What were you doing in the year 2000?
I remember how it started very clearly… I was down at the Viaduct for the Millennium celebrations and the weather was wet and drizzly. The clock struck midnight and the Skytower exploded with fireworks. POW! BANG! It was such a pity that the rain dampened them very quickly!
I also remember rushing home to check if the taps were running water. The Y2K threat had many people feeling paranoid, but thankfully the need to use emergency supplies and bunkers was unnecessary.
The following things happened in 2000: The very first Harry Potter film was released; Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston were the ‘IT’ couple; the Nokia 3310 was the biggest selling phone in the world; George W. Bush became the President of the United States of America; and the Playstation 2 was released for sale.
In 2000 I was in my second year of university and dreaming of a corporate career. I did indeed have a Nokia and it was an utter blessing when I could borrow $5 to top up the petrol in my car (a snazzy Corolla named ‘Jubilee’). It cost me $3 to park all day in the uni car park in town. By comparison, it costs around $25 to park in the city today. Wow, that’s a whopping 730% increase.
I find it so amusing to look back, and to look forward at this pivotal year. Back in the 80s and 90s there used to be a fantastic Australian show called Beyond 2000. The whole purpose of the show was to highlight technological innovations that were supposed to improve our lives and be widely available to the mass market soon after the year 2000.
Many have come to light (including greater use of solar energy, the rise of automated machines, and the growth of electric cars) but I’ve yet to see a flying car. Hopefully the vision from The Jetsons will come to fruition before the end of this millennium.
So why have I reflected on this? I recently began my new role as the lead Careers Advisor at St Peter’s College in Auckland, where I support secondary school students. The current crop of final year students were all born in and around the year 2000. This is the generation who grew up with many innovations and technological advances that many of us have had to adapt to.
This next generation coming through have many opportunities and challenges ahead of them. The ability to use technology in sophisticated ways makes for exciting career pathways for many people. Many of these pathways and jobs haven’t been created yet. But challenges do exist. Costs of living are astronomical, the gap between rich and poor is growing, and issues relating to the environment appear more important than ever.
May our current leaders and future leaders instil common sense, optimism and a dash of innovation in our young people. They have an opportunity to create things beyond our wildest dreams and I for one, can’t wait to see what unfolds.