Just Another Day, Make it Count - November 1, 2011
One Friday morning…L’Enfant Plaza, Washington, DC…I am not native to DC, been here 10 years now though. I was not an early adopter to the metro system, but I use it routinely now to see my federal coaching clients. I am not sure I actually ever exited this station, although it is a major transfer station. It is being remodeled with lots of shops and eateries. I observe five generations of citizens, tourists, expats roaming the corridors at 9:30 am.
A young millennial gent in a spiffy suit grins while walking with his lovely counterpart – makes me recollect when I was starting out in my career, so much was new and exciting. An energy I wish I could bottle. ”Why can’t I have it now?” Yes, the Generation Jones* that I am was screaming out then too! I have been watching the classic late 80′s series thirtysomething lately and episode 7 Season 1 featured the Home Shopping Network – “I need it and I need it now!” Yup. That was certainly my mantra! Although I wasn’t necessarily aware of it, or even did I question it.
I do recall my wise Grandma Lorraine always wondering why I didn’t just save up for it.
“Use a coffee can like I do!”
“But Gram, I have a credit card!”
Ugh, the beginning of the end. And what were the creditors thinking when they unleashed a card to me at age 19 with a the $5000 credit limit in 1982? I have more than done my part to keep the economy going and fund large bonuses for the banking execs. lol.
I digress, back to the Plaza. A Gen Jones man walking deliberately and focused, perhaps late to a meeting, but determined and happy it is Friday. A Boomer couple on vacation sitting and scouring the tourist map to plan out their morning. Mom and her young teen daughter heading somewhere as if on a mission; the Great Depression era represented as well, a woman heading to her job and I can only imagine she is celebrating 50 years there and she is proud of her service.
Another Traditionalist couple looking overwhelmed, I offer help.
A gentleman about 62 whistling and his gait almost a march as he breaks for coffee at Olympic Expresso, one of the only shops open while the facelift halts operations of this potentially bustling plaza.
A 50ish jolly woman juggling a vente double whip something snacking on a high calorie treat. A twenty-something woman, head hung low, could be her boyfriend forgot her birthday or her best friend went out with him.
So what do they call the music in the background these days? It was Muzak in my day – a piano concerto of some sort. Now it is Sirius/XM, Pandora, etc. are commonplace now. Those Millennial geniuses like Zuckerberg and fellow Gen Jonser Tim Westergren, providing a constant evolution/revolution of technology and customized recreational luxuries.
And Gen Jones genius Steve Jobs, RIP.
As I wait to enter my new clients’ office for the first time I marvel at what the slice of humanity I am observing today is challenged by, struggling with, elated about. On the heels of finding out a long time dear friend has been diagnosed with a malignant tumor, I can’t help but be reflective, grateful, yet in abeyance. We all soldier through our days, hopefully lucky enough to use the gifts we have to make a living, a difference, to influence those around us and learn something new every day.
I see back packs everywhere – I wish I still had my square mocha brown leather briefcase I got in 1985 when I first entered the workforce. It would be vintage! It was exciting, and scary. As are our times today.
Just another day, make it count.
*Per Jonathan Pontell, the man who coined the term of the in-between generation, the Ivy League’s Yale University now teaches Generation Jones in a course called: Managing a Multiple Generation Workforce, which addresses: the three prevailing workplace generations: Baby Boomers, Generation Jones, and Generation X. Many Universities in the U.S. and abroad now include Generation Jones in their curriculum.