Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sympathy for the Gen Whiner

Siberia is proving to be not as cold and inhospitable as it could be.

As described a few post ago, I find my office space is a small meeting room, sharing a kitchen sized table with my old workmate from Bastard Bank, Dave, an interesting bloke called Peter and a Gen Y business analyst from a privileged background.

We get on okay, heads down, bottoms up, keeping busy, with a bit of chat to break up the monotony - there are far worse office mates to be had. We all agree, a proper desk each would far more ideal, especially as the three of us word nerds need a bit of space for paper. 

The most surprising thing we've found sharing this space is how Gen Y doesn't get Dave, Peter or my jokes. The three of us - two baby boomers and a Gen Xer, we talk the same language - or we have a similar patter. Dave, Peter and I remember some strange things, like when interest rates were at 17%, when Malcolm Fraser was Prime Minister, when Elton John was married - to a woman and when George Michael was fanciable (how did we not see it?)

However, this morning, Peter and Dave had me rolling my eyes with our dear Gen-Y'er. Never thought that would happen.

Something about daggy songs somehow came up before nine a.m.

Now, I'm pretty good with daggy songs, as is Dave.

However, how the hell did "My Boomerang Wont come Back" come up?
If HR heard us referring to this song we'd be hauled over the coals for racial vilification. 

And the other song that came up in conversation - Wangaratta Wahine.

Like where did that come from? However, Peter and Dave serenaded us with this song for five minutes.

The Gen Yer just didn't get it. Born in the eighties, he's never lived in an Australia where rampant racism was encouraged and such delights as the Paul Hogan Show were on television. I grew up where people with disabilities were vilified and had no choices. He grew up in a gentler, more accepting, more cosmopolitan Australia.

Thank goodness Australia has grown up in the last thirty years.

Saying this, I have recollections of the older times - an Australia where they were debating the boat people - in the seventies. I was born into an Australia where if you were 'different' you didn't fit in, although things were starting to change. I was brought up in an Australia where there was limited political correctness or equal opportunity. I look at the Gen Yer and think him lucky that he sees Australia as it is now, with the measures in place to give everybody a fair go, no matter your skin colour, sexual orientation or abilities. 

The four of us in this office are all very different. Our ages preclude us from talking the same language a lot of the time. Gen Yer, with his 27 years is four years younger than Dave's youngest son. Dave is older than Gen Yer's father. Peter and I sit in the middle, educated, erudite, European in sensibilities for much of the time, remembering a time where tertiary education was free and expectations were lower. We remember being students who lived in hovels, had nothing other than rent and beer money and worked crappy jobs to make ends meet between lectures. 

Gen Yer has knowledge of our experiences for the most part.

So, what can we agree on?

Other than Dave and Peter singing "Wangaratta Wahine" is not something that should be heard without half a bottle of tequila inside you?

All we came up with was that there are some things that are just too wrong for words.

This is one of those things.


Kath Lockett said...

We've all gotta have a shocker song to share. Rolf is a legend!

The Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pand,

OH MY GOD!! Has Rolf got no shame? Rolf Harris - the man who destroyed "Stairway To Heaven". Still, I like Rolf - "D'ya know whadidis yet?" And the legendary "Two Little Boys" and "Jake the Peg".

I remember Charlie Drake with "My Boomerang Won't Come Back" and I also remember early Paul Hogan (a man who incidentally shares my birthday") who became famous in the UK, before Crocodile Dundee, advertising Fosters.

All good stuff! Great post, Pand.




Jackie K said...

I'm a fan of Gen Y as you know - I generally think they're great.
You're right though it does feel funny to remember all these HUGE old things and the young uns can't relate.

Kath Lockett said...

I've tagged you for a meme -