(5) Tips for Millennials Working with Baby Boomers

(5) Tips for Millennials Working with Baby Boomers

Millennials have a unique way of looking at life and their role in the workplace. Not wanting to be hemmed-in, their views are quite different than the baby boomers, who often mange them with strained communication. The truth is that both groups are wired differently, with a disconnect of common purpose.

The baby-boomers who are getting older, yet are still staying in the workplace longer due to the Great Recession when many lost their retirement nest egg, aren’t leaving the job market as quickly as was anticipated. For some millennials, these boomers just look and think old, are cranky and out of touch with social media. Well, maybe we are a bit, but we didn’t want an extended career, but we have to continue working.

You millennials are just starting out in your career, something I believe many boomers are jealous of. You have the world in front of you, as they say, something we don’t as we face our senior years, feeling a bit tired. Isn’t the new 55, like 45? Well, on most days it is, yet we can’t drink martinis like we used to and our ability to fall asleep right away is giving us sleepless nights, which does makes us cranky.

Millennials just seem so free to do whatever they want to, while having their parents offer them a parachute, something many of us never had or wanted. Baby boomers couldn’t wait to leave the family home, yet many millennials are still living at home into their late 20’s or at least being subsidized by their parents. Most baby boomers were married by the time you millennials leave your family home.

So how do these two groups work together when their experience and prospective on life is so different? There is hope for these groups to get the best from one another.

Here are (5) tips to make it easier:

  • Millennials, you have to make the first move by really listening to your  baby-boomer bosses and co-workers, for they do have years of experience you don’t have, even if you are an ace in technology and social media, you can learn from these folks, so listen and be polite.
  • Work on your personal presentation. This includes interpersonal communication. You millennials grew up with the computer screen, instead of a book, an iPhone instead of a landline and Facebook, instead of drinking martinis at lunch until you were blind. Yet, the baby boomers know how to talk and network, even when they have had a few drinks. Never try to out drink them, they’ll bury you!
  • When you are spoken to, please millennials look up and answer the question, instead of multi-tasking by returning an email or just ignoring the fact someone is talking to you. Get out of your head and live in the moment.
  • Ask for advice from baby boomers. They love to give advice and are a key resource to help you move forward in your career by not making the same mistakes they did. Like not saving enough money for retirement.
  • Never call baby boomers ma’am or sir, even if you are trying to pay them respect. It just makes us baby boomers feel ancient, something we loathe because we just can’t accept the fact we are getting older.

Perhaps, the biggest contributors to society are the baby boomers and the millennials. Both have the responsibility to make prudent decisions that move our economy forward, to be the thought leaders, to preserve creativity, to move our civilization toward peace and to keep the hope of the American Dream alive.

In the end, perhaps these two groups aren’t very different, after all. And, we both like the Rolling Stones!

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  • Thank you! I have been looking for this kind of advice / insight for months.

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