Keeping it in perspective

At work, I am constantly reminded of the generational gap between young adults, like myself, and older business colleagues when it comes to both culture and technology. One of my primary responsibilities at work is to educate others on appropriate use of technology and how it can enhance their brand’s marketing efforts.

The gap extends beyond the conference room and into everyday casual conversation. This year, we’ve been experiencing devastating floods here in St. Louis. My coworkers talk about their memories of the last flood. When they turn to hear my anecdotes, all I can offer is that my mom took a picture of me sandbagging in Valley Park when I was in the second grade. Yes, I was in the second grade in 1993.

To help relieve the shock when dealing with youngsters, Beloit College in Wisconsin publishes the Mindset List each year to help college professors understand the perspective of incoming college freshmen.

Here are a few of the most striking things on my Mindset List, for those born in 1985:

  • Iraq has always been a problem.
  • “Ctrl + Alt + Del” is as basic as “ABC.”
  • Paul Newman has always made salad dressing and Pete Rose has always been a gambler.
  • Bert and Ernie are old enough to be their parents.
  • There has always been a screening test for AIDS.
  • Gas has always been unleaded.
  • Computers have always fit in their backpacks.
  • They have never gotten excited over a telegram, a long distance call, or a fax.
  • Three-point shots from “downtown” have always been a part of basketball.
  • Stores have always had scanners at the checkout.
  • They have always had a PIN number.
  • Yuppies are almost as old as hippies.
  • Peeps are not a candy, they are your friends.

And here’s a selection from this year’s college freshmen list:

  • What Berlin wall?
  • They have grown up with bottled water.
  • General Motors has always been working on an electric car.
  • “Off the hook” has never had anything to do with a telephone.
  • Al Gore has always been running for president or thinking about it.
  • Being a latchkey kid has never been a big deal.
  • High definition television has always been available.
  • MTV has never featured music videos; Jerry Springer has always been lowering the level of discourse on TV; and they never saw Johnny Carson live on television.
  • The World Wide Web has been an online tool since they were born.
  • Food packaging has always included nutritional labeling.

So to end this post, I’d like to leave you with a quote from one of my favorite movies, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, released in June 1986, when I was 8 months old.

“Life goes by pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” -Ferris Bueller

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