This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

February 16, 2005

Need Tech Support? Ask a Kid.

Recently, we received an article forwarded from one of our daughters, the Millennial, of course. Originating in the United Kingdom and published on line by the British Broadcasting Corporationís Magazine (BBC News), the article talks about parents depending on their children for IT support. She was obviously sending us a message. She wanted us to know that we arenít the only parents to ask/beg for help from our children.

It is a fact that most parents in developed countries are less familiar with technology that their children. When you consider that our teens have never lived in a world without computers, it is only reasonable. Many of our children touched their first keyboards before they took their first steps. Most of them began playing computer games as toddlers. They have been honing their abilities to size up situations and troubleshoot problems for years. So now, whether it comes to installing programs or solving technical problems, our children usually know just what to do.

Why are parents turning to their children? Two reasons. Our childrenís help is usually either free or inexpensive and second, itís usually accessible without waiting for hours for a computer technician to arrive.

Some children even use the Remote Assistance feature to help from wherever they are. With this feature, the son or daughter may remotely ďtake controlĒ of the parentís computer, run programs and even troubleshoot problems in real time.

One mother in the United Kingdom exchanged free tech support for a yearís supply of chocolate chip cookies. Another father exchanged rebuilding the computer for help with help with plumbing, HVAC, and electrical systems.

We trust that children who are saying know realize that they may someday be in the same position.

What is most interesting about this trend is what it means for the workplace. We have discussed "reverse apprenticeships" We have witnessed these relationships in workplaces. As our business lives become more complex, expect to see a substantial increase in reverse apprenticeships. More and more World War II and Baby Boomer folks will call on their children or other young people for help.

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