Don’t let the real water cooler dry up…
Standing up and leaning over a cubicle wall to actually talk to co-workers can earn you a lot of social capital.
Lynne C. Lancaster and David Stillman: The M-factor — How the Millennial Generation is Rocking the Workplace (7 Trends You Need to Know to Survive and Thrive)
There are big adjustments going on out there in the workplace. Generations are clashing. People have difficulty relating to each other when that generating gap is a true gap.
I teach at the community college level. It is amazing what my students do not know. Forget the history, the current events, they don’t know. Just look at the differences in shared cultural content. My students have never heard (never heard!) the poem Casey at the Bat. How can an American not know Casey at the Bat? (They also have no clue what this phrase means: “we’ve got trouble, right here in River City.” Which makes me think we’ve got trouble right here in River City!)
But do they know their technology. They are experts, able to do so much so fast, it leaves me in the dust. And I work hard at learning and using this stuff. But it’s pretty clear, it’s all a second language to me. To them, it’s their native tongue.
So there is much I need to learn, but there is also a warning I would like to share. It is prompted by the quote above from the book The M-factor. My warning:
face-to-face needs to be protected and preserved, especially in the age of Facebook.
So, whether you’re just learning how to define, and use, all of this social media on the new technology, or if you live by it naturally day-by-day, don’t forget about human contact, the real live human conversations, actual face-to-face conversations. Face-to-face is still incredibly valuable, even essential, to business success and to life success.
This really is worth remembering.
News item: Long-Term Joblessness “Off the Charts” Hitting Middle Class Particularly Hard; Millions of Such Jobs Gone Forever: The once prosperous and gainfully-employed middle class is being hit especially hard. Here is an excerpt:
For those who once worked in the auto industry, housing and manufacturing, new jobs could be a long time coming, Lakshman Achuthan, managing director of the Economic Cycle Research Institute adds, pointing out that, “Ten years ago, we had 18 million or so people in manufacturing; now, it’s a little over 10 million. So you have 8 million jobs gone and they are not coming back, ever.”
The recession has created a dismal employment picture for 18- to 29-year olds, the worst since 1972. But despite that harsh economic reality, today’s “Millennials” remain bizarrely rosy about their prospects.
One factor could be that, for a large chunk of these young people, the vicissitudes of adult life have yet to set in. According to the survey, 36 percent of all 18- to 29-year-olds depend on their parents for financial assistance. For 18 to 24 year olds, it’s 50 percent.
Indeed, one-in-six older Millennials, age 22 and older, has boomeranged back to a parent’s home on account of the recession.
On the bright side, the Pew survey suggests that this generation is shaping up to be among the most educated in recent history. 54 percent of all of Millennials currently attend or have attended college, compared to 49 percent of Generation Xers at a similar age.
I have written a few times about what I believe to be the number one problem we face – where will people work? (Read this post here and this one here). We know we are losing manufacturing jobs — and, basically, jobs in every area of work that in the past were done by “strong, strapping men.” For example, it used to take hard physical labor provided by physically strong men to load and unload ships. Now it takes a handful of people sitting at computer terminals to load and unload containers.
But, “don’t worry,” people say. We are becoming better educated, and the jobs of the future will be filled with the educated, who will be ready for these new jobs. And yet, in the second article referenced above, the Millennials are better educated, and they still can’t find the kind of work that sustains, much less builds, a true middle class. (Have you been following the difficulties of the most current law school graduates? It is not a pretty picture).
As I said, this is the question of this era. Where will people work?