Monday, September 10, 2007

Boomer Managers of Gen Y

I have to say that I was relieved to see this article. I'm a bit weary of the Boomer-Gen X conflict in the workplace. But if you thought that Gen X had the potential to drive the Baby Boomers nuts in the workplace, you'll really be impressed with Gen Y (also known as the Millennials) in Boomers, Gen Yers mix it up. I'll summarize for you---unlike the main conflict between Boomers and Gen X concerning work habits and work importance, the main areas of conflict between Boomers and Gen Y seem to center around authority and demeanor.

While Boomers grew up during the wild and crazy social action sixties, they are now considered part of the status quo (sorry). And Gen Y, for the most part, represent children of the status quo. They challenge authority and don't give it the respect that Boomers think it deserves. And, God help them, Gen Y seems to expect promotions and raises while Boomers have grown used to waiting. That's the authority conflict.

The demeanor conflict is just as vexing for those involved. While Boomers strived to fit in to corporate culture over the past four decades, Gen Y doesn't understand that they may have to dress and act the part to fit in (and perhaps they don't). Many of the conflicts originate from expectations about appearances (flip flops! tube tops! mini skirts!) and professionalism (that photo on facebook! that video resume! that gum cracking!).

You might like to read the full article for more on this particular Boomer-Gen Y management dilemma, and for a broader perspective Mixing and Managing Four Generations has good tips too.