May 24th, 2001



I'm being forced to sit through a two hour presentation class thingy, called "In the Mix" today.

Basically, IBM went through like a 7 year period where they did nearly no hiring. So, someone has concluded that there is a huge generation gap between the "old" guard, and the "new" guard. They've somehow decided that the youngin's are so completely different from the oldies that we can't all function together properly, so we need to go to a class to help us.

Yeah, I know, I was cracking up when I heard that, too. You see, according to this class, it doesn't matter what kind of an individual you are. You are defined entirely and completely by what generation you come from.


This is supposed to help us? They're going to break down the generational barrier by perpetuating stereotypes?

Yeah, society was different 20 years ago than it is today, and 20 years before that was different from 20 years ago. Do they really think that generational differences amount to more than individual differences?

I've met people from the same generation who had completely and totally different values and ethics. That's just the way it is. Things just don't sit as clean and neat as a generational divide is supposed to be. Especially since generations are what, 20 years or so, total? So, what, if I was born a year after the cut-off, I'm supposed to have a lot in common with the people born over the next 19 years, but little in common with those born a year or two before me?

Okay, I'm starting to ramble here. Needless to say, I'm real excited about going to this presentation today. Yeah.
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Wasting Time. . .

I've just experienced the most complete and utter waste of time that's occurred since I arrived at IBM.

The presentation: "In The Mix", a presentation on generational diversity.

He began by spending 15 minutes telling us how important it is to communicate, and get to know people. How we should not stereotype people based on what generation they're from.

He then spent the next 40 minutes going through the different attitudes that each generation has, what they think, how they work, how they behave, etc.

Um, hello? We're supposed to ignore stereotypes, but then we're provided with stereotypes about each generation, and told to use that to help dealing with people from other generations?

At one point, he looked at us and, with complete seriousness, said, "Stereotypes, bad. Communication, good." What are we, children? Puppies to train, perhaps? Thanks for the condescension.

Some of the stuff he said was just so way out there, too. For example, the current generation (born between 1980-2000) is more "moral" than the past few, partly because they "have a strong bond and good relationship with their parents". As such, "when recruiting them, it's a good idea to contact their parents, because their parents are a very large influence in where they'll choose to work."

Also, one of the key facts that backs up his claim that the current generation is more moral, is the decline in teenage births in the past year or two. Does he really think it's because teenagers are cutting down on sex? Is he that naive? Hello, can we say "teenage birth control"? The pregnancy rate isn't dropping by abstinence, it's dropping because kids today are more willing to use birth control, and parents are more willing to help them get it.

It was a /huge/ effort not to get up and say, "Um, yeah, I just wanted to let you know I think that 95% of your presentation was complete and utter crap, entirely worthless, and I pity the fact that you're spending your life pursuing it. Additionally, I think the whole 'generational divide' that you talk about is perpetuated by people like you more to keep your job than for any true worth, as it's basis in reality is of marginal, if even, worth compared to more important considerations.

I mean, in my experience, there are a whole lot of factors that are much more important to giving you a clue about someone's personality than what generation they were born into. For example, where they were born and/or raises, what social and economical classes they were raised in, what kind of parents they had, what kind of life they've lived, etc.

And that's still ignoring all of the internal factors that make a person who they are. (The whole "nature vs. nurture" debate.)

Bleh. I think I've actually gotten dumber for having to sit through that presentation.
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