Magazine article Work & Family Life

Understanding the Age-Diverse Workplace

Magazine article Work & Family Life

Understanding the Age-Diverse Workplace

Article excerpt

Part I of two parts

The workplace we inhabit today is awash with the conflicting voices and views of the most age- and value-diverse workforce this country has known since our great, great grandparents' day. Four generations of older, not so old and younger employees are working together shoulder to shoulder, side by side, cubicle to cubicle.

There have been multiple generations employed in the same organizations before but by and large they were kept separate from one another. The senior employees worked in the head office or were in charge of manufacturing; middle-aged employees tended to be in middle management, and the youngest employees were junior accountants, assistant managers or trainees. Generational mixing was rare and governed by formality and protocol.

The generations

We assign slightly different names and dates than others have used to describe these four generations because we've tried to factor in the "feel" as well as the "face" of a generational cohort.

* The Veterans 1922-1943. Many in this generation lived through the Depression, and the greatest "event" in their lives was World War II.

* The Baby Boomers. 1943-1960. Growing up after World War II in an era of optimism, opportunity and progress, they tend to be "movers and shakers" who appreciate the "corporate mission."

* Generation Xers. 1960-1980. Coming of age in the shadow of the Boomers and the rise of the Asian tiger, they tend to be technologically adept, clever, resourceful and independent.

* The Nexters. 1980-. Children of the Boomers and early Gen Xers, they were born into our current high-tech, optimistic time. …

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