So, there you are, managing a company of 20 something’s and every day you ask yourself, ‘what are these kids thinking?’ Your dinner discussions are centered around the idea that an employee would actually send you a text message to let you know he is sick and won’t be coming in to work and how the ‘young guns’ honestly can’t understand why being in the office is necessary. You are not alone! Baby Boomers all around the country are discussing these issues. The SalesGlobe Forum (formerly The Sales Leadership Forum) recently held a panel discussion centered around the now, four generations workplace. Interestingly enough, we walked away with a better understanding and appreciation of the methods behind what a baby boomer would call madness acted out by the Millennials. One of our presenters from our forum at SMU states she “got a call yesterday from a managing director at Goldman Sachs who had just interviewed one of [SMU’s] top finance students, and the student did exceptionally well…Then walked out of that interview and texted the Managing Director. I guess the Managing Director may have his cell phone number on his business card, I’m not sure how the student got it — but texted the managing director using things like “thx,” you know, “Thx for the interview. Hope to c u soon.” (The SalesGlobe Leadership Forum at SMU, February 15, 2012). Catastrophic, right? Not so, if you are a Millennial.
This makes many of you cringe, we are certain, but we also have to recognize that this young Millennial was actually, in his mind doing the right thing by making it a priority to say thank you, yes, in short hand, but short hand has become an actual form of language these days, and the Millennial might even believe he is efficient for using such abbreviated language.
The Baby Boomers generational characteristic is optimism and often times very vocal. While young, they protested, were vocal about their opinions and feelings, and then when the time came, they snapped out of it and grew up. Baby Boomers recognized they had a life to take care of, family’s to be a part of, babies to raise, careers to mold, that no longer left time for being a protestor at every rally imaginable. Baby Boomers “tend to be workaholics, very loyal, want to achieve and be recognized and are fairly materialistic, or at least to their children they appear to be” .
Baby Boomers are still embracing technology (or running from it) while the Millennials act as though it is an appendage they were born with, nearly everything a Millennial does involves the latest technology.
So, I pose this question, how have you, as a baby boomer actually handled and mentored a millennial employee? Do you throw your hands up in the air, do you try and teach them your way, or do you actually try to better understand where they are coming from and tweak the workplace to help a millennial to not only make it in the world, but to be successful?
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