These days the typical workplace, maybe your current workplace, includes four or maybe five generations.
This is an unprecedented array of people working together. Talk about time in a bottle.
In the past, older generations might have stepped away from the workplace by this time. But people live longer these days. Older workers might not have the funds to stop working given the financial crises in the last 15 years. Increasingly people enjoy what they are doing and want to keep doing it. [i]
Some experts say that the timespan among generations will grow shorter as technology changes so quickly bringing new challenges and opportunities.
As I write this in a local coffee shop I see representatives of each of these generations behaving with more similarities than differences across time. Regardless of generation, people are drinking coffee, laughing, talking with friends, reading and working. All generations in one room figuring it out.
Odds are, like this coffee shop, your workplace will contain four or five generations. The vast size of the Millennial generation has pushed the median age of the working population in the US down to around 36.7, according to Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd in the 2020 Workplace.[ii]
The Millennials get all the attention these days like the Baby Boomers when they entered the workforce like an invading army. Odds are you work with or perhaps are supervised by someone younger than you. How does that make you feel?
How do we deal with the impact of time on the workforce and work relationships?
If my inner child is 28 and my boss (or daughter!) is 28 does that make it easier or harder to communicate?
What are you supposed to do if you are a job seeker whose 28 year old inner child is packaged inside a 58 year old body? Maybe like many Baby Boomers you are not ready to retire. But you feel out foxed and surrounded by aliens younger and more energetic than you.
We hear these kind of question from every age group, not just Boomers. The Gen Xer in his 40s sick of dealing with a 20-something boss who has different work habits. Or acknowledging that she HATES her life. These folks imagined a different outcome by their 40s. Twenty-something folks striking out on their own with the natural misgivings and fears of someone new to the game, not sure what to do next.
What do these multi-generation workers have in common? Apparently everyone feels vulnerable. Work is fast paced with a strong emphasis on technology. And yet everyone needs to work together. Seems like a problem worth exploring on this journey.
What do you think? Share your answers so we can all learn and grow!! After all, an engaged inner child reflects a fascinating person engaged in their workplace.