Friday, March 25, 2016

A Milliennial's Viewpoint

                Millennial Ann Friedman wrote an op-ed this morning in the LA Times, her topic?

                                     "How to handle baby boomers at work"

                      I read it 4 times and it took me all 4 reads to realize she was serious.

"NEVER say, 'This is so easy.' Recognize that baby boomers have a lot of fear and anger about technology, and tread gently."

Ann, Ann, Ann, Ms. Friedman, my first brush with technology was college registration in 1963. My class choices were put on a punch card (best tech we had at the time) the class assignments were organized by a mainframe computer, printed and we picked them up in the admin building. It would have been nice to have them emailed,  But Va Shiva, the baby boomer who invented email was a toddler at the time. Ray Thomlinson the pioneer programmer, who first used the @ sign for electronic communication was a member of the generation born before the baby boomers.

When I started working after college, believe it or not Ann we had an IBM computer in our accounting department and we soon added another. I don't think anyone was afraid of the technology, at least not that I can recall. Even the ancient woman who was the head "book keeper" liked the speed and convenience the huge and clunky IBM box provided.

"it's important to never assume that your baby-boomer colleagues, born between 1946 and 1964, are unfamiliar with new technology. It's far more likely that they've read about it, tried it once and decided they hate it."

Jesus, you Millennials are snarky little shits. I had a computer in my office in 1975, yes it was a crude, early DEC, but I used it via a dial up line to send and receive information across (amazing as it must seem to you) the entire country. Imagine that.

"In a boomer-majority office, it's often necessary to ignore mild but routine sexism, cautioned many millennial women. Remember that some boomers joined the workforce before anti-harassment policies were created. For sexist transgressions that seem too small to take to HR, millennials may want to establish a group text thread — a safe space for venting."

Ah yes, I remember those days, some boomer men did take their cues from the older workers and treat women badly.

You have to remember Ann, we boomers were the ones who got rid of a hell of a lot of the sexism and workplace discrimination and we're rather proud of that.

Why focus on the "old codgers" who may call you sweetie or honey from time to time, you may want to take a long, hard look at the vicious little dicks of your own generation. You know who I'm talking about, the guy with the goatee who's laid back and pleasant at work and spends much of his non-work time attacking you and other women anonymously on line. Gamer-gate comes to mind.

“There are people there who want to learn things like social media but don't have the confidence.”

Really Ann? It takes confidence to learn social media? I use it all Ann. It takes about two minutes to learn how to use most of it, not a big achievement.

What's hard to learn is face to face communication, like sitting and talking in complete sentences, making a presentation to your co-workers without technology as a support system. It is a basic and essential skill. You guys spend too much time looking at your phones.

Here's a tip, it's hard to close a deal if the only way you can communicate is via text, email or social media. Look people in the eye, it's really hard if you haven't done it. Human interaction takes practice and confidence. You can do it, give it a try. Another tip, you might want to talk to the old guy down the hall who has been doing it for years. Maybe even have a face to face lunch with the older woman in your office who has carved out a career, while putting up with things and situations that would make you weep. Talk to them, drop the hip façade, when you do.

Some of the best advice I've gotten in my life was from people who grew up with only one phone in their house. They even wrote and mailed letters. Think about that.

What you have, that our generation didn't, is the ability to communicate instantly. It's nice, convenient, but not that big of a deal. When I was in college and went to the student union to have coffee, we actually talked to each other. I imagine it's difficult today to discuss the ass kicking exam you just finished taking in International Econ via text, snap chat or twitter.

On a personal level, take a minute and think about the BS artists who use electronic dating services. A jerk on the web is the same jerk you meet at a party or in a bar. Sooner or later you have to actually communicate face to face. It's valuable skill Ann, work on it.

What I love about you guys is the fact you are pretty much color blind, open and welcoming people. Then again, you can be racist, homophobic bastards when you hide anonymously on social media.  

I have Gen Z grandchildren who think you guys are a bunch of slacker, Luddite, old school slugs, so watch out, they're coming for you.


  1. Some millennials give me hope for an open minded and progressive future. Others however are snarky little know it alls who have a big fall coming. The difference? Those who have a knowledge of history. Those who don't, think the world began about 18 years ago.