It’s been a long time since I was the “young” person of the office, feeling smugly like I was so much better, cooler, hipper than the older people around me. I was in the know about pop culture and the way of the world, and they were aging dinosaurs with children and PTA meetings.
Most of the time I try to ignore the schism between myself and the young people of the office (this is usually accomplished by not eating lunch with any of them). I’ve accepted that I am the older generation, at least comparatively, to these young upstarts. And I’m ok with it, truly. When I start to feel a little out of it is when I realize how different these damn kids today are from the rest of us.
This occurred to me today when I received a LinkedIn request from a young girl who’s an assistant to someone on my floor. She’s very sweet and our paths have crossed a few times work wise since she joined the company less than a year ago. I think she’s sort of shy, because she doesn’t know how to properly greet someone in the kitchen or walking down the hallway without coming off as rude or stand offish. But because I know her to be nice, I give her the benefit of the doubt and chalk it up to some kind of social awkwardness. The LinkedIn invitation was amusing to me, because this is someone who can barely muster a, “Hi, how are you?” in the kitchen, but thinks nothing of sending out invitations to connect in social media.
Is it a generational thing? I saw this today on BuzzFeed and realized I’ve seen stuff like that on BuzzFeed before (a website, by the way, meant to amuse people 10-20 years younger than me, but I love it anyway). They are speaking to a generation of people who grew up hiding behind their technology and social media personas, and don’t know how to socialize face to face. I think we will see more of it as people who are growing up with handheld technology become adults. People have to be taught how to be social when there is no technology, and that is sad. I might be a culprit of that myself, since I would mostly prefer to send people an email than talk to them live, but I really do hate talking on the phone.