The great generational changeover!
THE GREAT GENERATIONAL CHANGEOVER: WHAT IT MEANS THAT MILLENNIALS ARE NOW AMERICA’S LARGEST GENERATION
I’m often asked why there is so much attention right now to generational differences. Haven’t people of different generations always worked together? The answer is yes, but the bigger story is that few people realize how dominant one specific generation has been for about the past half-century. Yes, I’m talking about the Baby Boomers.
The reason today’s generational change is so shocking for so many individuals and organizations is the length and power of the Baby Boomer generation’s dominance in almost all of American culture (see rock music, Oprah Winfrey, the U.S. Congress, suburbia, jeans) and particularly in our workplaces.
Often without consciously realizing it, many of us have accepted as “normal” the communication preferences, management styles, work ethic, office layouts, career path preferences, and other practices that were created and/or perpetuated by the Boomers. When your long-tenured boss tells you, “That’s just the way things are,” the more accurate truth is probably that’s just the way people born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1964 tend to do things.
That was certainly true for a Generation Xer like me. For the first decade of my career, there were only three generations in the workplace, and Boomers were overwhelmingly dominant in terms of their sheer numbers. My peers and I pretty much had no choice but to adapt to Boomer preferences if we wanted to get ahead.
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