It was both wonderful and disheartening to speak about the inter-generational divide at work when I was at the Northwest Event Show in Seattle.
What was wonderful: there were many people who came to hear my session, ranging in age from the Baby Boomers to the Millennials. All of them were thoroughly engaged throughout the presentation, and they stayed through the questions at the end, to hear how others are coping with the generational divide. Some were kind enough to offer advice and help, and others had amusing insights – for example, one Gen X’er noted that he felt like he was sandwiched in the middle of a cookie – a great analogy!
What happened in that room? People came because of the title, Closing the Generational and Digital Divide: Empowering Millennials, Boomers, and Gen X’ers in the Workplace. I told the story of Sarah, one of my clients, who was at the end of her rope when we met. Sarah is a Millennial (born between 1981 – 1996), in charge of a digital team at a large, international organization. She was very upset by the time we met because she was not being heard at work. No matter what she did, she was not getting through to her manager, or the person he reported to. They didn’t understand her budget needs and she was frustrated.
Does this sound familiar to you? Perhaps you’re in that same age range and you feel as though no one listens to you or you’re not taken seriously. In this new “Ok Boomer” age, Millennials are voicing their frustration and, in the worst cases, dismissing the older Baby Boomers (born 1946 – 1964) and, sometimes, Gen X’ers (born 1965 – 1980).
What was most interesting to note, during my talk, was that many in the room were Gen X’ers and Boomers. They recognized the issue and had come to learn more about how to bridge the generational and digital divide. We talked about some of their issues during the question and answer session after my talk.
As I shared during my presentation, a lot has been written about the differences between the generations. Here’s a table with broad generalizations about how each generation works differently:
Generalizing about these types of differences isn’t necessarily the answer, however. All of us are human and, with that in common, we have a human brain. The brain works in certain ways, driving how we behave and react towards others. My talk was based on brain research and findings.
Interested in learning more? Send me a note with the best time to chat about it!