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20-Somethings Think It's OK To Text and Answer Calls In Business Meetings 453

Posted by Soulskill
from the why-can't-you-play-angry-birds-like-everyone-else dept.
RichDiesal writes "In an upcoming article in Business Communication Quarterly, researchers found that more than half of 20-somethings believe it appropriate to read texts during formal business meetings, whereas only 16% of workers 40+ believe the same thing. 34% of 20-somethings believe it appropriate to answer the phone in the middle of a meeting (i.e., not excusing yourself to answer the phone — answering and talking mid-meeting!). It is unclear if this is happening because more younger workers grew up with mobile technology, or if it's because older workers have the experience to know that answering a call in the middle of a meeting is a terrible idea. So if you're a younger worker, consider leaving your phone alone in meetings to avoid annoying your coworkers. And if you're an older worker annoyed at what you believe to be rude behavior, just remember, it's not you – it's them!"
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20-Somethings Think It's OK To Text and Answer Calls In Business Meetings

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  • Then people can answer calls/check facebook/play minesweeper during meetings without being noticed.

    • by mwvdlee (775178) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:34PM (#45302635) Homepage

      Do 20-somethings even know what minesweeper is?

    • by Shatrat (855151)

      It's going to be hard not to notice the person staring into space and drooling.

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:05PM (#45303101)

      Ok, I am a 30 something year old so I don't fit into either demographics...

      However most of the time meetings are an out of date idea's. They historically worked because we didn't have a communication infrastructure that we do today. Conference phones where limited in the number of people on the line, issues with the person not being close enough to the phone to be heard and a slew of other communication problems, and before that it was very hard to get a bunch of people work on an idea, in a timely manner.

      But really for most meetings, the individual doesn't need to be fully mentally involved unless there is something important to them. It would be much easier to chat via a message system, you can see the stuff go across your screen, while you work on something else, until something important comes up you can can then review what went on and come up with an appropriate answer.

      the 20 somethings who grew up with this technology knows this and get very board during these meetings, as there is a lot of stuff that isn't important to them at the time that is going on. Now that said, It is still rude to disrupt the meeting with your activities, and if you are stuck at the meeting you should show some tact, but hopefully experience will clear that up.

      • by Tanktalus (794810) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:24PM (#45303413) Journal

        More time spent paying attention even when you didn't think it was important may have paid off on spelling and grammar. "ideas", "were" limited, "fully involved mentally" (ok, that one is probably debatable), "The" 20"-"somethings", "bored"

        That said, the road we've been going down for decades already, since even the 40-somethings were kids, is one of more and more stimulation, of lower and lower quality. A hundred years ago, kids likely had to invent their own games, or, if they had access, they could read. 40 years ago, it was TV. Today it's Facebook. It shouldn't be surprising to anyone that we've been training ourselves to require constant stimulation, with no regard for how good it is. Or, rather, we've stopped learning how to just be quiet and focused on the here and now, no matter how "boring" it might be. It apparently is also a helpful skill for being respectful of those around you.

        • Well excuse my Diagnosed Dyslexia, some things are not quite easy for me.

        • by dknight (202308) <damen&knightspeed,com> on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:35PM (#45303649) Homepage Journal

          I'm sorry, but that is largely a load of crap.

          I have had to attend a great many meetings in my day that were entirely irrelevant to me, my job, etc. There was no reason for me to be there, other than the fact that a manager wanted me to physically be there.

          Now, you can argue that I should not have to attend useless meetings, but the older generation is stuck on them and so we have little choice. That is not to say that no meetings have merit, of course.

          Being able to sit quietly in an irrelevant meeting isn't actually a particularly useful skill in the rest of life, so I can hardly blame anyone for wanting something to do or some other distraction during them.

          You may consider it impolite or disrespectful. I consider it disrespectful to make me waste an hour of my time because you feel the need to show your self-importance by calling unnecessary meetings and forcing people who have no need to go to them to be there.

          • by bob_super (3391281) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:46PM (#45303839)

            On the other hand, doing what your boss asks of you, even when it's wasting your time in a useless meeting, is your job!

            If the meetings prevent you from doing the useful part of your job, tell your boss. If not, sit there quietly, you're paid to take a break.

            • Exactly. If it was fun they wouldn't have to pay you to be there. This is where he goes wrong:

              "Being able to sit quietly in an irrelevant meeting isn't actually a particularly useful skill in the rest of life, so I can hardly blame anyone for wanting something to do or some other distraction during them."

              Yes it is a useful skill in life. It's part of how you stay employed. Your boss wants you in the meeting, so you are in the meeting. End of story. Wanting "some other distraction" is another way

            • by sjames (1099)

              It becomes a problem at review time when all the things you wanted to be doing instead are metrics used to decide your raise and sitting quietly in meetings while the boss talks about golf isn't.

              I agree they shouldn't be taking phone calls right there in the meeting, people are trying to sleep.

            • On the other hand, doing what your boss asks of you, even when it's wasting your time in a useless meeting, is your job!

              No it bloody isn't. If you've been hired as a programer, your job is to program. Read your contract.

              If the meetings prevent you from doing the useful part of your job, tell your boss.

              Good luck if you have a boss who values "meeting weight".

              If not, sit there quietly, you're paid to take a break.

              If you believe sitting totally bored in a meeting is a break then you a very strange person. Here

    • I go to scientific seminars. It's considered rude to be checking facebook or playing angry birds, yet falling asleep is totally acceptable. You can check facebook during a boring part to keep yourself awake and then start paying attention again if something later catches your interest. This is not true for falling asleep, you're out of it until people start clapping. But all the senior scientists have fallen asleep in a lecture while few of them bother bringing a laptop in, so it's abnormal and rude.
  • Kids today got respect!

    Oh and GET OFF MY LAWN!

    Hey wait, can you come back and show me how this new phone works?

  • I call BS (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:30PM (#45302557)

    Most of upper management is on their crackberry when anything remotely technical pops up in a meeting.

    • Re:I call BS (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SpaceGhost (23971) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:44PM (#45302787)

      I have to agree. Very few meetings would keep me from monitoring my email, being a tech lead you have to keep on top of things, and the excuse "well,I was in a meeting" means nothing if the department has lost connectivity. Monitoring or responding to social communications is not included, and even a call from the CEO would be taken outside the room. The balance is are you being responsive to your positions demands vs. ignoring them and being involved in non-work conversations, while being able to participate in the meeting so as to contribute as appropriate and retain or record information as needed.

      • by jythie (914043)
        I had a similar thought. I have found that while people need to exercise discretion in how they handle incoming texts/messages/etc, depending on what one's role in a company is there can often be an expectation that one will keep an eye on people trying to get a hold of them in case something is blowing up. PMs, leads, managers, support people, all of them might need to keep an ear to the ground in case something time critical comes up that would preempt the meeting.
      • by cusco (717999)

        There's this ancient business tradition where in an emergency technical staff can be called out of a meeting. Your company should try it some time. It actually works pretty well.

    • Yes. I attended meetings of the board of directors and it's normal behaviour to text. Detail, the average age of this board is above 40.

      If you answer a call, it better be important but people will understand

    • Re:I call BS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:02PM (#45303037)

      Most of upper management is on their crackberry when anything remotely technical pops up in a meeting.

      And there is nothing wrong with that. Checking their messages should not bother anyone else, so if they are not getting anything from the discussion, at least they are getting something else productive done. Even better is to have a policy that anyone can excuse themselves from a meeting anytime they have nothing to contribute or gain from staying. If you are talking in a meeting, and you notice lots of people checking their phones, maybe you should stop droning on and learn to be more concise.

    • Re:I call BS (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan (30335) <slashdot@wSLACKWAREorf.net minus distro> on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:38PM (#45303707)

      Most of upper management is on their crackberry when anything remotely technical pops up in a meeting.

      I think the primary problem is "meeting" is undefined.

      For a 2-person meeting (i.e., you and someone else), I think it's completely rude to text with a third person (that includes crackberries) - a one-on-one is a rare enough event that the person you're with should get your full attention. The rules get relaxed in more informal situations, but a formal business meeting with your boss, or your client, or whatever, no.

      For small group meetings, I suppose it's OK as long as it's not distracting. Especially if you're not really needed or not participating much. If you're a critical speaker, then don't waste everyone else's time by answering texts while everyone's waiting on you.

      For larger meetings, fine go along with it - half the people there already are. Just be cognizant of people around you and move to the back or something so you disturb less people.

      Yes, it's different rules for different situations. In small settings, no, it's completely a bad idea. In larger settings, it doesn't matter so much. If you want to play Angry Birds, go for it, as long as those around you aren't disturbed.

  • by gauauu (649169) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:30PM (#45302571)

    Maybe the young kids have just figured out what the older generations haven't, which is that meetings are often a life-draining waste of time? They could be answering their phones in passive-aggressive protest of being locked up wasting their time in a conference room. </snark>

    • by Spiked_Three (626260) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:35PM (#45302661)
      They are only a waste of time because of people who arrive late, do not prepare, and spend too much time babbling about stuff that is unimportant.

      Meeting can and should be about collaboration, with group participation, and getting something done. If you can not get that out of a meeting, fire the participants.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by h4rr4r (612664)

        No meetings are about powerpoint, useless droning on and wasting everyone's time. Meetings are the alternative to work for the people who schedule them.

        None of us is as dumb as all of us.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:45PM (#45302811)

          Good meetings and committees have a good chairperson.

          A good chairperson makes achievable goals, gives out assignments, and keeps discussions on task. He or she checks that assignments are done and makes reports of progress with measurable results.

          A bad chairperson lets participants ramble and never checks to see that anyone accomplishes anything.

          So when you say you go to bad meetings, what you're saying is that you have a bad chairperson.

          • goals, assignments, tasks, and progress are all things can occur 1 on 1. I assume your not talking about chairperson in a 1 on 1 meeting. Typically the only meetings I find valuable are the following: question/answer sessions with an expert, code reviews, and "no one leaves till the problem is fixed"
            • Maybe you have never worked on complex projects where it is important that everyone is on the same page, and where consensus has to be reached.

              It is basic maths. 2 people knowing what each are doing takes one meeting, 3 would take 3 meetings, 4 would take 6 meetings and 5 would take 10 meetings. Your way just doesn't scale. Oh and that assumes that the second person you talk to doesn't require you to go back to the first.

        • by swillden (191260)

          If a particular meeting is a waste of your time... don't go!

          If you're spending time in meetings that are of no value to you and your work and you haven't pushed back, that's your fault.

          • Yeah, but then you have "stakeholders" complaining to your manger that you're not reporting to their meetings, where they ask you one yes/no question after 30 minutes of talking about things unrelated to your job. If you got a choice between getting things done and not getting fired, you're going to choose the latter.

        • by Spiked_Three (626260) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:49PM (#45302867)
          Ever hear the phrase 'the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing' ?

          Something tells me you are an expert at it's implementation.

          Nothing of any significance gets built without chopping it up into smaller pieces and distributing the work. If you think that it is magically going to work together you are crazy. Smart meetings are the ones that pick the leaders and allow them to discuss and agree on an approach.

          I will agree dragging some low life insignificant code writer into them is probably a waste of everyone's time. It is more often done to try and prevent them from whining about how something was decided on later. "Who's the idiot that came up with this?" - harder to say that when you were involved. The point being if you are dragged into a meeting, it is probably because you are a 'leader' or a 'whiner'. At least that has been my experience.
          • by h4rr4r (612664)

            I would fall into the leader role, and again "none of us is as dumb as all of us". Good leadership is always better than trying to get everyone to agree on a plan, that plan will suck.

            My experience is that someone who makes assumptions like you just did is probably a blowhard who wastes others time with meetings because he needs to appear busy.

          • by msobkow (48369)

            There is also this little issue of on-the-job training. If the design decisions are made in meetings, and the juniors are exposed to those decisions, hopefully they'll learn about what goes into those decisions and the decision making process.

            But if they're busy crusing crackbook on their cell phone instead of paying attention, they're not going to learn shit. They're insulting everyone else and doing themselves a disservice by not paying attention.

            90% of life is boring. Get used to it, and pay atte

      • If you can not get that out of a meeting, fire the participants.

        I think my boss would be angry if I fired him. :-(

    • I agree that meetings can potentially be as you described but a potential major waste of everyone's time in a meeting would be sitting and waiting for so and so to get off their damn phone.

      I'm over 40 - here's my take: the texting? No problem. You may miss something in the middle of paying more attention to the phone than the current speaker but you're not really disrupting anyone else. A phone call? No way, people can not tune you out and the noise you are generating is unacceptable.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by intermodal (534361)

      I may not be a cell-phone-in-a-business-meeting guy, but I am firmly of the opinion that the more of someone's time you waste while holding a meeting, the more likely people are to find something else to do while attending.

      Most people who hold "meetings" in today's business world confuse meeting with lectures and slideshows.

      Watch anything where a meeting takes place from your grandparents' generation. Someone is in charge, someone is taking down the minutes, the presentations are quick, efficient, and unem

  • by ArsenneLupin (766289) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:32PM (#45302601)
    For me, taking calls is ok (but you get up, and talk outisde the door) if it's a work related call (on your work phone). That's why your employer issued you a mobile or DECT phone, after all...

    Texting, (and e-mailing, and web surfing, and just letting your thoughts drift) is ok if the meeting is boring enough :-) At our place of work lots of people do this, even older ones, if the meeting's dullness justifies it... (and can be construed as a discrete way of letting the chairperson know..., hehe)

    • by Korveck (1145695)
      That's fine for your company's internal meetings. You are only sitting with your co-workers and the setting is likely not very formal. But the article specifically says formal business meetings and that's another story. In these occasions you need to be more serious and show respect to people in the room. Texting or talking on the phone (even walking outside to do so) would be something to frown upon.
  • Pfft. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dtmos (447842) * on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:33PM (#45302607)

    Most 50- and 60-somethings I know think it's OK, too.

    • by cellocgw (617879)

      "Me, too." I see exactly zero correlation between age and use of phone/laptop during meetings. Part of it is boredom, and part of it is people's belief that they're too important to pay attention to the meeting itself. -- but I do agree that there are way too many meetings in my company.

  • by reve_etrange (2377702) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:33PM (#45302611)

    Ignoring any potential objective effects, wouldn't it make more sense to state, "if you're an older worker, remember that they aren't trying to be rude?" And then, maybe to say something, instead of judging silently?

    Basically the assumptions that the "correct" standard of behavior belongs solely to a certain group, and that others should be expected to be a priori aware of others opinions absent communication, are critically flawed.

    • by sumdumass (711423)

      Texting and msking calls shows you are paying attention to something other than the meeting and/or the contents of the meeting. Most people would consider that rude.

  • Is this a surprise? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:33PM (#45302613) Journal
    Part of the list of things I go over with my new hires is basic business etiquette. I spend at least an hour per employee on it. The most annoying thing I find is people who have a mother/father/significant other who expect them to always answer the cell phone when they call it. My experience is that a lot of people we hire have never worked in a professional atmosphere before... I'm not sure if this is because of our hiring practices, or is because of the general habits of today's younger workforce. If I am in a meeting I scheduled, and someone my rank or lower answers their phone, I almost always immediately end the meeting, to be rescheduled later. I run meetings so as to waste the minimum amount of time required for everyone; I expect the same from others. The public shaming seems to work well at my current workplace.
    • by tiberus (258517)

      Nope, not when they are raised with cell phones at the table.

      At dinner table...
      Dad: Put down your damn phone!
      Daughter: Umm... (points to my phone).

    • by AK Marc (707885)
      It's not directly an age or maturity things. The 20-somethings are more likely to be the one SME in a meeting. They'll go to a 1-hour meeting and say/do nothing. It's a complete waste of time. They are there for the 10% chance that someone will ask a question that needs a technical answer. Everyone's time would be better served by reserving the time and having them available, and if a question does come up, call them and ask them the one question, then move on.

      When 99% of your time in a meeting is a w
    • by Rich0 (548339) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:51PM (#45303925) Homepage

      Just a personal anecdote. I was invited to present to senior leadership at my company, and everybody in the room significantly outranked me. The previous speaker had taken a while after lunch to speak, and after I finished setting up several people were still not back from taking a break. I asked the executive running the meeting if I should go ahead and start. He told me not to, and that we'd go ahead and embarrass anybody who was late, which he basically then did (he didn't say a word, but I'm sure everybody who walked in noted the dead silence in the room). I was given my full allotment of time to present despite them being a few minutes behind on the agenda.

      The message I got out of this was that the executive running the meeting valued my time, and wanted those who worked for him to do the same. Everybody was well-engaged in the brief discussion following my presentation. The meeting had none of the usual distractions.

      I made a point to pass along feedback afterwards that I appreciated the way the meeting was run. My manager actually told me at our next meeting that she was asked to relay an apology from the executive for the waste of my time. It really had an impact on the importance I placed on doing a good job at work - leadership by example works.

  • by Animats (122034) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:33PM (#45302617) Homepage

    Today, you usually know who's calling before you answer. It may be appropriate to take a call if it's more important than the meeting. If you're in sales, a call from a major customer is probably more important than a meeting. If you're responsible for something operational, a call from someone reporting trouble is probably more important than the meeting.

    As for reading texts, if you're in a meeting and the current meeting activity doesn't involve you, it's an effective use of your time. This is more of a large-meeting thing. Large meetings are generally nonproductive anyway.

    • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:36PM (#45302679)

      Today, you usually know who's calling before you answer. It may be appropriate to take a call if it's more important than the meeting. If you're in sales, a call from a major customer is probably more important than a meeting. If you're responsible for something operational, a call from someone reporting trouble is probably more important than the meeting.

      Except in both of those cases, you would excuse yourself and step out of the meeting to take the call. You don't sit in the conference room and talk on the phone while the meeting is going on.

    • Today, you usually know who's calling before you answer. It may be appropriate to take a call if it's more important than the meeting. If you're in sales, a call from a major customer is probably more important than a meeting.

      Sure, but not in the meeting. Excuse yourself, and explain it's an extremely important customer call that absolutely cannot wait.

      And even if this is the case, you're still being rude... just with an excuse. The call may be more important to you, but the other people in the meetin

  • by catfood (40112) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:34PM (#45302637) Homepage

    I can imagine really young people in a chaotic startup texting and messaging in a meeting because it's how the meeting works.

    Think "war room" more than "board room."

  • Zero Tolerance (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rogueippacket (1977626) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:37PM (#45302695)
    I work in a fairly large technical sales environment, and we exercise a zero tolerance rule for our younger team members when we are out with clients - if you touch your mobile device for any reason beyond presenting content or sharing contacts relevant to the meeting, you will be reprimanded. Don't leave the device on the table, and don't even think about taking notes on your phone - anything that distracts you and forces you to break eye contact with your customer is a bad thing and makes you look like you're only half-interested in the people in the room.
    We will occasionally experience some belligerence after they have been reprimanded, but we always remind them that the best, most seasoned sales team members only need four things to close a multi-million dollar sale - pen, paper, whiteboard, and business cards.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      Which in many cases will look like your company is out of date. I make a point of throwing out business cards in front of sales drones who hand them to me. Send me your contact details via some more modern method or do not bother, I am not your secretary.

      • by scubamage (727538)
        Really? You make it a point to throw it out in front of them? Because it's that important that you prove how superior you think you are, and how arrogant and immature you actually are? It sounds like you're doing them a favor. Especially considering that you refer to someone doing their job as a "sales drone."
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          No, because they are wasting my time. If they cared about swapping contact details their are a myriad of ways that are convenient and not showy.

          Their job is generally to distort the truth and make purchasing based on feelings and shininess instead of facts and useful features.

    • by ljw1004 (764174)

      I have zero-tolerance the other way...

      If the presenter "shoots first" by making a boring or pointless presentation, I retaliate by taking out my phone and getting on with my other work.

    • by epyT-R (613989)

      As much as I hate being interrupted by someone's cellphone, this does sound dated...more like some inane thing you'd hear from some aging high school teacher. It's just a powergrab. Knock it off. I doubt you get much respect from your employees when lording it over them like that. If they're not hitting the metrics you want, then look at it on a case by case basis, but really, just about everyone expects cellphone use during meetings now. It's almost a necessity, as you've shown here, to the point wher

    • by tgv (254536)

      "a fairly large technical sales environment". I think I have found the WTF: salespeople.

  • Other way around (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:42PM (#45302761) Homepage

    Young folks know that business meetings are usually not actually important. Most of the meeting is spent addressing other people's concerns or bragging about some piece of information that the presenter feels is important, but is only trivia to most of the audience. If there's anything else, like a text message, that is perceived as a better use of one's time, they're likely to pay attention to that, rather than the meeting.

    Older folks would previously have just dozed off in meetings, or doodled on notebooks looking like they were paying attention. Now that older folks are likely to be the ones leading the meeting*, of course they feel slighted when their subordinates are devoting attention elsewhere.

    Another contributing factor is that young folks are more often the expendable workforce. They're the ones who are getting the longer hours and heavier workloads, being taught through their short careers that handling two problems at once is a minimum. There's a good chance that text message is work-related, and not responding would be the greater offense.

    * From TFA:

    People with higher incomes are more judgmental about mobile phone use than people with lower incomes

    ...which indicates to me that the older ones are the managers. On a wider study, this assumption may be invalid, as different industries have more youth at the top, but it appears this study covered 200 employees at a beverage distributor for its initial phase, and it doesn't reveal how many were used for the second phase. Not much hope for demographic diversity.

  • It's outrageous that a writer in modern times would so blatantly try to induce outrage in his readers. PEOPLE ARE TEXTING IN MEETINGS, THE HORROR!
  • Since 90% of what goes on in those meetings involves passive aggressive posturing and yammering, it doesn't surprise me at all. Now, if only these in charge of these meetings would graduate highschool already by letting go of idiotic things like strict dress codes.

  • If you're on call, it's appropriate to receive a notification in any situation. That's what it means to be on call, and a lot of young professionals are.

    If the notification requires response, it's then appropriate to excuse yourself from the meeting. Just like you'd excuse yourself to hold a person to person side conversation while someone else was presenting.

  • Over 40s (Score:5, Interesting)

    by inhuman_4 (1294516) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:56PM (#45302967)

    As a 20 something I'm eagerly waiting for these baby boomers to just retire so we don't have to deal with thier nonsense. There is nothing wrong with answering a text message in a meeting if your are not involved in the conversation and you don't disturb anyone else.

    Here is my list of stuff that is rude that over 40s do that I wish would stop:

    • Calling me on the phone and reading out a string of technical information. Put it in writing, put it in an email.
    • Print all of your emails. Sometimes other people would like to use the printer.
    • Complain that "new" technologies like version control are too complicated and therfore not worth learning (I'm not kidding).
    • Expect me to provide you, a programmer with decades of experience, with technical support.
    • Not knowing how to silence your phone.
    • Telling me how much fast/better you can do something than me. Nobody likes a braggart.
    • Grumbling about stuff people my age do, to my face.
    • If you have bifocals you don't need to take your glasses off and lose them.
    • Use Power Point.
    • As soon as you stop repeating all the stupid stuff I did when I was in my 20s, I'll get off your back. (jk)
    • Re:Over 40s (Score:4, Informative)

      by WillAffleckUW (858324) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:16PM (#45303265) Homepage Journal

      Actually, they are apparently not planning to retire.

      Studies show most Boomers in their 50s plan to keep working into their 70s.

      Actually, one of the interesting medical effects of eye aging is that you get better (near normal) vision if you take off the bifocals when things are within arm's distance. So taking off glasses is a good idea. Losing them ... maybe we should all get those chains that librarians and nurses used to have?

    • by houghi (78078)

      As a 20 something I'm eagerly waiting for these baby boomers to just retire so we don't have to deal with thier nonsense.

      When they do, you are the person people in their twenties complain about.

  • by Lord Grey (463613) on Friday November 01, 2013 @02:56PM (#45302971)

    The actual paper, in PDF format, can be found here [sagepub.com].

  • by Atypical Geek (1466627) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:00PM (#45303019)

    Oh, wait, we're already there:

    Selfies at funerals [tumblr.com]

    Seriously, people, learn some respect and manners. It won't kill you.

  • No, I'm reading e-books on Safari so that this meeting isn't a total waste

  • by Antipater (2053064) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:07PM (#45303123)

    Meetings? Check. Texting/modern devices in the workplace? Check. "Get Off My Lawn"-type generalization? Check. This article's author included practically every white-collar-environment cause of rage. And judging by the butthurt-ness of most of the comments so far, the troll was eminently successful. The only thing that could have improved it would have been to specify American 20-somethings, to get cross-ocean flaming as well.

  • by Tempest_2084 (605915) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:13PM (#45303213)
    I work at a large 'Top Ten' company and I see this sort of thing from just about everyone who is under 60 (the older folk seem to doodle on notepads rather than play on phones). It doesn't matter if it's a manager or an intern, if there are more than a handful of people in a meeting you're going to see this. I get tired of hearing exchanges like this day in and day out:

    Speaker: And what do you think about that Johnson?
    Johnson: (playing on his phone) Huh? What?
    Speaker: What do YOU think about this?
    Johnson: (glazed look on his face) Umm... Can you repeat what you said? I didn't hear you the first time.

    Meetings grind to a halt when this stuff happens. Not only is it rude to the speaker, but you waste everyone's time when they have to go through everything again. Everyone swears they can play on their phone and listen at the same time, but it doesn't work. I understand the occasional emergency call (my favorite was when we could hear the guy shouting "The babysitter is doing WHAT? Stop her before she gets out the door!". I still have no idea what that was about.) but your day to day activities (work related or otherwise) can wait until the meeting is over with. It's just common courtesy.
  • by ArbitraryName (3391191) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:14PM (#45303225)
    It's just what a given culture or group decides is the "right" way to act. If more people in that group feel a different way is instead what's acceptable, it eventually will be. "Rudeness" is simply violating a cultural norm. Ask a 70 or 80 year old and he'll tell you these young 40 and 50 year olds look like disrespectful slobs with their "business casual" clothes in a professional office. In some cultures if you admire the fountain pen someone was using it would be offensively rude for him to offer it to you as a gift.

    As the twenty-somethings who grew up with this technology expect it to be integrated into all aspects of their life, it eventually will be as they ultimately become the managers and CEOs. Of course, they'll probably find a new thing to complain about "kids these days" doing, even if it's not texting during meetings.
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:20PM (#45303359) Homepage Journal

    They are self-centered and everything is about them, and them only. Common courtesy and respect are gone in that generation..

    Do that around me in the office and you are fired, or at the least off the project. Do it around me personally, don't expect to be a friend.

  • by substance2003 (665358) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:29PM (#45303513)
    You know I recall a few years ago about an article stating how kids in college would be texting during classes and tests (yes those critical things you need to do to pass your courses) to the point where teachers had to expel them during tests after more than one warning wasn't enough to get them to stop using their cell phones.

    I'm thinking this is simply the evolution of those same kids now entering the work force. I'm thinking this might be worth following to see if these same kids will continue their social ways in the next few years. Are we going to see them continue to text in their 30-somethings or will they eventually learn better etiquette?

    Heck! Will anything the next generation do irritate them? I imagine by the time they reach their 40s that the new generation will be watching videos (loudly) during meetings or something crazy like that and think it's as appropriate as this group seems to think talking and texting are now.
  • by ehud42 (314607) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:34PM (#45303637) Homepage

    I suspect (based on a loose study of my family), us older generation believes that the more important people to focus your attention on are the ones in your presence (at the table, in a meeting, etc) and that the person on the other end of the line can wait.

    Our kids however, feel that certain people are more important than others regardless of where they are. Their friends are more important than any boss or family that is nearby.

    And so, my wife and I will let the phone ring / answer machine take the call, ignore text messages / FB notifications, etc during supper.

    And my kids are squirming as if in extreme pain if their phone buzzes and we don't let them immediately see who it's from and if it's a friend let them respond.

    I'm not going to say it's a bad priority shift, but it certainly is an interesting one.

  • by jimbrooking (1909170) on Friday November 01, 2013 @03:59PM (#45304059)
    I became annoyed with an employee who received a LOT of cell phone calls during my infrequent, but necessary meetings with operations managers. Finally I placed a bucket of water by the door and as people entered the room and informed them that, as a security precaution, any cell phone brought into the room had to be placed in the bucket during the meeting. Thereafter, cell phones were left outside and out meetings became shorter and were not interrupted. Yes, I'm over 40, and I still think using a device for talking, texting, surfing or anything else when engaged with one or more live people is inexcusably rude.
  • by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Friday November 01, 2013 @04:13PM (#45304263)

    We're getting all of these conveniences and our society doesn't have the time to instruct people (kids especially) what is and isn't appropriate behavior. It's not just this. It's people taking snapshots of party goers doing something embarrassing, sexting, phone calls in theaters, etc. I was just at the coffee shop and a woman had one of those bluetooth headsets talking away while at the counter. Now, nothing is more annoying than standing next to someone when you can't tell if they're talking to you, the cashier, herself, or some hidden phone under their hair or on the opposite side of their head.

    However, society hasn't had the time to say "hey this pisses other people off so just because it makes irrelevant 5 minutes conversations convenient, wait until you're in private to use this device."

  • by locopuyo (1433631) on Friday November 01, 2013 @04:50PM (#45304807) Homepage
    If you look at the actual polling they didn't differentiate people that actually attend business meetings or really define what qualifies as a business meeting.

    If you look at how many 20-somethings are still in school, unemployed, under-employed, or just doing some type of non-office work you'll see that a business meeting is something completely different to them.

    Most people on slashdot probably think of a business meeting as a project manager meeting with some technical people in an office meeting room, but most people aren't working in an office as technical people or project managers. A business meeting for someone that works as a waiter or cook at a restaurant could be the manager taking 5 minutes to talk about upcoming catering events in the morning before you start doing work.
  • by TheRealHocusLocus (2319802) on Friday November 01, 2013 @06:35PM (#45306187)

    "Sick cultures show a complex of symptoms such as you have named... but a dying culture invariably exhibits personal rudeness. Bad manners. Lack of consideration for others in minor matters. A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than is a riot. [...] This symptom is especially serious in that an individual displaying it never thinks of it as a sign of ill health but as proof of his/her strength. Look for it. Study it. Friday, it is too late to save this culture... this worldwide culture, not just the freak show here in California. Therefore we must now prepare the monasteries for the coming Dark Age. Electronic records are too fragile; we must again have books, of stable inks and resistant paper. But that may not be enough. The reservoir for the next renaissance may have to come from beyond the sky."
    ~Robert A. Heinlein, from the novel Friday [wikipedia.org]

A CONS is an object which cares. -- Bernie Greenberg.

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