and roll.
I came of age in the 1970s, a time of sexual exploration, hedonism, social advances, and a healthy distaste for oppression, authority, and conformity.
Career moves weren’t celebrated and networking wasn’t enshrined. The emphasis was on being true to yourself and exploring your value as a loving, caring human being intent on doing the right thing rather than pushing yourself up the ladder at any cost.
In fact, most of the books and movies I loved at the time were shaggy homages to the underdog, the antihero, the person who dares to spit back at the corrupt power figures.
In the movies I saw, it was the inmate who was really sane and those that imprisoned him were the loonies.
The bosses were corrupt and greedy and the little guy in the cubicle was full of dreams, aspirations, and integrity.
Going against the grain was treasured, as long as you stuck to your beliefs and nailed it to the Man.
And then I hit my early career stride in the ’80s and found that it was all bull.
I came across cutthroat competitors who backstabbed me, stole my ideas, and resented my success.
I found simpering closet cases who would never even consider coming out–“bad career move,” after all.
It was a world of conformists and even the non conformists stuck to the party line when it came to anything involving self-advancement.
Where was the high-reaching spirit of my favorite old books, movies, and music?
None of it made sense when I considered what I’d been fed in my younger days, and it was hard to adjust to a world where everyone made excuses for horrible behavior because it was good for their career, after all.
So, the next time an era of love and peace comes along, I’d suggest parents tell their kids, “Don’t take any of this too seriously, honey, because it won’t last. And by the way, all these movies against authority? Hollywood is only making them to cash in on the mood.”