We're sure you've all heard stories of how hard it was in “the olden days" to do a variety of things we do today with the push of a button, or maybe you've heard about how someone walked five miles in the snow to go to school. You needn't journey back that far to imagine the pure nightmare it would be for you without your cell phone, internet or GPS.
For those of you who grew up with these gems of technology, these tools are as ordinary as bottled water. But for those of us growing up in the 60s and 70s, before they were commonplace, we never felt the lack of something we never knew.
Let's journey back a little to the 1970s and take a glimpse at life without these tools. To make it more fun, how about doing some job-hunting? I've been through this process both in the 70's and currently, and I couldn't be more appreciative of how much easier the process is now.
1. You wake up and immediately scan LinkedIn or Indeed.com to see what's available, right? Uh-uh! You've no internet, so you must get dressed and go pick up an actual newspaper to check out the “want ads."
Remember, even before the advent of the internet, networking was always important when job hunting. If you know it will be kept confidential, let your friends and business associates know you're looking. Most of the jobs I landed were actually through referrals from former bosses, co-workers or friends who had moved on to other companies. It's a lot easier now to contact those sources by email or text than when I had to play telephone tag before I reached them!
2. After identifying some prospects, you write a quick cover letter with a resume and email it to your prospects. No, No! Without email, you'll manually type a cover letter and prepare a resume. No computers yet.
Ugh, I remember when I had to do this. You might type your resume and then realize you wanted to change or reorder part of it, or maybe you wanted to experiment with different fonts (yes, Selectric typewriters had a changeable typeface). There was no cutting and pasting or selecting and changing. You had to start all over again. Then we had to take a perfect original and have it photocopied. You protected that original as though it were a world-changing document. Now you may go to the printer and have them run off some copies right from your phone. Also, if your job entails a portfolio, you can have it shown right from your iPad instead of carrying around a large, difficult-to-carry presentation.
3. Now, you'll either hand deliver or mail the hard copies. You may prefer hand delivery to insure they'll arrive more quickly.
4. For the next few days, you wait at home for a response, because without a cell phone you can't be reached if you're out and voice mail is still waiting to be invented.
That was terribly inconvenient, but unless you had a telephone sitter at home while you did some errands, you might miss that call.
5. One of your prospects finally calls to set up an interview. You usually Google the prospective employer so you'll have some input during the interview. Without the internet, you'll have to go to the library and use their reference books or buy some business magazines.
I still believe it's important to know as much as you can about a company before an interview. Besides helping you to ask the right questions, you might find something that makes you change your mind about pursuing this job. Remember, they need your approval as much as you need theirs!
After identifying some prospects, you write a quick cover letter with a resume and email it to your prospects. No, No! Without email, you'll manually type a cover letter and prepare a resume. No computers yet. (Photo by REX)
6. The day of the interview arrives, and you're eager to create a good impression, so you head out early to make sure you have no trouble finding the office. Uh! Oh! No GPS. You'll have to get a paper map. Maybe you can find a gas station that carries them.
Since I worked in New York City for most of my career, it was always finding the quickest mass transit route to take. Sometimes, I would make a dry run before the interview day just to see how long it would take. Besides the GPS, you now get this information right online, both the route and the average time it will take, whether by car or public transit.
7. Now you're on your way, armed with a genuine paper map, and you find yourself in a huge traffic jam. You'll just call your interviewer's office and explain, but there's no cell phone, so you search frantically for a pay telephone. None in sight. After all, you're on a busy highway. Then it starts to rain, and you realize you should have waited for the weather forecast at the end of the news. No, there's no weather app to scroll.
Besides no weather app, there was no cable, thus no weather channel, so the weather was always at the end of the news. Who had time to wait for that when you're getting ready for an interview?
I want to highlight something that was better in the "olden days." After interviews, the company always contacted you, either by mail or phone, to say whether you got the job, or they hired someone else.
8. An hour late, you reach your destination, a bit disheveled from the stress of it all and quite soaking wet from walking from the parking lot with no umbrella or raincoat.
You probably should still come prepared for the unexpected by throwing a few extras in your bag: i.e., umbrella, extra copies of your resume, etc.
9. It's difficult to stay confident and positive when you look like a drowned rat, but you do your best to ace the interview and just hope for the best. Despite the anxiety-ridden start, the interview does go well, and you're told you will be called in a few days.
I want to highlight something that was better in the “olden days." After interviews, the company always contacted you, either by mail or phone, to say whether you got the job, or they hired someone else. If you're a writer, you may spend your weekend doing a week's worth of articles and edits as part of the interview process, or you might go on 5 interviews with one company, and they don't get back to you either way! I remember just such a time, I had at least 5 interviews with the same company, and on the fifth one, when I stopped at the security desk for a pass, the guard recognized me but thought I worked there and just forgot my pass. That company never got back to me, and when I called for the status, they always said they had made no decisions yet. So maybe, that's the one facet of job-searching we wish would have remained in place.
10. Again, you wait for a call and even answer the phone with your normal voice whenever it rings.
This is opposed to the fake accent I used when I wasn't expecting any calls and didn't know who was calling. Without caller ID, you didn't want to take any chance of being trapped by a salesperson or someone else with whom you have no interest in talking.
Halleluiah, you got the job! Now come back to the current world and use all your tech tools, because you have been hired as a marketing director, and we won't even scare you with how you would have to do this job without them!
"Sh*t!" my daughter exclaimed as she dropped her iPad to the floor. A little bit of context; my daughter Victoria absolutely loves her iPad. And as I watched her bemoan the possible destruction of her favorite device, I thought to myself, "If I were in her position, I'd probably say the exact same thing."
In the Rastegar family, a word is only a bad word if used improperly. This is a concept that has almost become a family motto. Because in our household, we do things a little differently. To put it frankly, our practices are a little unconventional. Completely safe, one hundred percent responsible- but sure, a little unconventional.
And that's because my husband Ari and I have always felt akin in one major life philosophy; we want to live our lives our way. We have dedicated ourselves to a lifetime of questioning the world around us. And it's that philosophy that has led us to some unbelievable discoveries, especially when it comes to parenting.
Ari was an English major. And if there's one thing that can be said about English majors, it's that they can be big-time sticklers for the rules. But Ari also thinks outside of the box. And here's where these two characteristics meet. Ari was always allowed to curse as a child, but only if the word fit an appropriate and relevant context. This idea came from Ari's father (his mother would have never taken to this concept), and I think this strange practice really molded him into the person he is today.
But it wasn't long after we met that I discovered this fun piece of Ari Rastegar history, and I got to drop a pretty awesome truth bomb on Ari. My parents let me do the same exact thing…
Not only was I allowed to curse as a child, but I was also given a fair amount of freedom to do as I wanted. And the results of this may surprise you. You see, despite the lack of heavy regulating and disciplining from my parents, I was the model child. Straight A's, always came home for curfew, really never got into any significant trouble- that was me. Not trying to toot my own horn here, but it's important for the argument. And don't get the wrong impression, it's not like I walked around cursing like a sailor.
Perhaps I was allowed to curse whenever I wanted, but that didn't mean I did.
And this is where we get to the amazing power of this parenting philosophy. In my experience, by allowing my own children to curse, I have found that their ability to self-regulate has developed in an outstanding fashion. Over the past few years, Victoria and Kingston have built an unbelievable amount of discipline. And that's because our decision to allow them to curse does not come without significant ground rules. Cursing must occur under a precise and suitable context, it must be done around appropriate company, and the privilege cannot be overused. By following these guidelines, Victoria and Kingston are cultivating an understanding of moderation, and at a very early age are building a social awareness about when and where certain types of language are appropriate. And ultimately, Victoria and Kingston are displaying the same phenomenon present during my childhood. Their actual instances of cursing are extremely low.
And beneath this parenting strategy is a deeper philosophy. Ari and I first and foremost look at parenting as educators. It is not our job to dictate who our children will be, how they shall behave, and what their future should look like.
We are not dictators; we are not imposing our will on them. They are autonomous beings. Their future is in their hands, and theirs alone.
Rather, we view it as our mission to show our children what the many possibilities of the world are and prepare them for the litany of experiences and challenges they will face as they develop into adulthood. Now, when Victoria and Kingston come across any roadblocks, they have not only the tools but the confidence to handle these tensions with pride, independence, and knowledge.
And we have found that cursing is an amazing place to begin this relationship as educators. By allowing our children to curse, and gently guiding them towards the appropriate use of this privilege, we are setting a groundwork of communication that will eventually pay dividends as our children grow curious of less benign temptations; sex, drugs, alcohol. There is no fear, no need to slink behind our backs, but rather an open door where any and all communication is rewarded with gentle attention and helpful wisdom.
The home is a sacred place, and honesty and communication must be its foundation. Children often lack an ability to communicate their exact feelings. Whether out of discomfort, fear, or the emotional messiness of adolescence, children can often be less than transparent. Building a place of refuge where our children feel safe enough to disclose their innermost feelings and troubles is, therefore, an utmost priority in shepherding their future. Ari and I have come across instances where our children may have been less than truthful with a teacher, or authority figure simply because they did not feel comfortable disclosing what was really going on. But with us, they know that honesty is not only appreciated but rewarded and incentivized. This allows us to protect them at every turn, guard them against destructive situations, and help guide and problem solve, fully equipped with the facts of their situation.
And as crazy as it all sounds- I really believe in my heart that the catalogue of positive outcomes described above truly does stem from our decision to allow Victoria and Kingston to curse freely.
I know this won't sit well with every parent out there. And like so many things in life, I don't advocate this approach for all situations. In our context, this decision has more than paid itself off. In another, it may exacerbate pre-existing challenges and prove to be only a detriment to your own family's goals.
As the leader of your household, this is something that you and you alone must decide upon with intentionality and wisdom.
Ultimately, Ari and I want to be the kind of people our children genuinely want to be around. Were we not their parents, I would hope that Victoria and Kingston would organically find us interesting, warm, kind, funny, all the things we aspire to be for them each and every day.
We've let our children fly free, and fly they have. They are amazing people. One day, when they leave the confines of our home, they will become amazing adults. And hopefully, some of the little life lessons and eccentric parenting practices we imparted upon them will serve as a support for their future happiness and success.