Millennial Shade

I recently attended a class that my Catering job offers. In return for attending educational or mandatory classes we get 25 extra logged hours, not 25 hours of pay, but 25 hours that add to our total. For every 100 hours we log, we earn a pay raise. It’s a great deal for an hour and a half of my time. Not to mention it looks good to attend. Seeing as I’ve already made an impression (all of the management greeted me with excitement and smiles when I arrived), I truly intend to keep up the great work.

This class was about looking around and noticing things that are out of place, creating the ambiance that clients want and need in order to return. It was a very basic class, and helpful to learn about some things that apparently are “out of place”. I’ve never paid so much attention to whether a painting is a centimeter off or whether a lamp shade seam is showing. However, I can see how all of these little details can add up to determine how the ambiance is perceived.

Overall, it was a nice class to attend and had a great takeaway in that we aren’t expected to notice and fix everything. Nobody could possibly do that. Instead, we should look and fix what we can. If we all do that nearly everything should be perfect at a given point in time. As someone who takes it upon themself to do the absolute best, and often I get that construed to be perfection, it was nice to have this reassurance that perfection wasn’t expected.

However, to the point of this post, I was taken aback at how much shade was thrown to the millennial generation throughout the class. Accused of how much we look at our phones, and how we can arrive at a beautiful place like the Boathouse (one of the properties owned by the company) with our eyes glued to our phones. How we go to the Grand Canyon and everyone has their phone out taking pictures and not “experiencing” it. He mentioned these comments in a light-hearted and serious way. In more of a teasing, passive aggressive manner that really took me out of the experience of the class.

He’s not wrong in that my generation is viewed like that. I’m not saying we don’t do that. I’m not saying “not all millennials”. I’m not even saying “not me!”. But it bugs me. It really unsettles me. I think part of why I have that reaction is that the people who say these things are usually a part of the generation that invented them. They made them popular. When cell phones were just being produced and distributed, their generation made them take off. They made it so that these products would succeed. They were excited for the new technology. Millennials were far too young to pay for these things, and make them as popular as they are today.

They also say it in a way that seems to push the onus on us (see what I did there? 😉 ). When you look around at the Grand Canyon, do you ONLY see Millennials taking pictures with their phones?

It seems more prevalent in Millennial’s lives because we have had the technology for a larger portion of our lives than previous generations. However, the problem remains the same. I see older generations using phones just as much as they come to realize how convenient it is, and how much easier it is to keep in contact with people.

Another point I want to make is how it seems like we are addicted to our phones. It seems that way because of how much phones have transformed to consolidate so much into one device. They are a watch, a newspaper, a book, a calculator, a phone, a computer, a gaming system, a camera, a notetaker, a jukebox, etc. We used to need to have these things as separate entities, but now we don’t. I don’t have a watch (that works). I use my phone 99% of the time to figure out what time it is. I don’t read newspapers, mainly because I find them cumbersome and tedious to deal with, but I also have far more convenient ways of learning about what is going on in the world. You think we are hooked to our phones when, in fact, we are engaging in all of the same activities that were there before phones; all can be done with one device now.

We now live in a world where technology is prevalent. How we experience the world is different, it’s more global and interconnected than ever. I can have friends I have never met in person, who live across the world from me. I can keep in contact with friends I haven’t seen in years. And when I am no longer at A-Camp, I can reminisce with fellow campers, share inside jokes, and revel in how much we miss camp. I can chat with, and develop a crush on, a friend in Canada. All while working and residing in St. Louis, Missouri. I don’t have to write a letter, I can have a real conversation with a person anywhere.

In terms of myself, as much as I do rely on my phone, and take pictures of the Grand Canyon, I make sure to take time to immerse myself within the experience. I think it is grounding to do so, and helps me feel good. If I’m looking at my phone while I am coming in to work it is to check the time, because I value timeliness. If I don’t notice a box off to the side as I walk in it is because I am anxious to get where I am going, and to find out where I need to be. Sometimes, I look at my phone with a sense of purpose, an objective. Sometimes, I’m just trying to pass the time because I forgot my book, or I can’t read because of the noise level. It isn’t that I don’t pay attention, or I no longer experience things. We do.

If I haven’t convinced you yet to give up the shade, here’s another great reason. Why don’t you stop policing other people? Ask yourself why it bothers you. As for the instructor of the class, and the owner of the company, it bothers him in the sense that he notices every little detail about a room. It bugs him to have something off-center, or the seam showing, or something to be slightly crooked. He took that discomfort that he has with that and extended it to Millennials as a whole, when it really had nothing to do with it at all. Are there chairs to be straightened at the Grand Canyon? When I’m walking in a beautiful area, do I need to hide a lampshade seam? Typically, no. We aren’t supposed to be on our phones at work either, so the point was mute. I think that’s another reason why those comments stood out to me. To me, it wasn’t a logical train of thought. It wasn’t another premise to make a point. It was extraneous, and took me out of the experience of the class.

Anyway, I hope I’ve successfully deterred people from throwing shade at Millennials. We are, in fact, a product and reaction of the generations that precede us. You are welcome to remind me of this post if I happen to blame future generations for how they experience the world due to the inventions of my generation. I kind of hope I throw shade about how great driving is, and wonder why nobody takes time to drive anywhere anymore. Or, why don’t people pay to live anymore, young people are so lazy that they don’t have to work in order to eat. How else are they supposed to be contributing members of society? I’m sure you will be able to find this post and link it to me when our Facebook Memories become reminders of real memories that were archived digitally. I look forward to that day.

Think I throw too much shade back at the older generations? Check out my short story, A Bright Future For The Old-Fashioned in which I show appreciation for the good ole days before the digital age wiped out physical forms of currency and advertisement. Also, a PSA about self-driving cars!

In my next blogpost, I will be talking about how I feel about people kneeling during the national anthem. As a veteran, you won’t want to miss my perspective, and I really hope it challenges how you feel about it too!

As always, thank you so much for reading! It makes me so happy to hear from you!



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