Reflections on the book When Generations Collide by Katie Baldwin, EIT.
When Generations Collide was written 10 years ago, and they were still trying to figure out the Millennial Generation’s characteristics at printing time. An observation that emerged early on was that we were being pushed by our parents and society to “do it all.” College was getting more competitive to get into, and so, we had to make ourselves stand out from the next student. Quickly, our resumes grew to include playing sports, participating in clubs, and volunteering, all while juggling school and maintaining a high GPA to get into the best University.
This increase in activities at such a young age may baffle some Traditionalists and Boomers who remember playing outside with neighborhood kids rather than the Millennial Generation’s experience of spending hours indoors competing for the highest score in Super Mario Brothers, after getting home from soccer practice and finishing homework.
Millennials’ hectic childhood schedules were made possible because we came along at the same time as the tools needed to juggle our multiple activities. In comparison to other generations, homework became much easier; writing a one page paper only took an hour to type and print rather than the hours it might take to re-type after hitting the wrong key on the typewriter. As far as math homework goes, I’ve never even seen someone use a slide rule. The invention of calculators must have been like sliced bread to engineers!
Technology has enabled Millennials to perform tasks faster, saving time and allowing us to do more, while keeping us more organized. Not only in our personal lives with smart phones permanently attached to one’s hand and social networking status updates with each new activity, but in our professional lives too. Programs perform complex calculations in a matter of minutes, 3-D modeling allows us to see a physical representation of our designs, and countless other technologies simplify our lives. Those smart phones also make it possible to work outside the office, checking e-mail and checking in with clients and co-workers; not missing a beat if unforeseen circumstances arise like a dead car battery or a sick child.
Today’s workplace is fast-paced and competitive with new technologies coming out every time we turn around. We have to be adaptable and quick to learn these new technologies to keep up. Millennials have been brought up juggling, so we can easily throw another ball in the air – like picking up the latest Facebook reformatting while helping other Generations adapt to the changes.