I remember it well: We got our first personal computer, a Compaq for the low price of $3,000. My father, someone born between the years 1946-64, aka “the B word” would request my presence by yelling loudly for me to help him turn on our family’s newest acquisition. This would often get heated as, “just press the button” would often be met with threats like, “taking away the cord” or “just come and fucking help me you little bastard.” Even after countless times of showing him how to both turn on this behemoth Pentium 4 processor computer and to access whichever AOL version was the real McCoy at the time, it was the same tired bullshit of showing my old man how to turn on the dang computer.
What I hadn’t anticipated is how the simple process of teaching my technologically illiterate father would teach me patience. By patience, I mean to privately complain to my friends and anonymously through my Twitter account, how Boomers would continue to plague me in the workplace for the foreseeable future. However, I never thought all those years of turning on our family’s computer would have real world applications.
Fast forward to August 2013. Within a month of beginning my first job, I helped a coworker, Bob, insert a graphic into a Powerpoint presentation.
“A simple task,” I thought to myself.
What I didn’t realize, after sitting at my desk for 15 minutes was that Bob was not going to walk the 20 yards down the hallway. My work phone rang. This was my first work call ever.
“Are you coming down to help me?” Ol’ Bob didn’t want the tutorial, he wanted me to come do his work for him.
“That’s just part of the job,” I thought.
Eager to prove my worth, I spent the eight seconds it took to walk to his office to help him. After spending five seconds using my wizard millennial brain of CTRL+C and CTRL+V, the graphic magically appeared in Bob’s Powerpoint. This was my first mistake because the Millennial I replaced in the office apparently was Bob’s personal servant and technologist.
Not long after this event, I got another email. “You young people understand this way better,” Bob told me. He then needed help putting standard deviation bars in Excel. A much more difficult task, I thankfully took three semesters of grad level statistics. After helping Bob, I curiously used another technique, known as “use the Google” where I looked up when Excel came out. 1985. I was not yet born. Bob was in his late 40s. I’ll let you draw the conclusions.
It must have been some sort of test by the gods. After helping Bob on this difficult task, word spread quickly. With our IT department already thin, my boss asked if I knew how to do surveys. With my “can do” entitled attitude and greenhorn naivety, I said sure no problem. It seems my departed ex-coworker was also the office survey guy. I learned the complexities of a program called Qualtrics and we became good friends.
From there, I was a dumping ground of duties no one wanted to do. I got voluntold to enter 700 surveys. Using my newly acquired survey knowledge, I made a survey and entered 700 surveys which neatly gave data in a readable fashion. Was it the fastest? I have no idea but what kind of idiot has people take 700 surveys on paper and expect a quick turnaround?
My services to create surveys became department renowned. I was asked by people all over the department to help them. I even fixed surveys of people whose sole job was data management and survey building. If you guessed they made double my salary and were boomers, you were right. The younger professors hated dealing with these people because like many boomers, they were slow and refused to change.
Unlike Radiohead’s critically acclaimed, OK Computer, which I love, boomers are a scourge in the workplace. With “OK Boomer” making the rounds around the world wide web I thought, “I am not alone in my plight, in my trials and tribulations, nor my experiences.” If you have a boomer workplace story, air your grievances by DMing me a short story, your information and where you’re from or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org Thank you and godspeed.