Tyler, an accomplished millennial with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Technology, (Googling stuff as his family called it,) just landed his first post-college job and he was a bit nervous. At a recent family picnic he’d listened to his Baby Boomer uncles telling office war stories about their jobs and hoped he’d be up to the task. It sounded to him like the norms of his college years didn’t even exist in their world. Tyler was used to coloring books in safe spaces, Googling answers during exams and universal consensus. Still, his uncles were given to exaggeration, like fishermen trying to outdo each other with the size of their catch. Tyler sincerely hoped some of the horrors of working life they talked about weren’t true.
For example, they spoke of extra tasks being piled on their desks, most with a “done by end of day” deadline. On top of that, most of the tasks weren’t even in their job description. They were given tasks they’d never done before too; most of the time when people were out on vacation and someone, anyone must fill in. When he asked his uncles why they put up with it all they said was “mortgage,” and when he questioned how they did it, all they said was “punt.” Not being a sports fan Tyler had no idea what that meant, and he hoped his boss was not a peer of his uncles.
As extra insurance he prayed his job description of social media assistant was as easy as it sounded when you said it out loud. But just in case it wasn’t he did something he’d read about recently in Psychology Today magazine called elastic thinking. This involved letting go of pre-conceived notions and ingrained mindsets so your brain was open; stretching further and further to allow new ideas and ways of thinking to emerge. He expected he’d need to stretch from here to Mars and back if his boss turned out to be what he feared: a short-staffed Baby Boomer.
Tyler arrived at work to find his Baby Boomer boss in a panic, yelling “by end of day” at the top of his lungs every 5 seconds. His desk was piled with urgent tasks from all 10 departments of his new company, 9 of which having nothing to do with social media. His predecessor had downloaded a virus onto his computer and the IT guy was on vacation. In addition to this unwelcome welcome his cubicle had actual walls and he was assigned an office locker to put his phone in while on the clock. Oh, yes. There was a clock and he had to punch it even for bathroom breaks.
Welcome to real life, Tyler. Here’s hoping that brain of yours is the biggest rubber band God ever made.