There seem to be a lot of new normals out there these days. No matter which generation you’re viewing the enormous technological changes from, in particular, they can be disconcerting.
I was having coffee with a friend at the David Rubenstein Atrium, an indoor public space that is affiliated with Lincoln Center. Part of the area was roped off for a breakfast welcoming interns to their Lincoln Center jobs. While waiting for my friend, I watched and listened to an icebreaking exercise they were engaging in. Each attendee had received a fortune cookie-sized question which they then stood up and responded to after a brief self-introduction.
“What form of communication should people use to connect with you?” read one young intern-to-be. “Definitely texting!” she shared with the group in front of her–all 20-somethings. “If you call me, I won’t answer and I WON’T RETURN YOUR CALL,” she added emphatically.
Wow! I thought. You’ve just eliminated most baby boomers (speaking for my generation), aka your potential employers, who are uninformed and/or unaware of this unwritten communications decree. I wondered at the opportunities she may be shutting herself off from. Then again, she may not care to work for anyone say, over 40, who may not share her texting preference.
I mentioned my observation to my 30-something friend who was also surprised. Seems that under-25 is its own demographic, and even she couldn’t relate to this younger woman’s attitude. For this friend, even people five years younger were exposed to technology in a completely different way than she had been. “We didn’t have cell phones when I was in college,” which may be the trumping element at play.
There used to be rules around stuff like this. New rules are obviously being expressed, but not where I’m consuming them. Which helps the generations to remain quite separated around this huge issue: digital natives versus immigrants, like me.
Our rebellion was long hair, which my parents’ generation could NOT understand. Who cared about trying to explain it to THEM?! I get it, but am perplexed and astounded that I’m on the non-understanding part of the equation now.
Anyway, not that I’ve had my phone messages go unreturned, but this young intern’s attitude may explain an expression my peer/friend Lucy shared with me last week. “No response is the new ‘no’,” she told me. With my newly gained information today, it may be more rightfully translated as, “I don’t relate to your method of communication, so I won’t even bother trying to connect with you.”
What’s your recent experience with this?