August 13

Youth Happens

I learned something new today: a new way to be annoyed and offended!

An older coworker came to me and asked for a “p-clip”.  When I asked him what a p-clip was, he replied “Never mind, you are too young to know what that is.” and walked off. I found myself angry, and highly offended. Benadryl and allergies are making me more cranky than usual, but the reaction was stronger than I anticipated.

P-clip, p-clamp, cable clip
P-clip, p-clamp, cable clip

On reflection (after a few seething minutes), my reaction makes some sense: I was accused of being unhelpful due to the ignorance of inexperience with a single specific term plucked from a dozen different possible disciplines, each of which have thousands of general and specific terms that can vary by age, experience, and even macro- and micro-geographically, then was dismissed in a manner to say that I was not worth the time to educate.  I did take some satisfaction from finding out that the older coworker next asked the Greybeard (probably twice my age, all years in multiple fields), and the Greybeard did not know what the older coworker was talking about either.

As a side note, I was able to find out what the older coworker was asking after in the time it took to fire off a single search engine query – had he felt that he did not want to or could describe to me what he needed, a wait of almost fifteen seconds could have brought me up to speed.  This is perhaps one of the great generational misunderstandings: that the Millennials and later generations have grown in and with the tools to quickly reference, absorb, and integrate data points.  Debate will continue on how this will help and/or hinder the underlying social and intellectual fabric of the future, but the ability to reference a single new and possibly strange term are undeniable.

I did address my concerns to the coworker – he felt they did not want to “waste my time” explaining it to me, and was surprised and concerned that he had caused offense.  I think when he made the comment he thought he was being funny.

Did I over-react? I dunno.
But I did learn something today.