Monday, September 14, 2009

The Great Divide

How did this happen?

I woke up one day, and I was middle-aged. I am on the other side of the hill, and going down fast. My ass landed at the bottom of the hill over a decade ago and my boobs are joining them as we speak.

When you hang around with people who are your own age or older, you don’t really realise so acutely that middle age is upon you. Your friends all come from the same era or earlier, so they have lived through their own era, and likely yours as well. They know how, in your heart and in your mind, that disco still lives. They understand the cultural significance of shoulder pads. They get it when you say, “The 90’s sucked, man”.

In your day, musicians in music videos were fully clothed and did not simulate sex for 2.5 minutes in the name of their art. They sang their song and made awkward dance movements, end of story. Occasionally, creative songsters tried for more artistic interpretations of their masterpieces, and this usually involved psychedelic colours and strobe lighting.

I’m astonished to say that, in my day, there were no computers in school, no cell phones, no ipods or touch pods or pods of any kind. No laptops, notebooks, no PDA’s. No printers, no fax machines. You get what I’m saying? No technology, baby. We communicated by written or spoken word. Someone talked, we listened. We considered our response and replied in kind.

So where am I going with this? I’m going to the workplace. Throughout my long and illustrious career, I have generally worked with people who were similar in age to myself. As I got older, so did my clients. As I aged, I moved away from working with youth to working with older people. Somewhere along the way, a rather large rift opened up in the universe. A great divide was created and I didn’t even know it was there. I’m talking about working with younger people.

OH MY GOD!!!!!

What’s happened out there? Was there some sort of biological chemical warfare that only affected young people and no one told me about it? Did I miss the news that day? Did it infect them through their cell phones? Whatever it was, it seemed to affect their attention span. They can’t keep focused any longer than a gnat can. They’re BORED . They need constant stimulation and can only follow the “no cell phone in training” rule for 10 minutes. Training lasts 6 weeks. You could see them twitching, it was actually quite funny. They’ve actually given up hiding their cell phones under the table and text openly now.

But the worst is the ignorance. In my day (here we go again), we were taught to respect people in authority, like instructors for example. It’s not rocket science. If the instructor asks you to do something, you do it. If they are talking, you are not.


Apparently not. This must be an old person’s philosophy. I need to “get with it” quickly. Is it now rude to be respectful? Is it respectful to be rude? Have the tables really turned that much?

What caused this chasm deep in the earth’s crust, I wonder? With the youngsters on one side and me on the other. Does it really matter? I’m not sure that I care. Face it, I’m too old to give a damn.

At this point, I just need to survive it.

Perhaps along the way, the youngsters and I will find a way to build a bridge across that great divide and live together in harmony.

If not, I hear I can always work from home.


  1. What a fantastic blog!

  2. You are too kind. Let me take this opportunity to say that I really like young people a lot. I find them wildly entertaining, I really do. But their leader really needs to get this rudeness and attention span thing under control. Maybe they need to have a meeting or something to discuss it. Unless it really is an infection and they can't control it. Is someone working on a vaccine?

  3. People stopped being parents and started to try to be friends with their children.

    Not wanting to have your "friend" mad at you leads to zero discipline, which in turn leads to zero control, zero respect and zero responsibility.

    The result is you are going to see a much higher divide between upper class and middle class than in our generation, because they will be unable to hold down a job that pays enough to ever own a home.

  4. I am not lucky enough to have children, so I missed the upbringing of a whole generation. I was using that time, I suppose, to recover from my own upbringing.

    Another thing I don't understand is, in the workplace, why is this instructor putting up with this horrible behaviour? Is there an increased tolerance of this self-indulgence? Am I meant to put up with this crap? Or is it still permissible to spank them?

  5. I know,I know! :) The instructor is not the boss, right? So, no power to deal out consequences. What's he going to do? Take away their cell phones? Tell them pay attention or else? Or else what? Also, how effective is the training? Is the instructor just sitting there talking? Hell, I'd be texting, too.

    OK, I wouldn't. But, can you tell I'm still 18 at heart? :)

  6. Actually, I can answer the instructor question.

    When I worked for Epson Canada, for about a one year period I was one of the 5 instructors that taught all the new hire classes.

    If they run it anything like we did, at the end of each week the big boss gets an update on the instructor's notes and opinions of the progress of the hires.

    We had no authority on firing people and we were instructed to give 2-3 warnings on behavior issues (like the texting) and then no longer comment on it to avoid constantly disrupting things for the members of the class that were actually following the rules and learning.

    At the end of the week, after the report to the big boss, the worst offenders would be let go, many times they were also used as an example the next week by the instructors, as in "Remember when we asked you not to text?... yeah we meant it, Bob won't be back this week."

  7. So, in the real world, teenie-boppers *are* still expected to behave respectfully, is that what you're saying? That's a relief because I wasn't sure. It seems like Bob would pretty much have to strip naked and pull a postal before he was given a warning in my class. But it's good to know that other places still expect good behavior from their employees.

  8. Count your lucky stars you're experiencing this all in Canada. I hate to say it but it's MUCH WORSE in the U.S. of A...good god. My new mantra has become "I HATE PEOPLE!"
    We're all doomed, and living off the grid, away from the rudeness and disrespect is becoming much more enticing.

  9. From your oldest sister, Kim. I'm trying this again, as the first one wouldn't post. I know EXACTLY what you mean and what you are going through. At school, the younger students are told to turn off all cell phones and not to text in class, but do they listen? NOOOOOO!!! When I was writing exams last April, I could hear music coming from waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay across the gym and told a teacher. The teacher said she couldn't hear anything and told me and another student who complained to just concentrate on the exam. How can you concentrate when you hear that slight repetative noise children call music these days? Ah, well...
    When these children grow up and try to get a job in the real world (after all, they suffer the virus called 'youth' which doesn't give a s**t), they'll find out that it is not 'cool' to socialize, chitchat with their friends during "working" hours and just generally sitting around and not breaking a sweat by watching everyone else work (okay 10% will work while the other 90% expect to get paid for just sitting/standing around and doing nothing).