Monday, September 23, 2013

Greatest Generation

Technologically speaking, I am of the belief that mine is the greatest generation; perhaps the last one.  My generation, Generations X, is able to comfortably adapt and work with the latest technology while still being educated in the basics, such as multiplication and cursive writing.

I say this because my parents' generation, the Baby Boomers, has not been as adaptable to technology like mine has.  Even though my parents have had a computer for at least 10 years, my Dad never got beyond solitaire and my mother still doesn't know how to attach photos to emails or even delete items from the computer.  And its not that my folks are stupid; I hear stories from my friends all the time about how their parents grapple with things like emails, Facebook, and the more advanced Skype.

On the flip, my nieces and nephews (late Generation Y and Millennials) don't know how to multiply numbers or read/write cursive script.  Again, not because of stupidity - even worse:  they've never been taught!  With this texting generation that mostly lets computers and phones figure everything out for them, they apparently no longer need to know how to perform basic math or communicate in any written form except print or text.  Once, I got into an argument with a 20-something cashier who could not understand how my giving her $.02 cents after she entered my $20 in the register would not screw up the change she was supposed to give me on my $14.77 order:
Me:  Here you go.
Cashier:  What's that for?
Me:  So I don't get all that change back.
Cashier:  I can't take that.  It will screw up my register.
Me: No, it won't.  
(I pause here to see if she will understand.  She doesn't.  She looks at me blankly.) 
Me:  I'm giving you this so you can give me a quarter back along with my $5.
Cashier:  No, I have to give you back what this says. (pointing to register showing $5.23)
Me: No, you can give me back $5.25, because this $.02 cents makes up the difference between $5.25 and $5.23.
Cashier:  No, I can't do that.
Me:  You CAN do it and I promise you it won't screw anything up.
Cashier:  It will make my drawer like 2 cents short! (like, duh!)
Me (exasporated):  Oh my god, fine.  Give me the $5.23.
While it's easy to understand my parents' generation wanting to stick to the old ways, it's hard for me to fathom how my nieces and nephews' generation is going to be successful in anything without the need to rely on a computer to tell them what to do.

I seriously wonder how businesses are going to survive.  With people staying in the workforce longer, there are now 4 generations of people in today's workforce - all of whom communicate and work differently.  This is a concern for ANY human resource professional, specifically because the generations on either end (Boomers and Millennials) may not be able to work together amiably.

It's going to get very interesting.