Published on: December 5, 2019
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Hi, Kevin Coupe here and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.
So over the holidays, we were sitting around the kitchen finishing dinner, and I must've said something particularly clueless - I cannot even remember what - and one of my kids looked at me and said, "Okay, boomer."
And the other kids laughed. Not unkindly, I should point out. Just knowingly. Affectionately. If you have kids, you know the laugh. It comes with a shake of the head. If you're lucky, they manage to suppress the eye-roll.
I then proved - for the umpteenth time - exactly how clueless about certain things I am when I indicated that I hadn't heard that particular turn of phrase before. (The only good news for me in this conversation was that Mrs. Content Guy hadn't heard it either. This is not to say that she made me luck any better, just that I wasn't alone on this particular island of generational cluelessness, which lies just southwest of the Island of Misfit Toys.)
Being a savvy guy, I went to the Google machine to do a little research, and discovered that, according to Wikipedia, "Okay, boomer" actually was a retaliatory strike on the part of some Millennials and members of Gen-Z who were being put down by a Baby Boomer for having unrealistic expectations about life, work and everything else in their existence. To which those younger folks responded, "Okay, Boomer" …
I wasn't there, so I don't know if those two words were dripping with contempt, or laced with affection. Either way, as someone who is right in the middle of the Baby Boom generation, I'm perfectly willing to admit that the world we are handing the younger generation is not in great shape. In fact, it is in pretty crappy shape. The climate is going to hell, the infrastructure is rotting, international tensions are, well, tense, and don't even get me started about the state of our politics.
But … we also gave them the internet … cell phones … and both Amazon and Netflix. I'm not sure that's a wash, but it isn't a total deficit.
I spend a fair amount of time with young people, and I'd agree that many of them have different expectations from the world than I did at their age. Many have a different work ethic.
But some of them actually are doing a lot to create a world that can live up to their expectations, and some of them work incredibly hard … and a lot harder than a lot of people my age ever did.
Which is really just one way of saying that catch phrases and lump an entire generation of people together as one thing are actually a pretty lazy way of appraising individuals. No matter how old we are, we can be lazy about such things, and I think we'd all be better off - at home and in the workplace - if we appreciated both our similarities and differences, and looked to create common ground where there only seem to be long distances.
In the workplace, that means listening as well as talking … learning as well as teaching … and being willing to accept that the way we think things are may not actually be the way things are, nor how they should be. That goes for all of us.
That's what is on my mind this morning. As always, I want to hear what is on your mind.
- KC's View: