Harsh Words for “Old Folk” in CIO Magazine

Until very recently this blog has done a good job of facilitating my flow if ideas on generational differences in the workplace while not trying to antagonize or attack any generation or any individual. However, comments were made by ‘Paul’ that my views are naive and some of my thoughts are off base because I don’t have a spouse (inaccurate) or children. He even went as far as to question my ability to think independently and insinuated I am just pushing the agenda of some sociologists. Though his comments were somewhat harsh for my liking (but I am a whiny Millennial) and seemed to be more off topic per post than on, all contributions are appreciated. Furthermore his comments reminded me of the confrontational tone from a November article of CIO Magazine titled ‘In Defense of Gen Y Workers‘.

The auther of that article was a 21 year old editorial assistant at CIO. She had some very good commentary that I agreed with including her thoughts regarding our early adoption of technology and collaborative tools as well as our use of these and other tools to multi task our way through life. Her view that companies continue to push outdated applications and non-technical business processes in lieu of newer more agile solutions. Most importantly, her views on work life integration where she stated “I need to be connected to be happy. And that means connected in all areas of my life, work and play, not that I think there’s much difference between them.

So where I did agree with some of her comments, just like our friend Paul’s, I did not agree with the confontational and demeaning tone. She seems to be antaganizing older generations with comments like these:

Old folk, like you, experience technology as a disruption of the familiar. You Boomers talk about the warm sound of vinyl records. Excuse me? You think that hissing crackle is warm? Gen X talks about claymation and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Breakfast Club and other sappy John Hughes movies celebrating slackers and losers…

The fact is, I’m different, I’m better and I’m tired of hearing otherwise.

Now, I completely agree that we are different, but I am not willing to assert that we are better. Every generation, just like every person, has both good and bad qualities. I don’t think it’s anyones place to start ranking or trying to quantify a generations worth to a company or society as a whole. So keep in mind folks, regardless of which generation you come from, keep it professional. Try not to blast the thoughts of one person or bring down a whole group of people just to lift yourself, or your group to a higher level.

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4 Responses to Harsh Words for “Old Folk” in CIO Magazine

  1. Paul says:

    No attacks here. For the edification of those who read this, please quote me accurately:

    ‘Here are some constants you need to keep in mind: 1) Spouse, 2) Kids, 3) Recessions. When these things happen to you (at least the third is a guarantee), your perceptions will change greatly.
    I’m sure the Hippies never worried about 401k(s) or Insurance. What were they into? Oh, I don’t know.. music, doing their own thing, not being supressed by the man… starting to sound familiar. Irrespective of generational specifics, growing older has a similar impact on everyone.
    Hold on to your thoughts, archive them, then read them when your 60. Trust me, you’ll find certain stings of thought as naive. But it’s ok. This is one common thread for everyone.
    Let me ask you this, when your first child is born with a severe disability, how important are the wikis, tabs, MP3s and artificial intelligence at that point?
    True independent thinkers work to strip away the generalizations published by sociologists out to make a buck or coin a term.’

    1) Out of the 3 things in life that have an impact on work, I never made a claim on what you do or don’t have.
    2) The ‘naive’ comment is one that is shared by anyone lucky enough to live a while which allows them the opportunity to reflect. I’m certain you can look back at ideas you’ve had in the past that were purely foolish. I have, we all have.
    3) I challenged you to think on your own and not to attach your value in the workplace bounded by stereotypes of a generation.
    4) How do you propose that thoughts not in line with yours be presented? I simply provided another side to the many posts by you and others.
    5) I don’t know how my comments can be considered off topic, when I’m chipping in some thoughts that are not represented when it comes to someone NOT from your generation.
    6) I don’t see anything unprofessional in my response. How would you propose to sanitize it? Reduce the sharing down to sterile white papers? I was taken aback by several of the posts. I didn’t think they were unprofessional or harsh… just different. I believe my posts are in the same vain. Please read the sarcasm in some of the comments… I’m aware that you too engage in sarcasm from time to time.
    7) Don’t read ‘YOU’ into every sentence. Questions are posed in a vaccuum to elicit healthy debate.
    8) Instead of repsonding to any of my questions or scenarios, they are just cast off as hostile.
    9) I certainly don’t see my post as an attempt to lift myself above another.

    I thought you and those who follow your blogs would appreciate an opinion other than their own. I have gained some insight from the comments and felt an opposing view would be welcome. Apparently, I was incorrect. I have a great deal of respect for your abilities and your good heart. You know me. My time is precious. I wouldn’t waste it if the intent was to ridicule or in an attempt to be mean. I thought I could help with a different view point. My success in the workplace and life has been a combination of hard work and a ready supply of folks who were willing to share their experiences and advice. I would make additional suggestions, but I’m afraid they would be met with more rejection than helpful discourse. Certainly a disappointment

  2. barrettjf says:

    Simply put, I may have interpreted some of your comments as being harsh rather than sarcastic and found certain references to be personal attacks. In doing so I did us all a mis justice by overlooking the core of some of your comments and the value they provided.

    Your thoughts on husbands and wives, sons and daughters is certainly a great unknown for many Millennial’s. While starting a family has a major impact on an individuals life, it will not remove the foundation of who we are as a generation. I’m getting married in May and will not limit my time text messaging, blogging, or instant messaging. I will continue to keep up with friends on Facebook, download podcasts to my iPod, and chose my RSS reader over a newspaper. My fiance and I are appreciative of the fact we grew up in the Internet generation and have used that to our benefit during our wedding planning. From paying our vendors with online BillPay, to doing honeymoon research at social sites such as WikiTravel and TripAdvisor, setting up a wedding blog, and even sharing guests list, songs list, and general ideas using the very collaborative Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

    The concept of kids is a bit more foreign to me but a good friend of mine just had a beautiful baby boy and he and his wife did lamaze class using Comcast ON DEMAND and the baby already has his domain name registered and a blog complete with photos and streaming video. When that baby grows up and starts playing tee ball or youth soccer I’m sure his team will receive live updates via SMS blasts instead of calling a hot line or waiting for the phone tree to reach them.

    I’d like to save some of those topics such as retirement and recessions for a their own posts. In the future, I will try to find the sarcastic lining in your comments and not get on the defensive. So keep the thoughts coming as all perspectives are appreciated.

  3. Paul says:

    Good to hear.

    Specifically to Dominion, I have observed another major dividing factor among the ranks that isn’t along Generational lines. It has to do with who has/has not worked in a major metropolitain area or “big 5” consulting firm. Those who have experienced the grind (and that does include those in Gen Y), come away with a much different perspective on work, benys, and perception on stress levels. Have you considered such a division?

  4. Jessica says:

    Small thought regarding “having your first child with a disability” and how all of the technological gadgets may fall to the wayside. They may, as I have not experienced this first hand. But, I am prone to think that technology would again be at the forefront of millennials’ minds in this situation. What advancements do we have that would make this disability less of a hinderance for the new child so they can be as capable as possible? Is it a high-tech wheelchair? Is it a hearing aid? Is it a voicebox? Is it music therapy that will help? Of course your heart and emotions rule in these situations (hopefully), but if this generation is as solution-oriented as they appear to be…I imagine the technology presence would be in this equation.

    Thank you. This blog is very interesting to me. I happen to have traits of both Gen X and the millennails. I am listening to my ipod, have my cell phone in sight for text messages and am blogging. I am happy to work in an environment that allows of these things.

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