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10 Things You Suffered Through That Your Kids Will Never Understand

10 Things You Suffered Through That Your Kids Will Never Understand

When you were growing up, you probably hated hearing adults telling stories about the “good old days”—stories which somehow always turned out to be about how everything was so much harder back then. (So wait, what made them “good”?) Years pass, and now look who’s telling stories about the good old days! Let’s face it, with the explosion of technologies in the latter part of the 20th century, times really have changed. Today’s 30-somethings are the last generation to have grown up without computers and cell phones being completely ubiquitous. And if you’re in your 20s, you likely came of age during the Web 1.0 era. Either way, if you still sometimes think of the hashtag symbol as a pound sign, you’ll probably relate to these 10 things that today’s kids will never understand.

GameBoy-racist-ad

    1. Lugging around giant portable devices with calculator-style screens

    Even explaining what gaming used to be like to people who grew up with palm-size devices with HD screens is no easy feat. A friend of mine once tried to explain what the original Gameboy was like to two girls aged 7 and 8. “The screen was black and white,” my friend said. “Oh yeah,” one of the girls immediately replied. “One of my friends has the Nintendo DS in black and white!” “No no,” my friend had to backpedal. “The actual Gameboy was just like a big gray box. The pictures on the screen were in black and white.” But by that point, it was a lost cause—the girls were back to playing Draw Something on their iPads. Point is, graphics like the ones touted in this (pretty darn racist) ad were muddy and illegible compared to even the “dumbest” phone or gaming device you could buy now. And remember how before there was a backlit screen, Gameboy’s solution was the Lightboy, an unwieldy magnifying lamp that you attached to the already unwieldy device?

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    vhs-fbi-warning

      2. The epic struggle of dealing with VHS tapes

      Today, you’re a few taps or clicks away from the exact scene (or even the exact frame!) of whatever movie you want to see at any given time. Between YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and the rest of the web, even the most obscure TV episode can be rewatched. Back in the day we had the VCR, which kids today might recognize from the mountainous piles of tapes at virtually every yard sale. Getting a tape of the movie you wanted to watch was just the first part of the adventure. (Forget about TV shows—you’d need to catch a rerun, wait for syndication, or just try to remember what had happened.) In the days before Blockbuster, you’d generally have to get the one copy from your local video store. If the previous renter wasn’t kind, you’d have to rewind, which would eventually wear out your VCR, already one of the more finicky pieces of home technology. Want to see a particular scene? Hit fast forward, hit rewind, hit fast forward again, ad nauseam, as you watch a blurred version of the movie speed by. And if you spent too long with your favorite tape, you’d get hit with late fees, not to mention explaining to your parents why you just had to hang on to Encino Man for that one extra day.

      seinfeld-payphone

        3. Finding a pay phone—a working pay phone.

        Sit down children, and let me tell you a tale of what life was like before everyone had a cell phone. Need to call home to check in? Need to tell someone you’re running late? You had to find a pay phone… and then after you’d located a couple of pay phones, hopefully you’d stumble on one that was working, instead of ones where the receiver had been pulled off, the coin slot was jammed with gum, or worse. You also needed exact change, because the operator would soon be asking for it (and if you needed to talk more for than a couple of minutes, you were going to be hearing from the operator a lot). You were better off making your call quickly and moving on, so you wouldn’t aggravate the people waiting in line to use the phone behind you, or you’d wind up wasting 25 cents yelling at strangers to stop pounding on the door.

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        simpsons-vacation-slides

          4. Sitting through slide shows of your relatives’ vacation photos

          First of all, the “slide shows” we’re talking about are not a function in iPhoto (iPhoto didn’t exist). And no, this isn’t about PowerPoint. Back in the day, whenever some adults your parents knew went somewhere exotic like Hawaii or Washington D.C. or Sheboygan, you could count on an invite to come over to see their vacation slides. “Here we are in front of the Washington Monument.” (Click.) “And here we are next to the Washington Monument.” (Click.) And that’s if you were lucky! Chatty and/or photo-happy vacationers could force you into hours of staring at amateur pictures projected on someone’s living room wall. Sure, now everyone shares photos of everything via Facebook, but you can just look at them or not, and move on with your life!

          american-airlines-sorry-lady

            5. Calling the airline to plan your vacation

            You know how now you see TV ads touting travel websites that allow you to use one site to search airfares everywhere? Even finding out the fares for one airline used to be an exercise in patience and perseverance. In movies people just walked up to the counter, bought a ticket, and got on the plane. But in reality, things were much more complicated. If we wanted to see our grandparents, my mom would have to sit by the phone with a legal pad for hours, calling each airline to find out when the flights were, what the fares were, and so on. Sure, you could pay a travel agent to do it for you, but no matter what, you had no real way of knowing what you options were, at a glance. On the other hand, once you did get through planning your trip, you could check luggage without paying an extra fee, you didn’t have to strip down for airport security, and you’d get an in-flight meal (not saying it was good, but at least you weren’t paying for it). Sorry, American Airlines ad lady, a computer did replace you.

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            vacation-bad-directions

              6. Finding your way with giant folding maps and car atlases

              Road trips weren’t that much easier. Smartphones have made GPS units obsolete, and now plenty of new cars come with touch screens that plan out your route. Prior to all that, if you were headed somewhere new or you got lost and needed directions, it meant wrangling with a ginormous folding map or pulling out the trusty road atlas. Unfolding it was easy. Looking at it in the confines of your car was a bit less so, and required some maneuvering. Folding it back up into something the same size? Forget about it! (AAA still gives out free road maps, by the way, but these days hipsters use them as gift wrap.) If you were on a multi-state trip, chances are you used a road atlas—a spiral-bound book that usually gave you roughly two pages’ worth of maps per state, with insets showing you cities. It’s kind of a miracle that anybody made it anywhere.

              sixteen-candles-phone

                7. Sharing a single landline with your entire family

                Kids who have grown up in a cell phone-only home will never know the anxiety that comes with waiting forever for your crush to call, having to actually answer the phone every time to find out who’s calling. It’s your aunt? Got to wait ’til mom’s off the line with that big call. You finally pounce on the phone… and get to have a completely awkward conversation, because the phone is in the kitchen, and your parents and siblings are in there cooking, eating, eavesdropping, and so on. No matter how hard you tried, the phone cord (did I mention that phones had cords?) would only stretch so far, and it was inevitable that you were going to be overheard. If you were lucky enough to have two phones in your house, you had to worry that your sneaky little brother could be listening in on the extension! And when the phone bill came… let’s just say things could get ugly, especially since your mom probably told you it was impolite to call other people’s houses late at night, but late at night was when the rates went down.

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                netscape

                  8. Using your dial-up internet service… while someone else was on the phone.

                  Oh I’m sorry, kid—plain 4G is too slow for you? Clearly you don’t remember the days when dial-up was the only option, using your phone line to check out a Geocities page using Netscape Navigator or to make use of one of those free discs AOL seemed to send in the mail every three days. After a substantial wait and a bunch of disturbing sounds (like a fax machine breaking—wait, do you kids even know what a fax machine is?), you were finally free to join in your favorite text-based multiplayer game. At least, you were until someone tried to use the phone (you know, the one family phone you all shared). Half the time your connection was broken, and half the time your sister was screaming at you that she needed to use the phone. It’s basically the opposite of virtually everyone having a web browser on their laptops, their smartphones, and now, apparently, their wrists.

                  walkman-oh-man

                    9. Carrying cassettes around with you

                    If you didn’t want to listen to the radio (AM/FM that is, not satellite) or you didn’t have reception, your option was to bring your tunes with you. That meant that whenever you sat in the backseat of someone’s car, almost inevitably you’d have a crate of cassette tapes beneath your feet. Rocking out to your Walkman while you rollerblade? Well, you needed to pick out a tape and hope you didn’t get sick of it (unless you crammed a spare one in your fannypack). Eventually, the compact disc came along, and that changed everything. Instead of stomping on cassettes that littered the car floor, you could rest your feet upon a pleather-covered binder full of CDs. No more Walkman, either—now you could have a Discman, and experience the thrill of a device that was awkward to hold and that caused your music to skip every time you made a sharp movement. The whole listen-to-any-song-you-want-whenever-you-want thing still blows my mind. I feel like if I could travel back in time and tell my kid self about Spotify, I would blow their minds, too.

                    polaroids-instant-60-seconds

                      10. Waiting (and waiting) to see your pictures.

                      Okay kids, you know how your pictures look with Instagram filters like Nashville and 1973? Well, that is how pictures actually used to look. The biggest difference is that instead of being able to rattle off 30 selfies in as many seconds and see them all instantly on your phone, taking a picture was a pretty big deal. You only got 30 or so images per roll of film, so photos were reserved for special occasions (e.g., not just that you were in the bathroom and your hair looked really, really good). Did the photo come out? Were your eyes closed? Well, hope for the best — you’ll find out once you’ve finished the whole roll of film, taken it to get developed, and picked up the prints. Yeah, Polaroids were instant, but Polaroid film wasn’t cheap! No one was just snapping away with them. You probably have more photos saved on your phone right now than your grandparents took of themselves in their entire lives.

                      Featured photo credit: free photos & art via flickr.com

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                      Last Updated on September 28, 2020

                      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                      The Pros and Cons of Working from Home

                      At the start of the year, if you had asked anyone if they could do their work from home, many would have said no. They would have cited the need for team meetings, a place to be able to sit down and get on with their work, the camaraderie of the office, and being able to meet customers and clients face to face.

                      Almost ten months later, most of us have learned that we can do our work from home and in many ways, we have discovered working from home is a lot better than doing our work in a busy, bustling office environment where we are inundated with distractions and noise.

                      One of the things the 2020 pandemic has reminded us is we humans are incredibly adaptable. It is one of the strengths of our kind. Yet we have been unknowingly practicing this for years. When we move house we go through enormous upheaval.

                      When we change jobs, we not only change our work environment but we also change the surrounding people. Humans are adaptable and this adaptability gives us strength.

                      So, what are the pros and cons of working from home? Below I will share some things I have discovered since I made the change to being predominantly a person who works from home.

                      Pro #1: A More Relaxed Start to the Day

                      This one I love. When I had to be at a place of work in the past, I would always set my alarm to give me just enough time to make coffee, take a shower, and change. Mornings always felt like a rush.

                      Now, I can wake up a little later, make coffee and instead of rushing to get out of the door at a specific time, I can spend ten minutes writing in my journal, reviewing my plan for the day, and start the day in a more relaxed frame of mind.

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                      When you start the day in a relaxed state, you begin more positively. You find you have more clarity and more focus and you are not wasting energy worrying about whether you will be late.

                      Pro #2: More Quiet, Focused Time = Increased Productivity

                      One of the biggest difficulties of working in an office is the noise and distractions. If a colleague or boss can see you sat at your desk, you are more approachable. It is easier for them to ask you questions or engage you in meaningless conversations.

                      Working from home allows you to shut the door and get on with an hour or two of quiet focused work. If you close down your Slack and Email, you avoid the risk of being disturbed and it is amazing how much work you can get done.

                      An experiment conducted in 2012 found that working from home increased a person’s productivity by 13%, and more recent studies also find significant increases in productivity.[1]

                      When our productivity increases, the amount of time we need to perform our work decreases, and this means we can spend more time on activities that can bring us closer to our family and friends as well as improve our mental health.

                      Pro #3: More Control Over Your Day

                      Without bosses and colleagues watching over us all day, we have a lot more control over what we do. While some work will inevitably be more urgent than others, we still get a lot more choice about what we work on.

                      We also get more control over where we work. I remember when working in an office, we were given a fixed workstation. Some of these workstations were pleasant with a lot of natural sunlight, but other areas were less pleasant. It was often the luck of the draw whether we find ourselves in a good place to work or not.

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                      By working from home we can choose what work to work on and whether we want to face a window or not. We can get up and move to another place, and we can move from room to room. And if you have a garden, on nice days you could spend a few hours working outside.

                      Pro #4: You Get to Choose Your Office Environment

                      While many companies will provide you with a laptop or other equipment to do your work, others will give you an allowance to purchase your equipment. But with furniture such as your chair and desk, you have a lot of freedom.

                      I have seen a lot of amazing home working spaces with wonderful sets up—better chairs, laptop stands that make working from a laptop much more ergonomic and therefore, better for your neck.

                      You can also choose your wall art and the little nick-nacks on your desk or table. With all this freedom, you can create a very personal and excellent working environment that is a pleasure to work in. When you are happy doing your work, you will inevitably do better work.

                      Con #1: We Move a Lot Less

                      When we commute to a place of work, there is movement involved. Many people commute using public transport, which means walking to the bus stop or train station. Then, there is the movement at lunchtime when we go out to buy our lunch. Working in a place of work requires us to move more.

                      Unfortunately, working from home naturally causes us to move less and this means we are not burning as many calories as we need to.

                      Moving is essential to our health and if you are working from home you need to become much more aware of your movement. To ensure you are moving enough, make sure you take your lunch breaks. Get up from your desk and move. Go outside, if you can, and take a walk. And, of course, refrain from regular trips to the refrigerator.

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                      Con #2: Less Human Interaction

                      One of the nicest things about bringing a group of people together to work is the camaraderie and relationships that are built over time. Working from home takes us away from that human interaction and for many, this can cause a feeling of loss.

                      Humans are a social species—we need to be with other people. Without that connection, we start to feel lonely and that can lead to mental health issues.

                      Zoom and Microsoft Teams meeting cannot replace that interaction. Often, the interactions we get at our workplaces are spontaneous. But with video calls, there is nothing spontaneous—most of these calls are prearranged and that’s not spontaneous.

                      This lack of spontaneous interaction can also reduce a team’s ability to develop creative solutions—there’s just something about a group of incredibly creative people coming together in a room to thrash out ideas together that lends itself to creativity.

                      While video calls can be useful, they don’t match the connection between a group of people working on a solution together.

                      Con #3: The Cost of Buying Home Office Equipment

                      Not all companies are going to provide you with a nice allowance to buy expensive home office equipment. 100% remote companies such as Doist (the creators of Todoist and Twist) provide a $2,000 allowance to all their staff every two years to buy office equipment. Others are not so generous.

                      This can prove to be expensive for many people to create their ideal work-from-home workspace. Many people must make do with what they already have, and that could mean unsuitable chairs that damage backs and necks.

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                      For a future that will likely involve more flexible working arrangements, companies will need to support their staff in ways that will add additional costs to an already reduced bottom line.

                      Con #4: Unique Distractions

                      Not all people have the benefit of being able to afford childcare for young children, and this means they need to balance working and taking care of their kids.

                      For many parents, being able to go to a workplace gives them time away from the noise and demands of a young family, so they could get on with their work. Working from home removes this and can make doing video calls almost impossible.

                      To overcome this, where possible, you need to set some boundaries. I know this is not always possible, but it is something you need to try. You should do whatever you can to make sure you have some boundaries between your work life and home life.

                      Final Thoughts

                      Working from home can be hugely beneficial for many people, but it can also bring serious challenges to others.

                      We are moving towards a new way of working. Therefore, companies need to look at both the pros and cons of working from home and be prepared to support their staff in making this transition. It will not be impossible, but a lot of thought will need to go into it.

                      More About Working From Home

                      Featured photo credit: Standsome Worklifestyle via unsplash.com

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