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Lord Yupa

February 2010

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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.


That really sucks. I thought IBM had more a clue than that. :/

You should complain to your manager.

Oh, I did. ;-)

I told my manager quite clearly what I thought of this presentation. ;-)

She actually agreed with me entirely. It seems that there was one reasonably high up operations manager that decided this was an important thing that we had to see, so everyone at my site had to sit through it.

From what I've heard, they're getting slammed for it by a lot of people, now. Serves 'em right for making is go through that crap. ;-)

But how can you fight stereotypes without a massive heap of more stereotypes?!

I mean, serious here- we're talking PS1 vs. PS2 here- a huuuuuge "generation gap." We've got to bridge the geek gap here, Topher- because that's what it's all about!
Give 'em hell!

Re: But how can you fight stereotypes without a massive heap of more stereotypes?!

Hrm. . . you know, from some of the articles I've seen lately, it almost sounds like the next generation might be the return of the Nintendo Generation again. ;-)