'Nek minnit' I'm 'shook' by Generation Z

'Nek minnit' I'm 'shook' by Generation Z

Once upon a time, teenagers didn't exist.

You just went from a child under your parents' wing to your first kiss, marriage and - kaboom - children of your own. Repeat the cycle.

Now, it seems, the world moves so fast that each generation has its own name.

I didn't pay much attention to this until a gen z (born 1995 to 2012) representative moved into the desk next to me.

I am a gen x-er myself (1965-76), married to a baby boomer (1946-64) and with a child who is a gen z. Many co-workers in the past few years have fit into the gen y category (1977-94).

I thought I was pretty well across this cross-generational thing. I had begun to feel a little old, a little dusty, a little like grandma's lamp shuffled into the corner where it might go unnoticed - but thought I knew just enough to be relevant and to keep up.

When Miss Gen Z moved her handbag on the other side of the desk divide, I learnt otherwise.

I have not hit such a learning curve at work since the last technology upheaval (alright so that happens regularly).

Miss Gen Z is a vastly different prospect to myself at that age.

"Am I the youngest person you've ever worked with?" she asked.

Definitely not. But she is the youngest person I have worked with since I hit this advanced age.

Miss Gen Z has taught me that the world is no longer as I know it. At age 21, I was vastly irresponsible in my nutrition and lifestyle choices. Weekends were an exercise in how quickly you could spend the pittance you had made at work during the week. Mondays were hangover day, Tuesdays were the longest day in the world. Breakfast usually came in a styrofoam box.

Miss Gen Z brings her colour palette from the food pyramid to work in a Tupperware container each day, saves her pennies and has strong views on the sanctity of marriage.

It has taken me half a century to learn those things.

But it is in culture that I have learnt the most from my new neighbour. I had no clue how much of our world had been reinvented by memes and youtube.

As a person who has made a living out of English all her life, I have now become convinced that our language evolves.

I'm absolutely shook by this discovery. Don't correct me. That's how you say it apparently.

Did you know a word can be invented by someone "yeeting" something across a school corridor? Or that you can make a crappy little video, and "nek minnit", you're famous around the world?

I've also learnt other things that have new names in popular culture that I can't really share here. I feel like I have joined a club.

You're truly never too old to learn. Only problem is, sometimes you're too old to use it.