Estremera: Counting my blessings

IN a dinner with very old friends that I had to cut short because I had some staff to "counsel" after dinner, my wine buddy Martin asked, "Ano ang kina-counsel mo?"

"Life in general," I said.

He gave me a blank look, I had to remind him of an earlier discussion we had about what he can do to improve office dynamics in his company and I told him that human resources management is important because millennials, the present work-force, have a lot of issues we would have scoffed at when we were at their age.

Several times I told my staff and friends that I'm happy I was born in the decade that I was. The young ones and unevolved older friends may snicker at my having passed the half-a-century mark, but I find joy in that especially because I chose to be a journalist.

Imagine, you have seen and handled them all, from typewriters to laptops, and of late, mobile phones. From linotype to web offset. From IBM electric typewriters to desktop publishing. From process camera to negatives to color separation to computer-to-print. I'm sure I've lost the millennials at this paragraph. They who may have seen a typewriter at the most.

From tape recorders the size of 20 first-generation Apple iPad stacked one on top of the other and an accompanying camera that you have to go to the photo store or the darkroom to print, to just your mobile phone doing everything from taking photos to recording. Imagine, I even learned darkroom techniques, when the room in the word was a real room, not an app.

But more than actually having seen and worked my hand on these ancient tools of the trade, I am grateful for not having been born in the age of social media.

"Depression is very common among the young now," a friend who handles a department said.

"It's social media," I said. "Can you imagine looking at all those happy photos, food, gifts and travels your friends share when you do not have a single photo of any of that to share that's just as good or awesome? "

Now imagine yourself as a young child, the same child who had felt that twinge of envy because your classmate had the complete set of Nancy Drew books and your parents can't even afford to buy you one. Multiply that over at social media, then it becomes more than Nancy Drew books. There is about a gadzillion of things the world wide web can show to trigger envy... consequently, depression.

Then that ubiquitous number of likes.

Our generation was more, "Did you see that?" This successor-generation is more, "It's awesome and mine, like it." We are wired differently.

Then there's the bucket list, and all other stuff. Friends have been there, and so they set their sights and hopes on being there too. But this present life has made not just communication reach beyond once unimaginable distances, it also allowed people to travel in places we never thought anyone would travel to, much more work in.

Just last Thursday, I was in a dive boat with a young Dabawenya who works in Czech Republic, and my mind was shouting: "Who the hell goes to Czech Republic to work?" But since that doesn't sound polite, all I was able to contribute to the conversation of getting to know each other was, "It's cold there, right?" (Yes, I suck at conversations with new strangers and acquaintances).

But that's today's generation and for those of my age who are running a department or a company, yes, it helps if you extend some time to sit down and talk and listen and advise like you've never done before. Because this generation gap is as wide as the World Wide Web can span.

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