10 Ways The Work Environment Has Changed

Oh my, how things have changed.

That's what keeps running through my mind as my 20-something daughter describes the office culture at her brand new job. Long story short: her work environment bears little resemblance to my job when I was her age.

Granted, I am comparing my position at a stodgy bank decades ago to her job at a cutting edge tech company.

But still. I marvel at the differences. Here are just a few.

1. How You Got the Interview

Then: I scoured the Sunday paper's Help Wanted section and circled the possibilities in red marker. Typed up a cover letter and resume and sealed it in a business size envelope. Postage was $.18.

Now: Elle ran into a friend of a friend who worked at the company, put in a good word after she applied online, and boom.

2. The Vetting Process

Then: I supplied the names of three references who were contacted by phone.

Now: No references required. LinkedIn served the purpose.

3. The Introduction

Then: My boss asked his secretary to take me around to meet the staff. As we walked from office to office, she would tell people, "Helene is in the cubicle next to the elevator and can be reached at ext. 3245."

Now: Elle's boss circulated an email. "Please welcome Elle to our team. You can follow her on Twitter @Elle123."

4. Who's the Boss?

Then: A white-haired gentleman in Brooks Brothers suits and an abundance of aftershave who had decades of experience in the industry, took many three martini lunches, and had his secretary buy Christmas gifts for his wife.

Now: Elle's boss is 30 years old. Which is just about the average age of the staff there.

5. What to Wear?

Then: The dress code called for a conservative suit, preferably a skirt and jacket (no pants ever), nylons, button down blouse and ... wait for it ... flouncy bow tie.

Now: Jeans are acceptable.

6. Office Equipment

Then: I got a fancy new IBM Selectric typewriter.

Now: Elle was given the choice of either a PC or a Mac, with two monitors for maximum viewing.

7. Hunger Games

Then: If I was starving, a candy bar in the vending machine down the hall would have to suffice.

Now: Elle's office has a Keurig for hot beverages, also cold drinks and snacks that are free for the taking.

8. Let's Get Social

Then: My first week at the job I was taken out to lunch by the boss. He had steak and a martini. I had a chef's salad and a Tab.

Now: Elle and another new employee were officially welcomed at an office Happy Hour.

9. Hours of Operation

Then: Strict enforcement of 9 to 5. I remember watching the analog clock on my wall as it ticked slowly towards quitting time.

Now: Starting and ending times are fungible, depending on the workload, and working remotely is an option.

10. The Commute

Then: I took the train and read the newspaper.

Now: Elle rides the subway and hooks into her electronic devices.

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

7 Ways To Smooth Over The Age Gap At Work (Or How To Behave If Your Boss Is Your Kid's Age)