Optimism is having faith in youth — a blogoff

I spent about ten solid minutes this afternoon just staring outside my office window yesterday afternoon. The wind had kicked up fiercely, the sky had gone gray and the yellow leaves were blowing off the roof, falling all around like snow. I had no particular thoughts other than how beautiful this little scene was, that a scant few weeks ago these leaves were green and alive and that they would fall to the ground, decay and turn into rich soil for the next crop of leaves in the spring. It was at once a very sad mourning and a moment of hope and optimism for a new season.

I have no doubt there will be another spring, but I have no reason to believe that other than there was one earlier this year and the year before that and the year before that. I suppose there will be one autumn where I will be wrong, but I hope that is a long time off, despite the best efforts humans have undertaken to destroy each other over the past decade. And the decade prior to that. And so on.

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GenY, get off your a** and vote, you jackwagon!

Yeah, that’s the old geezer me yelling at you to go vote. Does a blog post from a geezer voter make a really bad motivational speech to go vote?

Probably, but I’m doing it anyway.

This is not the first time I’ve read about GenY pouting about being ignored and protesting by not voting. The five reasons listed sound more like excuses than reasons. Did you all not overcome these obstacles for the 2008 election? Did you do it for yourself or for Barack Obama?

And now you are not voting as some sort of protest? Who pays attention to people who don’t speak up?

Nobody, that’s who.

Not speaking up is the same as agreeing.

If you don’t vote, you are just giving the folks who win a reason to ignore you and take advantage of you. Will you look back at your 24-year-old self from your 36-year-old self and ask why you didn’t care enough to get involved? Do you really want people in power to ignore your point of view, even when you’ve taken the time to write a letter, find a stamp and mail it?

People we vote into Congress have very real power. Congress is not like some Facebook protest group or Twitterstorm. A vote cast in Congress affects millions of actual lives. A vote in Congress puts people back to work or puts them out of work; decides whether they get health care or dies in an ER from a treatable condition; takes away their home or stops banks from foreclosing. While it may not seem like much, one vote begets another and another and another. Just like you may only be able to whisper as one person, when gathered together, you are deafening.

WIll you be proud of you or will you still be pouting?

Manup. Vote.

NOTE: The voice in my head while writing this was R. Lee Ermey in the Geico commercial. Click here to view in YouTube if you have not seen it.

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Get your own ham; it’s all about self reliance

When my son was just shy of his fifth year, we found ourselves in an Old Country Buffet on a Saturday afternoon. For those of you not familiar with the format of the all-you-can-eat-for-one-low-price buffet, these places usually have a lower price afternoon service that did not include carved meats and a higher price evening service that started about 4:00pm. For the extra savvy buffet-goer, it was generally known that if you came in about 3:30 or so and stalled a bit on some salad, you could sneak in and get the good stuff for a lunch price. I did not partake of this little loophole but sometimes, we found ourselves in that limbo time.

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You are not a Ninja or a Rockstar

I read an article on the front page of the Wall Street Journal today that says the hot new job title in technology is “Ninja.”

Really? Seriously? People like being called the “Ninja?”

Before that, we had “Rockstar” and “Guru” and … [insert other fantasy title here]. All mis-appropriated from a fantasy of a high-school nerd who wished he was a rockstar or ninja back in the day. Now that you are an adult with some power, money and skills you can be these things. But it still makes you look nerdy.

Ninjas are ninjas; rockstars are rockstars. You are just the guy with a really big brain who has skills and the ability to see patterns most of us envy. Is that not enough or is that just too much of the wrong thing? I suppose you reason that if being the really smart nerd in the room was every kid’s fantasy, then we’d all grow up wanting to be a big brainy nerd instead of a rockstar.

Be who you are and quit trying to live out a child’s fantasy in your adult life. Being a nerd back then may have been uncomfortable, but claiming to be a rockstar or ninja in an adult life makes you look ridiculous.

And it makes the rest of us uncomfortable because we’re not sure how grown up you really are.

As long as we are talking creative titles, I would be remiss if I didn’t throw out a few of my own: Lead Dog, Poop Maker, Bone Digger, Whiner, Barker, Butt Sniffer, Leg Humper. Thanks @1sassy_chick and @saintpetepaul for the contributions.

Blame the terrorists.. again

41nhb5qfrl_sl500_aa240_Generation Y isn’t lazy, impatient, demanding, high-maintenance and self-absorbed. They are just living life fully, in the moment, every day. Why? Because of terrorism.

Huh?

Yes, says Tamara Erickson in a recent podcast posted on Bnet.com. GenY came of age during the era of terrorism and that affected them so much that they seek to be in the moment just in case everything comes crashing down around them in a single, unpredictable moment.

Perhaps they seek to be in the moment because they have been handed everything by their Boomer parents? Perhaps they don’t know how to delay gratification. Maybe? Even just a little bit? Is there no depth to which GenY will not stoop to blame someone or something else for their failing?

There are all sorts of other tangents that Erickson goes down that are flawed reasoning. For example, she suggests that corporations give them a task, but don’t over-train them, let them figure it out. The problem there is GenY really has no skills nor do they have any sense of when a project is complete or well done. The conclusion most would draw is “If my boss has a problem with the quality of my work, he will give me feedback. Otherwise, its all good.”

Sounds like a theory being backed into a book.

Don’t call me a geezer on twitter

Yesterday, I read a tweet from a young someone I’m following who had jury duty. She tweeted:

The judge just told us we are not allowed to create a blog about the trial. The geezers in the room laughed. I twittered it our.

My first reaction was annoyance with the blatant disregard of the judge’s order (yes, Twitter IS a blog.. a micro-blog, but technically, a blog!) and putting the Sixth Amendment rights of the defendant in jeopardy AND risking a mis-trial AND risking jail time AND a fine for contempt. Small things, but as long as this non-geezer, GenY got to tweet out something, that is all that mattered.

All that aside, I got to thinking about what a geezer is. Someone over 30? 40? 50? Is it age-based or is it based on our behaviors and values? I argue the latter.

I Twitter. I write blogs, several. I have an iPhone and use more features on it than just the big keypad (thank you Apple for making the keys big enough for geezer fingers.) I think Alltop.com is a vacation spot. I have a Facebook account AND a LinkedIn account. Am I an anomaly?

Turns out I’m not really that odd. Many of my generation is getting it and are online in pretty significant numbers. In an article that appeared in www.emarketer.com (Dec. 1, 2008)

Look at the following graph of usage by age. Notice also that Boomers have been split into older and newer Boomers (about time someone did)

Note that the percentage difference between Young Boomers-GenY and Young Boomers-Old Boomers is about the same, 11/12%. Even older Boomers and Silent Generations are online at numbers greater than 50%.

So, GenY, us “geezers” are online and in fairly big numbers. We understand a lot of this Web 2.0 stuff you believe to be your own playground. And, while we’re not out there flouting our personal whims, disdain, hubris, sobriety (or lack thereof) and other attention-getting boas (that’s a metaphor) we are here and we’re watching you.

The next time you have the urge to make a general statement about a generation, think about the last time a geezer said something stereotypical of GenY and how you felt when it did not apply to you.

Age brings wisdom, tolerance, patience and understanding, not just old age.

And, age also brings the discretion that is the better part of valor. Like not tweeting out an opinion about a trial that a “geezer” judge trusts you to take seriously.

Me, me, me, me, me, me, me

I see this ad in the OMMA Show magazine. If this kid walked into your office, looking like this and said, “It’s all about me…” what would you do? Yeah, me too. And I’d make sure he skidded across the pavement a bit so that his hair would shave off. Free haircut.

Seriously, does this ad work? It starts out by saying “here’s me and here’s why I think I’m so important and you need to do this for me and that for me….” And, then it asks, “Don’t you think we should work together?”

Work together? Why would I believe you had any of MY interests at heart when working with you? You just spent the last 10 minutes of my life telling me why you are more important than me!

Get the hell out of here and come back when you realize what a pompous, arrogance ass you really are. Then we’ll talk.

Oh, and next time, start the conversation with “Can we work together?”

Click here to see the whole ad.