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Opinion Editorials

Boomer.email is a scary look into all generations mindsets

(EDITORIAL) Boomer.email exposes problematic email chains circulating amongst the Baby Boomers, and subsequently how relentlessly unforgiving Millennials are of them.

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boomer.email

Remember email chain letters circa 2002? It was perhaps the predecessor to the meme, where people would receive long emails with jokes, riddles, astrological advice, conspiracy theories, and other Internet-inspired nonsense? Well, they’re back. Or rather, they never left the email ethos for those born roughly 1944 to 1964.

I’m talking about Boomer.email. Boomer.email is the latest provocative content by MSCHF, a Brooklyn-based web-cult of pithy Internet nerds that may or may not classify themselves as a company.

MSCHF creates a new “drop” every two weeks of something completely out-of-pocket and weird, with the aim of producing social commentary prioritized over profit. Their most famous antic was probably the 2019 release of Jesus Shoes – custom Nike Air Max 97s shoes containing holy water from the River Jordan in the soles. The group, which is 90% male and 100% Millennial and Gen Z, produces a “portfolio [which] may amount to a very successful string of viral marketing campaigns, a series of jokes or something like art.”

Boomer.email, according to the website, is “a weekly newsletter where we forward unhinged email chains sourced from thousands of real, anonymous boomers.” The categories are Memes, News, Politics, and NSFW (Not Safe For Work). Email samples include a series of memes with Donald Trump’s face photo-shopped over images of Queen Elizabeth II, a long explanation of the conspiracy theory that China exported the coronavirus as biological warfare, and a supposed telegraph exchange between General MacArthur and President Truman where Truman defines political correctness for the general in order to mask prevent his Japanese racism from reaching the press. The exchange ends with a BUILD A WALL image and the text “Secure The Border” and “Make America Safe Again.”

All published emails are anonymous. Anyone can forward an email to ok@boomer.email.

If the goal at MSCHF (try pronouncing it, and you might get the name of the company, which I at first thought was a clunky acronym) is simply to create social commentary, it’s working. The emails are drawing praise and scorn from every corner of the Internet. Check out the following sound-bytes from articles reviewing the content:

“There is as much hilarity in the Boomer.Email newsletter as there is just pure sadness that a generation that gave us so much in the way of technology, infrastructure and wisdom has relegated itself to no much more than the brunt of jokes based on their ill-informed and quick-react emails.” (Forbes)

“Check out the website to read the first week’s emails in full or sign up to receive further newsletters for more evidence of how [expletive deleted]ed every younger generation will continue to be for at least a few more decades.” (AV Club)

“Unfortunately, many [boomers] don’t think to fact-check their personal emails. And if boomers can’t grasp documented history — which they lived through — with accuracy, it’s easy to understand why MSCHF, along with a majority of their millennial and Gen-Z cohorts, are so anxious about our future.” (New York Post)

And now, my own:

Shaming an entire population of people whose only common trait is their decade of birth is shameful and hypocritical. If Millennials don’t want to be pegged as collectively lazy and entitled, we should not be developing newsletters that paint Boomers as collectively ignorant and politically harmful.

Of course it is important to shine a light on injustice – there is no room to condone content that is downright bigoted (see racist examples above). As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

But when we are done clucking at the Internet-fueled ignorance of anonymous Baby Boomers, we must recall that civic engagement, productive discourse, and voting for our representation are far more effective and necessary tools for change. When we recall that Boomers are our relatives and colleagues — and if you are a Millennial, probably your parents – are Baby Boomers, Boomer Email presents us with an opportunity. It behooves consumers of this content to be critical, and take the opportunity to fact-check and start dialogue, rather than waste time simply mocking generational fodder.

Heather Buffo is a Cleveland native, a recovering Bostonian, and an Austin newbie. Heather is the Venture Growth & Partnerships Lead at Republic where she works with partners in private investing to democratize access to capital for entrepreneurs. Heather studied neurobiology at Harvard University, and is a City Year Boston AmeriCorps alum. She likes to write for AG, drink Austin beer, and ride around town on her road bicycle. His name is Pippin. Say hello if you see them.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Boomer.email is a scary look into all generations mindsets - Theamericanretiree.com

  2. kevin

    April 20, 2020 at 4:16 pm

    OK Boomer

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Opinion Editorials

Shady salary transparency is running rampant: What to look out for

(EDITORIAL) Employees currently have the upper hand in the market. Employers, you must be upfront about salary and approach it correctly.

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Man holding money in the dark representing false salary transparency.

It’s the wild wild west out there when it comes to job applications. Job descriptions often misrepresent remote work opportunities. Applicants have a difficult time telling job scams from real jobs. Job applicants get ghosted by employers, even after a long application process. Following the Great Resignation, many employers are scrambling for workers. Employees have the upper hand in the hiring process, and they’re no longer settling for interviews with employers that aren’t transparent, especially about salary.

Don’t be this employer

User ninetytwoturtles shared a post on Reddit in r/recruitinghell in which the employer listed the salary as $0 to $1,000,000 per year. Go through many listings on most job boards and you’ll find the same kind of tactics – no salary listed or too large of a wide range. In some places, it’s required to post salary information. In 2021, the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act went into effect in Colorado. Colorado employers must list salary and benefits to give new hires more information about fair pay. Listing a broad salary range skirts the issue. It’s unfair to applicants, and in today’s climate, employers are going to get called out on it. Your brand will take a hit.

Don’t obfuscate wage information

Every employer likes to think that their employees work because they enjoy the job, but let’s face it, money is the biggest motivator. During the interview process, many a job has been lost over salary negotiations. Bringing up wages too early in the application process can be bad for a job applicant. On the other hand, avoiding the question can lead to disappointment when a job is offered, not to mention wasted time. In the past, employers held all the cards. Currently, it’s a worker’s market. If you want productive, quality workers, your business needs to be honest and transparent about wages.

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Opinion Editorials

3 reasons to motivate yourself to declutter your workspace (and mind)

(EDITORIAL) Making time to declutter saves time and money – all while reducing stress. Need a little boost to start? We all need motivation sometimes.

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Clean work desk representing the need to declutter.

It’s safe to say that we’ve all been spending a lot more time in our homes these last few years. This leads us to fixate on the things we didn’t have time for before – like a loose doorknob, an un-alphabetized bookshelf, or that we’ve put off ‘declutter’ on our to-do list for too long.

The same goes for our workspaces. Many of us have had to designate a spot at home to use for work purposes. For those of you who still need to remain on-site, you’ve likely been too busy to focus on your surroundings.

Cleaning and organizing your workspace every so often is important, regardless of the state of the world, and with so much out of our control right now, this is one of the few things we can control.

Whether you’re working from a home office or an on-site office, take some time for quarantine decluttering. According to The Washington Post, taking time to declutter can increase your productivity, lower stress, and save money (I don’t know about you, but just reading those 3 things makes me feel better already).

Clutter can cause us to feel overwhelmed and make us feel a bit frazzled. Having an office space filled with piles of paper containing irrelevant memos from five years ago or 50 different types of pens has got to go – recycle that mess and reduce your stress. The same goes with clearing files from your computer; everything will run faster.

Speaking of running faster, decluttering and creating a cleaner workspace will also help you be more efficient and productive. Build this habit by starting small: try tidying up a bit at the end of every workday, setting yourself up for a ready-to-roll morning.

Cleaning also helps you take stock of stuff that you have so that you don’t end up buying more of it. Create a designated spot for your tools and supplies so that they’re more visible – this way, you’ll always know what you have and what needs to be replenished. This will help you stop buying more of the same product that you already have and save you money.

So, if you’ve been looking to improve your focus and clearing a little bit of that ‘quarantine brain’, start by getting your workspace in order. You’ll be amazed at how good it feels to declutter and be “out with the old”; you may even be inspired to do the same for your whole house. Regardless, doing this consistently will create a positive shift in your life, increasing productivity, reducing stress, and saving you money.

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Opinion Editorials

How to identify and minimize ‘invisible’ work in your organization

(EDITORIAL) Often meaningless, invisible tasks get passed down to interns and women. These go without appreciation or promotion. How can we change that?

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Women in a meeting around table, inclusion as a part of stopping gender discrimination representing invisible work.

Invisible work, non-promotable tasks, and “volunteer opportunities” (more often volun-told), are an unfortunate reality in the workforce. There are three things every employer should do in relation to these tasks: minimize them, acknowledge them, and distribute them equitably.

Unfortunately, the reality is pretty far from this ideal. Some estimates state up to 75% or more of these time-sucking, minimally career beneficial activities are typically foisted on women in the workplace and are a leading driver behind burnout in female employees. The sinister thing about this is most people are completely blind to these factors; it’s referred to as invisible work for a reason.

Research from Harvard Business Review* found that 44% more requests are presented to women as compared to men for “non-promotable” or volunteer tasks at work. Non-promotable tasks are activities such as planning holiday events, coordinating workplace social activities, and other ‘office housework’ style activities that benefit the office but typically don’t provide career returns on the time invested. The work of the ‘office mom’ often goes unacknowledged or, if she’s lucky, maybe garners some brief lip service. Don’t be that boss that gives someone a 50hr workload task for a 2-second dose of “oh yeah thanks for doing a bajillion hours of work on this thing I will never acknowledge again and won’t help your career.”  Yes, that’s a thing. Don’t do it. If you do it, don’t be surprised when you have more vacancies than staff. You brought that on yourself.

There is a lot of top-tier talent out there in the market right now. To be competitive, consider implementing some culture renovations so you can have a more equitable, and therefore more attractive, work culture to retain your top talent.

What we want to do:

  1. Identify and minimize invisible work in your organization
  2. Acknowledge the work that can’t be avoided. Get rid of the blind part.
  3. Distribute the work equitably.

Here is a simple example:

Step 1: Set up a way for staff to anonymously bring things to your attention. Perhaps a comment box. Encourage staff to bring unsung heroes in the office to your attention. Things they wish their peers or they themselves received acknowledgment for.

Step 2: Read them and actually take them seriously. Block out some time on your calendar and give it your full attention.

For the sake of demonstration, let’s say someone leaves a note about how Caroline always tidies up the breakroom at the end of the day and cleans the coffee pot with supplies Caroline brings from home. Now that we have identified a task, we are going to acknowledge it, minimize it, and consider the distribution of labor.

Step 3: Thank Caroline at the team meeting for scrubbing yesterday’s burnt coffee out of the bottom of the pot every day. Don’t gloss over it. Make the acknowledgment mean something. Buy her some chips out of the vending machine or something. The smallest gestures can have the biggest impact when coupled with actual change.

Step 4: Remind your staff to clean up after themselves. Caroline isn’t their mom. If you have to, enforce it.

Step 5: Put it in the office budget to provide adequate cleaning supplies for the break room and review your custodial needs. This isn’t part of Caroline’s job description and she could be putting that energy towards something else. Find the why of the situation and address it.

You might be rolling your eyes at me by now, but the toll of this unpaid invisible work has real costs.  According to the 2021 Women in the Workplace Report* the ladies are carrying the team, but getting little to none of the credit. Burnout is real and ringing in at an all-time high across every sector of the economy. To be short, women are sick and tired of getting the raw end of the deal, and after 2 years of pandemic life bringing it into ultra-sharp focus, are doing something about it. In the report, 40% of ladies were considering jumping ship. Data indicates that a lot of them not only manned the lifeboats but landed more lucrative positions than they left. Now is the time to score and then retain top talent. However, it is up to you to make sure you are offering an environment worth working in.

*Note: the studies cited here do not differentiate non-cis-identifying persons. It is usually worse for individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community.

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