When Generations Are Clashing

For two generations it is work/life balance . For two other generations it is life/work balance. As the Generation Xers and Millennials takeover, work will change.

Four generations in the workplace

It is a phenomenon of our times that many organizations find themselves with four generations in their workplace. Look around your own. Many of your board members and senior advisers are likely of the Traditionalist generation. Your C-Suite and many of your senior manager are probably of the Boomer generation, while your mid-level managers and professional staff are frequently Xers. And your entry-level staff almost certainly comes primarily from the Millennial generation.

Four perspectives on work

Each generation’s motivations, priorities, expectations, and goals differ from the others – and each generation questions the expectations, priorities, and motivations of the others!

Traditionalists and Boomers are usually motivated by  work/life balance, whereas Xers and Millennials, are most often motivated by life/work balance. What does that mean in the workplace?

Traditionalists in the workplace are now predominantly focused on part-time work or volunteer work.
Boomers have sought a stellar career.
Xers want a portable career.
Millennials are likely to have many careers.
Boomers are now juggling work and family, including children and parents.
Xers want the Boomers to retire so that they can move ahead.
Millennials just want a career path.
Boomers tend to run frequent and long meetings.
Xers prefer email to meetings – especially short and to-the-point emails.
Millennials want people to listen to them. Meetings are fine, as long as they are at the table and someone is listening to them.

One possible solution

Through consultations, coaching, training, facilitations, and presentations, I help you get these four distinctly different generations to mesh.

“Wendy knows how to get experienced and emerging museum professionals to work successfully and happily together.”

Zahava D. Doering
Senior Social Scientist
Smithsonian Institution
Editor Curator: The Museum Journal

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"That which seems the height of absurdity in one generation often becomes the height of wisdom in another."
– Adlai Stevenson
"The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order."
– Alfred North Whitehead
"The discipline of writing something down is the first step toward making it happen.”
– Lee Iacocca
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