Man buns wanted

March 1, 2017
Among the gifts I received this past Christmas was a wedding portrait of my nephew and his bride. While admiring the photo, I couldn't resist asking the 25-year-old newlywed, "Where's the man bun?" 

Among the gifts I received this past Christmas was a wedding portrait of my nephew and his bride. While admiring the photo, I couldn't resist asking the 25-year-old newlywed, "Where's the man bun?" Whether it was through cropping or strategic placement of the photo in the frame, the image belies reality because in it, the groom appears to be a little more groomed than he really is. The collection of hair that sits kind-of-on-top and kind-of-at-the-back-of his head is nowhere to be seen in the photo. He wanted to look his best on his wedding day, and apparently nothing looks better than a man bun. But for whatever reason he opted to omit that element of his preening from the photos he gave as gifts to his 40- and 50- and 60-something-year-old parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, etc. It's a beautiful portrait nonetheless.

Like every year, it felt as if no sooner did the holidays end than I was packing my bags for the BICSI Winter Conference, which was held the week of January 23. Throughout the week it was clear to me that BICSI is actively promoting itself to, and recruiting into its ranks, the age demographic that sports man buns. The association, of course, is spreading its outreach to both genders within that age demographic. In 2016 BICSI added a student membership option. Among other benefits, student members can attend region meetings for free. The association also created the Emerging Professional Award; the first-ever recipient, Ashley Haak Wills, holds the RCDD and OSP credentials.

These outreach efforts are happening not a moment too soon. The design and installation of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure are becoming more complex, not simpler. The totality of what needs to be understood in order to properly design or install this infrastructure is a steadily expanding universe. In many ways, this reality stands in contrast to the popular view of millennials. For example, when they need to learn how to do something they watch a six-minute YouTube video. Meanwhile, the 13th edition of the Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual is 2,100 pages long.

Just as the millennial generation will produce doctors, teachers and lawyers, it also will produce professionals in ICT design and installation. However, you've probably never heard a kid say, "When I grow up I'm going to build ICT systems." So it is incumbent upon the industry as a whole to do what we can to produce a next generation of professionals. BICSI's efforts should be applauded, and they exemplify the start of a necessary effort in this industry.

The next time I'm at a large gathering of ICT professionals, I'm going to count the man buns in the crowd. I hope A) there will be plenty, and B) the number will be matched by women in the same age group. I'll keep you posted.

Patrick McLaughlin
Chief Editor
[email protected]

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