So let’s get one thing straight, Baby Boomers – you’re not babies anymore. You’re in your 50s, so stop lying to yourselves. Oh, and in case you forgot, it was your parents that did all the booming. Stop taking credit for their hard work.
That said, you’re not quite the dinosaurs that young people sometimes make you out to be. It’s true that old people have trouble programming their televisions, and it’s also true that they invented disco and should never really be forgiven for that.
But it’s also true that some of their approaches to life and work are way, way better than they sometimes get credit for. Here are seven things old people do that you should too.
Picking up the phone once in a while. It’s not just for taking pictures, young people, and I promise the person on the other end of the line can’t actually eat you through the phone. I know it’s scary to have to actually talk one-on-one to another human being person, but give it a shot sometime. You’ll find out pretty quickly that it’s actually a lot more efficient than sending 45 texts back and forth. And who knows? You might even enjoy having a real conversation for a change.
Sticking with something for more than 5 minutes. I know that you think you’re a master at multitasking. All of us do, regardless of age. However, all of us are wrong. It is impossible to do 4 things at once and do each of them as well as we would if we just did one at a time. Besides, it’s a lot more relaxing to spend our mental energy focusing on one problem at a time than on 16. For example, old people tend not to text and drive. And you know what? They still manage to get where they’re going, and I’m pretty sure they’ve never lost a business deal because they waited 8 more minutes to reply to someone.
Writing something longer than 4 sentences. Twitter is great for something, I’m sure, but it’s not good for writing anything even as long as this paragraph. And texting is great for lots of things, but it’s terrible for having any in-depth conversation. (And if you’ve gotten into an argument via text because you forgot a smiley face or your auto-correct decided to screw with you, you’ll know what I’m talking about.) Old people know this, which is why they still write emails and make phone calls. (Argh! There’s that stupid phone call thing again!)
Picking one or two hobbies at a time and sticking to them. My grandfather played golf and collected stamps. (He also drank scotch, but since you can do that while playing golf and collecting stamps I’m not counting it as a separate hobby.) Your grandparents probably have one or two things that they really enjoy doing. And the reason they don’t have more is because they know that you can’t really get good at something if you don’t spend a good amount of time on it. If you’ve joined 43 kickball leagues and trivia nights and networking groups – or worse, if you’re trying to manage 14 social media accounts – then all you’re really doing is failing to excel at any of them. If you’ll notice, most billionaires are extremely good at a very narrow range of business skills – high finances, or commercial real estate, or SEO, or whatever. Sometimes, when it comes to being successful, less really is more.
Knowing when to stop growing their beards. There are still a few holdout hippies, but most old people have a solid understanding of the difference between “distinguished beard” and “I think that man might kill me.” Young people, I beg you – stop making me wonder if you’re about to kill me. I know I should be open-minded and all that, but it’s just…so…much…beard!!!!! If you need hard core evidence that beards are out of control, read this.
Writing thank you notes. After her first interview, my fiancée wrote twenty-six thank-you notes to everyone who interviewed her. (It was an absurdly thorough process.) She did it because old people told her she should. Fortunately we had a lot of wine on hand, because by the end of it she was pretty much over the whole thing. But you know what? She got the job. That’s not the only reason, of course – she also happens to be awesome and have great taste in men. But it definitely didn’t hurt.
Marching to other people’s drummers. I know that doing so is an affront to the very freedom on which this country was founded. But you know what? That freedom was won by soldiers, who absolutely marched to another person’s drummer. I mean literally there was a drummer there, and they all marched to whatever beat he played. Sometimes ‘taking one for the team’ isn’t a sacrifice; it’s a strategy for ultimately getting where you want to be. [Click to Tweet!]
There. I hope that makes the old fogies you work with (‘fogies’ is an awesome word, by the way) seem at least a little more useful than they did otherwise. That said, they also have a whole lot of really dumb habits. But don’t worry. I’ve got an article about that, too. 7 Things Young People Do That You Should Too.