Musings on millennials

david_bowie-the_rise_and_fall_of_ziggy_stardust_and_the_spiders_from_mars(bi

Ziggy played guitar, jamming good with Weird and Gilly,
And The Spiders from Mars.
He played it left hand, but made it too far,
Became the special man,
Then we were Ziggy’s Band.

So much of my previous workday existence I do not miss.

The commute, the tolls, the parking, the stress — all are thankfully behind me.

The sad part is leaving behind the many colleagues who became friends. Most of them were much younger. A few of my most favorite called me their “work mom” — and I loved that.

I definitely was in the minority at zulily — an aging baby boomer in a sea of millennials. I was around their parents’ age, and they around my daughter’s.

The generational disconnects were glaringly apparent from the start.

I remember, on my second day in the bustling and crammed offices of zulily’s former SODO headquarters, I asked a 20-something where the printer was. She looked at me quizzically. “Printer?! I have no clue. I’ve never printed anyting here since I started last year.”

Every Tuesday, the CEO would hold a weekly all-hands meeting. It would always start with a question for the new recruits. Things like “If you could go anywhere in the world right now, where would that be?” or “What’s the best movie you’ve seen this year.”

I had been asked to help think of new questions, and one of the ones on my list was: “If you could go back in time right now, what era would you choose to live in?” Most of that week’s crop gave an answer that made me laugh out loud. They all wanted to go back to the 1990s. (Of all the possible answers that I had envisioned, going back to the 1990s was definitely not one of them.)

A few months ago, I jokingly made a reference to a young marketing guy about “putting out fires with gasoline.” He looked at me blankly. I stared back for a moment, then added: “You know, from the David Bowie song?” He shook his head no. Then: “Who is David Bowie”?

I decided to lend him my recently purchased “Ziggy Stardust” CD. After a few weeks, I swung by his desk and asked what he thought. He looked sheepish and admitted he hadn’t yet listened to it. I took it back, returned to my desk, popped it into the cd drive on my laptop, grabbed my headphones, hit “play,” cranked the volume way up — and let the music get me through another day.

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