I think we find pieces of who we are at multiple stages in life. One event may lead us to one realization, while another years later may evolve that original thought into something of greater substance. I am young, I don’t know what I want to do, but I do have work experience and I know this: I’ve learned that people abuse the positions they are in, the people who work under them, and the lines of morality. (I use the term morality in terms of what is legal and “right”. IE: sexual harassment; saying you’re a christian, yet running your business differently than what you preach; not hiring someone based on prejudices). So, while I may not know the exact job function where I will thrive, I know who I don’t want to work for and what I am willing to put up with.
It’s hilarious to me that older generations love to point out all the flaws of Gen X and Gen Y, without ever looking at their own short comings. I am not saying that my generation does not have a sense of enlightenment, I’m saying that the ever judgmental baby boomers have their own issues too. I’m at an age where most of my superiors have been baby boomers and what I’ve learned from them is this:
- Many of them are only willing to reason when it does not challenge them
- Change is more of a threat, than a process of growth or enlightenment
- As leaders, many of them are “diminishers” rather than “multipliers”
This is not to say that every baby boomer operates this way, quite the contrary. I’m saying that those with these qualities tend to point out all the shortcomings of my generation (or their subordinates in general), instead of realizing that the difference of my generation in combination with their own can actually create a stronger, more efficient work environment. Dare I say, maybe even a healthier one.
The place where I have seen baby boomers operate completely differently than the qualities I have listed above, is at my university. I have been incredibly fortunate to learn from professors who are unafraid of change, who believe that knowledge is a never ending pursuit, and that each individual has something to offer, even if it might challenge the norm. Perhaps, it is the nature of the department that I was in. I have a bachelors degree in international business and I am completing my MBA; it gives me hope that the professors in my department are trying to keep up with the ever evolving business world and consequently the generations after them.
The world is changing, so while many baby boomers see Gen X and Gen Y as having little work ethic and immense entitlement, I say this to my generation: continue to be different. It is you who will move away from the traditional “brick and mortar” business, who will continue to create unique 24hr business services, create methods that allow you to sleep in and work from home, it’s you who will change the lines of what a work environment and corporate culture will look like, it’s you who will keep breaking social norms that will lead to more equality and acceptance of what is different. So, continue to be different, because those differences are what propel the world forward.
So, challenge the norm.
As one of my professors said, “If some one claims, ‘Well this is how it’s always been done’, that’s the department that should be reevaluated”.
Baby boomers have so much wisdom to offer, but the younger generations’ differences might just open them up to something enlightening.
Here’s a 2014 Trend Hunters Video just to show some of the cool ways the world in changing