“We are not on a journey to become the same or to be the same. But
we are on a journey to see that in all of our differences, that is what
makes us beautiful as a human race, and if we are ever to grow, we
ought to learn and always learn some more.”
—C. JoyBell C.
As soon as you bring up the topic of the generations at work, over dinner, or with friends, you can see people’s eyes light up. Everyone has a fervent perspective of how crazy all the people are who were unlucky enough to be born outside of their generation’s coveted years. When referring to another generation, the phrase “they just don’t get it” comes up at some point—that’s boomers talking about Xers, millennials talking about boomers, and Xers complaining about being scrunched in between.
According to a 2011 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) poll,1 75 percent of respondents reported some level of conflict among the generations. If you think about the different societal trends, the cultures, and world in which each generation grew up, it is apparent why everyone doesn’t see eye to eye. Simply think about the most basic components of work in the 1950s and the stark contrast in workplaces today. The manufacturing line that abounded is now replaced by work stations, professional services, and computers. In the amount of time it would have taken to type a paragraph on a typewriter, we have zipped off 23 e-mails, many of them that simply say “Thanks!” or “Sounds good.”