The generation gap is an ever-present issue in today’s world. Thanks to better medi- cal care and extended life ex- pectancies, people are retiring later.
That means for the very first time, vastly different generations all have to work together within the same com- panies and organizations.
With this week’s Home- coming celebrations and class reunions bringing many of those generations together, it’s fitting that we discuss some of what members of each can learn from each other.
The oldest generation still in today’s workforce grew up with Franklin Delano Roos- evelt’s politics and the after ef- fects of the Great Depression.
The youngest generation can’t remember a world before 9/11 or without 24-hour news channels.
And there is, of course, a mix of generations in be- tween who saw everything from World War II, the lunar landing and Vietnam to the first video games.
While those from older generations may struggle to adopt social media and may have feelings of being discon- nected, younger generations often get frustrated with un- spoken social barriers and feeling slighted.
While trying to navigate these tough topics, both sides should remember that there is a lot to be learned by all.
For those in the genera- tion currently reaching adult- hood—commonly called Mil- lennials—it’s very important to remember to honor the wisdom that comes with age.
In the workplace and uni- versity, remember that bosses and seasoned faculty members have seen an immense amount of problems, and they will have insights that may not be im- mediately apparent.
Finding a mentor can be an invaluable asset for a Mil- lennial.
Not only will they gain tricks of the trade, but they could also gain a friend—and someone that may be willing to introduce them to valuable contacts in the future.
For the older genera- tions, it can be very difficult to understand where this new group is coming from.
Millennials do not always see the workforce as a linear ladder, and their respect is not earned simply because of a title.
Therefore, it is easy to brush them off as arrogant know-it-alls.
In reality, Millennials crave connection—that much is apparent in their use of social media.
They seek to be valued and listened to as equals by those whom they look up to.
So what can be done by each group to bring productivity and understanding?
To Millennials currently part of the University family, take advantage of the faculty that are here to serve you.
Listen to their wisdom, and value their input, since they are probably looking ahead at problems you haven’t foreseen.
To the Baby Boomers and Generation X, take advantage of this rising generation’s energy and enthusiasm in meetings and brainstorming sessions.
Show them respect, and they will do the same in return.
The ultimate goal of course is to work together as brothers and sisters in Christ, showing honor to each as it is due, so that God may be glorified in our dealings with each other.