Questions to ask yourself
How do you know if you’re a dinosaur? Well, here are some traits to watch for:
1. Do you have a dumb phone…and are proud of it?
Smart phone be damned! Your phone lets you text, take pictures and make calls. That’s all you need.
2. Do you know there might be an app for that but you’d have to check with your son, daughter, grandchild or 10-year-old neighbor?
If you have a smart phone, younger folks are always a few steps ahead and love to tell you about apps that could save you time, money, of whatever.
3. Do you have to look up texting abbreviations? LOL.
Think LOL means “lots of luck” like it used to? Google it. It now means “laughing out loud.”
4. Do you automatically double-space after a period?
Did you know that double-spacing after a period (.) is a sure sign that you’re old, out-of-touch, etc.? The double-space rule originated when typewriters were prevalent. Single spacing is now the norm although the explanations of why this is the case vary. At any rate if you learned to type on a typewriter and had it drilled into you to double-space after a period, you’re in danger of being labeled a dinosaur.
5. Do you prefer maps to Nav/GPS programs?
And you probably like real books rather than e-books. Maybe it’s that tactile thing, or maybe you hate that Nav system voice telling you what to do.
6. Do you remember using things like dial telephones, B&W TVs, VHS tapes, fax machines…?The list goes on and on.
Yup, and you walked fifteen miles to school in the driving snow or blazing sun or both.
7. Would you rather pick up the phone and talk to someone than send an email?
Email is great. You can communicate when it’s convenient for you, and the other person can answer when it’s convenient for her/him. But emailing lacks something…like contact with a real human being. Phone calls are better. At least you can hear tone and inflection. Fact-to-face is best though. You can read body language.
8. Do you have trouble understanding the difference between emoticons and emojis?
And you don’t care. :)
What to do if you’re a dinosaur
If you answered “yes” to 2 or more of these questions you’re most likely a dinosaur or at least are beginning to show dinosaurish tendencies. What can you do?
- Accept extinction
Leave quietly but just leave.
- Become a curmudgeon
You know the type. Begin each sentence with “in my day we used to…” or “I remember when…” or “Things have sure gone to ___ lately.” Warning: you may notice people avoiding you.
- Go with the flow and acknowledge that some new things are good. Like microwaves, PDFs, caller ID, even texting.
Change is inevitable. It’s part of life. So accept it, try to find the benefit and move on.
What to do when faced with a dinosaur
Again, we’re not talking Jurassic World here. (If faced with actual velociraptors, call Chris Pratt.) But at work you may have to deal with someone you suspect is a dinosaur. Maybe a boss. Maybe a colleague. Maybe a direct report. How do your handle someone like this?
- Don’t be condescending.
Even if someone doesn’t know what UX means and isn’t up on the latest pop culture references, they may not be stupid. And even if it turns out they are, they still deserve to be treated with human dignity.
- Look for common ground.
Family, movies, the weather, work issues. Try conversing. You may find things in common. You also may uncover things not in common but worth knowing.
- Recognize that even a dinosaur may have something to add.
Ignorance of cultural references aside, an older professional may have learned a thing or two over the years. Valuable things. Things that can help you.