Entering the workforce for the first time can be a bit scary. Once you clock in on someone else’s time, you have very little control if you want to keep your job. Normally you are trusted to follow the company code and uphold the company’s standards. In other words, follow the rules, offer your best customer service and be kind to whomever you interact with. Easy, right? Well, it should be.
There are many challenges we may face in our career: performance issues, communication problems, low motivation and job satisfaction…but one thing that has held me still is the generational gap in the workplace.
There are currently FIVE generations present in our workplace:
- Traditionalists—born before 1946
- Baby Boomers—born between 1946 and 1964
- Generation X—born between 1965 and 1976
- Generation Y, or Millennials—born between 1977 and 1997
- Generation Z—born after 1997
Workplace diversity is GOOD and is a strong sign of a balanced work environment. We ALL hold unique backgrounds and perspectives so we each bring something to the table. However, it can lead to conflict. How do you manage the varying communication styles of the different generations?
Although I consider my work ethics very traditional, I am considered a millennial because I was born in 1994. In my current position, it is sometimes difficult for me to connect with baby boomers or a generation x’er because the population in the workforce for both generations are starting to decline. In fact, by 2024, about 25% of the workforce is projected to be over the age of 55.
Personally, I feel there is a preconceived notion that anyone born after 1977 are inadequately incapable of performing a superior job. This notion makes it challenging for the younger generations to thrive in the workplace. There are many trainings and seminars to combat the complex nature of the gap, but all in all- the gap exists and will forever exist.
What are your thoughts on the generational gap?