We all know those blatant signs that someone is older than the rest. Saying “back in my day,” using exact change, or talking about joint stiffness, to start. But are you aware of some of the more subtle signals of old-fartness at the office? You may still feel 25 inside, but if you do one or more of these things—you don’t look it. Avoid these tells that make you seem like the oldest bruh on the block.
Are you still calling it a Power Point presentation? Sorry, old timer. What you’re looking at now is a “slide deck.”
Struggling with basic tech literacy
If you don’t know how to convert a Word file to PDF, how to make a bar graph in Excel, or how to copy paste without using the Edit menu, are you on any nursing home waiting lists yet? The good ones can take years to get into.
Using two spaces after a period
If you want everyone to know you learned to type before the advent of computers, by all means, keep doing this. It’s a holdover from the typewriter age of monospaced typesetting, when the additional space was needed to clearly delineate when the next sentence began. We now use proportionally spaced fonts, and by “now” we mean since the last millennium.
Using email instead of Slack (or Teams)
There are times email makes sense. When sending large attachments, documents for review, HR policies, or things you may refer back to often, such as vacation schedules. But when you need to ask for a deadline extension, to reschedule a one-on-one meeting, or say “got it”? Nobody needs an email for that.
Making fun of social media
Have you ever said, “on the TikTok,” “in the Tweeeterverse,” or “I can’t keep up with what the kids are doing these days”? While you may not use social media, to deny or downplay its power sounds out of touch. Familiarize yourself with the main players: Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, and Pinterest. (And take people who create content seriously—some of them earn way more than you.) Notice we didn’t include Facebook in that list? Speaking of…
You can still be on Facebook, if you must, to keep up with old friends or post cute photos just so the Memories feature will show them to you again next year. But you may not mention this to anyone. This must remain your dirty little secret.
Having an AOL email address
AOL is the OG. It was the gateway to the web back in the late 90s. Which is why you must get rid of this ancient address. Same goes for Hotmail, Netscape, and even Yahoo. Dinosaurs, all. To paraphrase TikTok: If you ain’t on Gmail, then where the fuck you at?
Not having Venmo
Picture it: your office is doing a Super Bowl pool, going to a team lunch, or collecting for a group baby shower gift. And someone asks: Do you have Paypal? What’s your Zelle? Don’t be that guy. People don’t want to check multiple different apps and accounts to make sure they got reimbursed. Just get Venmo.
Leaving an actual voicemail
Why make a person listen to a longwinded ramble full polite fluff, uhs, ums, tangents, and breathy pauses, when you can send a seven-word direct message that saves you both time? Call me about the Peterson report. Thanks.
Using old office lingo
Please, for your own sake, don’t say the words Xerox, stewardess, memo, photocopy, or fax. Ever. If you feel the triteness of “think outside the box” or “soup to nuts” pressing against your lips, you must swallow it whole.
Making outdated cultural references
Have you ever quoted Friends? Said you’re more of a Carrie than a Miranda? Let slip how invested you were in Pam and Jim’s relationship? Avoid dropping cultural references from 15+ years ago, when your co-workers may have been fifth graders. Seinfeld may have a resurgence in cultural relevance now that it’s on Netflix, but maybe not. It’s a comedy about neurotic, self-absorbed white people from a decade in what kids now refer to as “the late 1900s.” (Sorry. It hurts us too.)
Using too many emojis
We don’t care what anyone says, you can pry the crying laughing emoji from our cold, dead hands. (It’s better than LOL, which everyone’s out here still using even though it’s been around since 1989.) But adding an emoji to every Slack message, or more than one (shudder), makes you look…not spritely. We’re all adults here. We can read between the lines and get your meaning. You don’t need to put the skull after everything you hope will be received as funny.
Making fun of your age
Harmless phrases like: I’m dating myself here, This was before your time, or anything that subtly mentions how long you’ve been around can do more harm than good. It may feel lighthearted and good-natured, but even joke comments point to self-consciousness, and remind everyone you were drinking 40s before they were born.