As a newbie in the workforce, I try to appear as non-pretentious as possible. Seriously. Since our generation is known for thinking they are God’s gift to the world thanks to our “donning out trophies for accomplishing nothing” upbringing, my goal is to avoid the stereotype as much as possible. I, and I believe many of us millennials, realize that I’m not going to become a CEO straight out of school. When I got my job as an executive assistant, I was just happy that I wasn’t waiting tables like half of my friends who I graduated with. I am painfully aware that six months into the workforce my biggest asset is not my experience or the advice I offer in a meeting. But, as if I wasn’t already aware of it, it’s astonishing how often I’m made aware of it by my co-workers. It seems they want one thing from me, and one thing only; my knowledge of technology.
Now that us millenials are graduating and entering the workplace, we all have one valuable commodity that no one over the age of 35 does- we’re intuitive with computers. We don’t need to ‘read the manual’ to work with a new program. All we need to do is play around with it for a bit. And we’ve got it. It never fails to amaze my baby-boomer co-workers. Oftentimes, a large portion of my day is spent converting a PowerPoint to a PDF, or changing the colors in a presentation, or making an excel document print on one page. All of the tasks I just mentioned take me approximately a minute each. And if I don’t know how to do something, I Google the directions (and then it takes me five minutes). In my mind, it would be easier for the person to simply do the task, rather than send me an email asking me to do it. I’m not savvy with technology by any means for someone in my generation. I would consider myself to have average technological skills, at best. However, my co-workers think I’m a guru.
What I’m finding is that it’s a very difficult thing to tell this to anyone under 25. When asked to give my manager feedback, what I’d really love to say is “she would be ten times more productive if she could learn to use a computer.” Even a nice way to say it would be “a Microsoft Excel class would help ‘insert boss’ name’ tremendously.” But the person I’m giving the feedback to is from that generation. And sympathizes with that generation. As if that isn’t the only issue, I also realize that a simple computer class wouldn’t work. The amount of times I’ve showed my manager to do something, and then have her ask me to do it again the next day is astonishing. The answer is simple, really. They just weren’t raised with it, and as a result of that, they’ll never be as intuitive with the computer. Or the iPhone. Or any technological item. And the more frightening fact is, the younger generation is even more intuitive. Right now, the workforce in America wants one thing and one thing only from us. And soon, when my baby cousins graduate from college, they won’t want us for anything at all.