The tech game can feel like it's dominated strictly by the young, but technology is for anyone who loves to learn and those who are young at heart. Recently I learned there are currently 5 generations in the workplace, all moving, thinking, and decision making together. Could there be a more exciting opportunity to see the kingdom overtake our workspaces? Particularly in tech, which in one form or another, from our phones, to smart houses, to cities with public wifi on every corner, touches our daily lives.
Chip Conley, a brilliant boutique hotel entrepreneur who partnered with Airbnb as the company was first launching itself onto the market (and was a good 20 years senior than every other employee) had this to say in his September 2018 Ted Talk:
“The more I've seen and learned about our respective generations, the more I realize that we often don't trust each other enough to actually share our respective wisdom. We may share a border, but we don't necessarily trust each other enough to share that respective wisdom. I believe, looking at the modern workplace, that the trade agreement of our time is opening up these intergenerational pipelines of wisdom so that we can all learn from each other.”
“Maybe it's time we actually valued wisdom as much as we do disruption. And maybe it's time -- not just maybe, it is time -- for us to definitely reclaim the word "elder" and give it a modern twist. The modern elder is as much an intern as they are a mentor, because they realize, in a world that is changing so quickly, their beginner's' mind and their catalytic curiosity is a life-affirming elixir, not just for themselves but for everyone around them.”
“Maybe it's time we retire the term "knowledge worker" and replaced it with "wisdom worker".... we can operate like separate isolationist countries, or we can actually start to find a way to bridge these generational borders. And it's time for us to actually look at how to change up the physics of wisdom so it actually flows in both directions, from old to young and from young to old.”
No matter your age, or your background for that matter, if you are stepping into the world of tech, what you bring is important. Not only the knowledge or the technical skills that you bring, but the wisdom and life experience that are unique to you. Today think of yourself as a pipeline, as as a fountain that is going to flow out to others in a powerful way. No matter the generation you come from, or how old you are, you have something valuable and important to contribute to the world of technology. Sometimes that looks like writing code that is transformative; while other times that looks like contributing to the human element, bringing wisdom, honor and love where it wasn’t before. We need both.