Talkin’ Bout Our Generations: How to Bridge the Gap Between Baby Boomers and Millennials in the Workplace

Everywhere you look, there seems to be an article either complimenting or deriding the characteristics of the Millennial generation. Millennials are defined as the generation of Americans that was vaguely born between the early 1980’s and late 1990’s, coming of age during the new millenium. Millennials have now firmly entered the workforce and are assuming positions of greater and greater importance, often working alongside baby boomers in critical roles. If you’re concerned about the potential differences between members of these iconic generations, keep reading.

You’re Really Not All That Different…

There is no one type of person. Two people born in the same year can have very different personalities, skills, and weaknesses. Stereotyping anyone is not only offensive, it’s misguided, and stereotyping people from a certain generation is no different. Of course, there are similarities in experience, cultural habits, and knowledge among members of the same generation, and oftentimes that’s where problems can stem from. However, this issue is not specific to these two generations in particular: this has been happening throughout history!

So what’s the takeaway here? Sometimes there may be no gap to bridge, and the only thing standing in the way of collaboration between members of different generations are preconceived notions. Rise above them!

…But There Are Some Differences

Speaking broadly, most of the professional differences between members of different generations boil down to the state of the culture in which they were raised. Baby Boomers were raised during a time when loyalty to a company wasn’t just rewarded, it was expected. Long hours and unquestioned dedication was the norm. Millennials are more mercenary-like when it comes to their careers, “job-hopping” isn’t looked at as such a big issue among them and “work/life balance” is a fairly new concept that matters deeply to them. However, if millennials can find a company whose aim speaks to their sense of morality, they will be quite comfortable and give their heart and soul to the cause. Each generation has something to learn from the other in this sense, so having both in your workplace is actually a benefit to everyone involved.

So how do you bridge the gap between the generations? Easy: celebrate the similarities, recognize the differences, and show respect to everyone.

I’m Jessica Cox, and the strengths I developed due to being born without arms are ones that I can help you use in your personal and professional life. If you’d like to have me inspire the attendees at your meeting, convention, or religious gathering, please contact me.