I was perusing the internet as I always do and came across this post that just struck me in a way that I hadn’t thought of before. For those of you that didn’t just click away, the crux of the post says that, as millennials we may not have a clue what we’re doing, but leave us alone with a computer and an uninterrupted 30 minutes and we can figure out *almost* anything. And while someone who commented on the original post noted that he was upfront with his boss about how he just Googles things when he is asked to do something he doesn’t fully understand. His boss responded with, “Yes, but the fact that you think to do that – and that you know exactly how to phrase your searches and how to sift through the results to get the right answer, and you then integrate what you’ve learned and use it going forward – is still so much more than any of the rest of us can do.
To you, it’s “just googling stuff,” but it’s still a unique and valuable skill you bring, so don’t shrug off the compliments so cavalierly, okay?”
I was taken aback after reading that. In millennial terms, “I was shook.” Growing up in the digital age provided our generation with the opportunity of a lifetime. I can’t imagine living in the 15th century, having a question about Joan of Arc and never getting an answer. People died with so many unanswered questions. But today we sit on a throne of information. In milliseconds, we can know almost anything about anyone, yet the majority of the time, we are searching for cute puppy videos. I’m not bashing anyone, I’m just pointing out the humor in the whole situation.
Back to the workplace. I’ve personally seen this in effect in my job and can honestly say this is still what differentiates employees. My office is young, the average age is probably around 30-32, but that doesn’t mean that everyone is able to manipulate the trillions and trillions of datapoints that Google provides in order to find an accurate answer. I bet we all remember an English course we took at some point in junior or high school where we had to prove that our source for a research paper was a credible source. You probably hated doing that. When I was in school I felt like this was the most annoying part of the process. I thought to myself, “No one’s going to go out of their way to write an online article about Julius Caesar that’s just blatantly false, of course this is a trustworthy source.” And while, maybe no one did that about him, when it comes to 2017, they most certainly will about anything. Have you ever thought how many times you’ve subconsciously gone through that mini checklist in your head to determine if a website or news article you’ve stumbled upon is a valid source?
- Sources are listed
- Domain Name
- Site Design
- Writing Style
But now, its not just limited to those 6 things. You’ve got to look at so many other factors in order to determine if you can trust it. This process is so engrained in our minds we may not even realize we’re going through the steps. This constant checking for validity is so intermixed with our process of elimination that what we call “just googleing stuff” is an incredibly difficult process for someone who grew up when only books were considered credible. Its a whole different way of learning and collecting data.
All in all, what I want you to take away from this little rant is this:
Don’t undervalue your abilities, however trivial they may seem to you. It may just look like a staircase to you, but for others its Mount Everest.