These ads perfectly capture the contradictions of life as a millennial office worker

Casually contemplating mortality while working on Excel.
Casually contemplating mortality while working on Excel.
Image: YouTube/MullenLowe/Samantha Jayne
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Much has been said lately about millennials in the workplace. We’re entitled. We overshare. And, according to a recent New York Times article, we’re frank on the verge of being insubordinate.

All that may be true. But people forget that most millennials, like generations before them, are faking it until they make it. We just have the added stress of needing to be Instagram-perfect while we do it.

A new series of ads created by twenty-six-year-old Samantha Jayne, a freelance art director at advertising agency MullenLowe in Los Angeles, captures the dichotomy between the existential thoughts 20-somethings have while navigating their way through the workforce and the glowing, happy versions of themselves they project on social media.

In one spot, Jayne, who stars in the ads, ponders whether she’ll die working on spreadsheets in her entry-level office job, until, alas, glorious pizza arrives.

Then, there are the daily phone calls to mom and dad that make it painfully clear we’re not the adults we pretend to be.

… innocent fibs that get us out of ever having to leave the couch.

…and the fact that free food trumps everything.

Jayne became the talk of the town last year when her Instagram page chronicling her “quarter-life #struggle” through witty, four-line poems accompanied by laudable illustrations became a viral hit. She’s since gotten a book deal. The ads, created with MullenLowe, promote Quarter Life Poetry: Poems for the Young, Broke & Hangry’s April 5 release.

“All of these spots, I’m pretty sad to admit, are 100% autobiographical, except for the humor, because none of this was funny when it was actually happening,” Jayne recently told Adweek. “I really hope people take away that they’re not alone. I know these struggles are completely privileged struggles, and pretty much what you go through when you’re becoming an adult, and you make mistakes all the time.”