Archive for the 'Globalization' Category

Generation Me

ETA: The following post is rather rant-esque because it is a hot button issue for me, so there is probably a lot of bias in it.

I first encountered the phrase and the book “Generation Me” at the 2007 Faculty Academy during Barbara Ganley‘s lecture. At the time I remember being struck by how many of the ideas (both good and bad) rang true to me. The millenial generation has been subject of much analyzing and I have heard ideas from both ends of the spectrum. I’ve heard everything from, the Millenials are the next “Great Generation” or they are a horribly self-absorbed generation.

Steve recently blogged about his view of the situation, knowing what his generation is like and being a teacher to the current generation of students. He says:

The younger generation seems to believe that they will be economically successful, whether or not they work hard, learn or save. And as a consequence, they don’t seem to be doing those critical activities very much.

I often get that sinking feeling that he is all too right. I’ll admit growing up in suburbia NJ I was very much in a bubble, I have never known real hunger or felt the threat of poverty knocking on the door of the two story house I live in. Assuming much of my generation has lived in considerable affluence it is no wonder that we have become lazy and are convinced of our own self-importance. I don’t believe it is entirely our fault because we did have parents who raised us and a society that made sure that we knew how special we were, because everyone is special and deserves a gold star.

One generation plants the tree the future ones receive the shade.

The future is rapidly changing and very few recognize that the job market will change and that people from poorer countries than ours (but not necessarily poor) will be willing to work harder than we do to get what they want. As a generation I am afraid that we just want to do the minimum amount of work to keep what we have already.

This problem shows itself in academia too. People complain that grade inflation has reduced the value of the diploma. It is fast becoming an item that can be bought by spending tuition on four years of school. Students are good at playing the game, we can manipulate and play the system for what its worth. I know because I’ve played it most of my life. The problem is the real world doesn’t care if we could manage to out maneuver teachers because when it comes time to face the music we will realize we don’t have the skills to do the job. Maybe it is a bit of an over-reaction to assume that all this will happen. I know I’m going at this with an angry attitude so my vision is a bit skewed.

Education has long been an important part of a sophisticated civilized society. College is not just about teaching people how to think critically for their upcoming Spanish exam, but to be able to analyze and question the world. It helps us ward off fear-mongering, so I’d even be careful about listening to what I have said in this post.

There are certainly good points about my generation, but there are those moments (like now) where I have my doubts that we will be anything better than average (or worse). We have so many advantages, more than most of the generations before us and the rest of the population. But we don’t utilize our advantages and it just drives me crazy sometimes. Not because I don’t see myself as part of the problem, but that all too often I catch myself being part of it too.

/End rant (didn’t mean to have two rant posts in a row, oh well).


Will my laptop finally be fixed?

Back in September my Toshiba laptop mysteriously decided it no longer thought its shift keys were useful and they promptly stopped working. I recorded my misadventures here and here and finally after all these months I’ve decided it needs to be fixed. Carrying around an external keyboard is not my definition of cool.

My original plan was to go back to the store where I purchased my laptop. I arrived at the store only to find that they were going out of business! I walked in and they recommended I call 1-800-CompUSA, well I wasn’t about to be bothered with that so I called up India, I mean the Toshiba Helpline, to see if they could give me the closest authorized dealer to fix my problem. Apparently the closest place is in Brooklyn and even though I certainly love my laptop, I am not about to drive to Brooklyn to get it repaired. So being the globalization savvy consumer I remembered that Toshiba has a program where you can go to a UPS store and drop off your laptop and they will take care of the rest. I asked the tech person about this and he transferred me to another department. On a side note, before I had called Toshiba I remembered the option of taking it to a UPS store, but I couldn’t remember if I had to call Toshiba first or just walk into the store so I did a google search and what do you know my own blog posts popped up (and yes I did have to call beforehand). I was given a service order and an address for the closest UPS store.

So with my service order number in hand I drove dutifully to the local UPS store, located right in my town. Apparently they don’t get a lot of Toshibas going out so it took them a few minutes to figure out the proper procedure, but we all took it in stride and we had it set to be shipped. It should take about 7 business days to get it repaired, but knowing my luck I’ll probably get a call saying that my laptop was swept away in a spontaneous flood, but they’ll send me two new shift keys free of charge!

For now I am stuck using the slower than molasses family computer. Thank goodness for online tracking of shipments, that way I can know when my baby laptop is coming home. I think I am already showing signs of withdrawal.

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