Thursday, June 14, 2007

Still willing to learn

I had originally decided the theme of this blog was going to be issues of middle age, and had sort of let some of that go. I felt like I was sometimes looking for trouble where perhaps none existed in terms of age discrimination and stereotypes.
Now, though, with library school, I am making a significant investment of time and money, and I truly feel that some of the things I’m observing and hearing will be detrimental to me in tangible ways.
For example, in my Reference class on Saturday, the head of the library consortium in my state was a guest speaker. Although rather youthful looking, the references/dates he referred to indicated he is probably just a couple years older than me.
He referred to things such as blogs, wikis, Second Life, and social networking sites, and when he did, he mentioned that much younger colleagues were more involved in that. He would say things like "That’s not my demo." This is a person who has worked very hard and achieved great things in terms of libraries in our state. However, in addition to alluding that the aforementioned items were "young people" things, he also mentioned some things he wanted to do before he retired, went to the Caribbean, etc.
He certainly deserves that, but I’m not ready for that. I feel I have at least a good twenty years of working life left, God willing, if not more. I feel I’ve finally collected enough experiences in which to attach new knowledge. I meet many young people who, in addition to their very hard work, have lived much more privileged lives than my young life was. I had to collect some of their experiences later in life. Now I’m ready to use my collected experience and knowledge to latch onto some new experience and knowledge.
Also, I know what all of the things he mentioned are and try to involve myself in most of them at least minimally, just because I like to know what everybody’s talking about. I don’t like it when other people (of all ages) spread the misconception that people my age and older are doddering idiots who can’t press a few computer keys, ask a few questions, read a few articles and books and figure out what’s what.
I will also sometimes hear younger people talk about older people and attribute difficulties they experience with them in the workplace (or wherever) to their age. Uh, no…they were probably change-resistant, inflexible, domineering control freaks (or whatever their problem is) even when they were young.
More later.

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