Intergenerational dialog is an issue for many organizations.
The boomers have different expectations, work habits, life goals, communication strategies, technology experiences and attitudes than Gen x (born 1963-78), and Gen Y (born 1979-98) is even more different. Each generation is a product of the educational, social, family structure, political, economic times in which it grew up. So, of course, Each generation is different which makes workplaces, where they all try to work together, a bit trying at times.
Since we’re at the beginning of the school year, I thought I would pass this along just to highlight the difference in life experiences. Most students entering college for the first time this fall—the Class of 2014—were born in 1992. For these students, Benny Hill, Sam Kinison, Sam Walton, Bert Parks, and Tony Perkins have always been dead. Each year, Beloit College puts together a list of “cultural touchstones” that affect the lives of students entering college in 2011. The faculty uses it as a reminder to be aware of dated references. Here are some of our favorites:
- Few in the class know how to write in cursive.
- Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.
- Al Gore has always been animated.
- “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.
- With increasing numbers of ramps, Braille signs, and handicapped parking spaces, the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities.
- John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.
- Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.
- Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.
- Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.
- They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.
- Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars.
- Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.
- Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.
- Czechoslovakia has never existed.
- Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.
- J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn’t he?
- Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.
- Beethoven has always been a good name for a dog.
- Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.
- They’ve always been able to blast off with the Sci-Fi (SYFY) Channel.
You can view the complete list at www.beloit.edu/mindset. Are you guilty of being “dated” in your dealings with the younger generation? These folks will soon hit the workforce so be aware of language you may want to change. Read more about intergenerational dialog in the workplace at http://danceofbusiness.com/drivingir/facilitation/intergenerational-dialogue and leave a comment on how generational differences have made a difference in your workplace or home environment.