I have a friend who is an administrator at a major university. She manages a department of a dozen or so people, most of them under the age of 25.
Several months ago, some light construction took place in her office. This made it necessary for her employees to shuffle a half-dozen or so cubicles, and temporarily relocate their workspaces. Also involved in this, was the relocation of a storage cubicle – you know, the one nobody works in, but gets used for the storage of things deemed too good for the trash.
The construction was completed, and the day arrived for everyone to un-shuffle, and return to their cubicles of origin. Toward the end of the process, a young employee, under 25, requested that my friend (her boss) meet her at one of the storage cubicles – she had seen an item that she didn’t know what to do with it, because she didn’t know what it was.
The two met at the cubicle, and the young woman pointed to the item, looked perplexed, and exclaimed to her boss, “I don’t know what this is, do you…?”
Her boss smiled a secret smile, kept her chuckle inaudible, and replied…
“It’s a typewriter. They were used before computers and word processors.”
Apparently the young woman had never seen a typewriter before. Even after the explanation, she looked perplexed, and failed to understand the straight forward concept of a typewriter. Her boss explained to her that she would take care of it, and directed her employee to return to work.
On one hand, it’s easy to think of the young woman as dim, or perhaps even clueless. Nope. Just young, and born into an age of profound technical innovation.
As technical innovation approaches the rate of exponential, so too does the rate of obsolete. Don’t blame a young person for failing to understand the past. Just hope that they are competent enough to handle the present, and are prepared for a rapidly changing future… Jhciacb
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