I’m an old guy, a boomer. Generally I abhor categorizing people by the year they were born. However, I love alliteration, hence Boomer block. So shoot me.
To categorize and stereotype people born in the same era isn’t much different than saying all people born in Indiana are the same, or all Asians act alike, or…well, you get the point. I hope.
People Aren’t all the Same
People are a product of the technology they’ve been introduced to and accepted. They’re informed by their culture and shaped by their environment. And they’re affected by life stages. However, too many people buy into the idea that Millennials are all alike, as well as all Boomers are the same. Social media broadcasts this propaganda in blog posts, surveys, and infographics. People aren’t all the same just because of their birth date. It’s a lie.
Some in my generation have bought into the falsehood that Millennials are all the same—self-centered, lazy, spoiled, tech savvy, and cold. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But what if you’re a younger person working for an older one who is one of those who believe these misguided opinions? What do you do?
4 Hacks to get Past the Boomer Gate
- Get to know your Boomer boss. Take the time to ask about them. Ask about their interests, such as music, travel, and books they recommend. People are people. No two are the same. However, most people appreciate others who ask questions and listen.
- Seek the Boomer’s opinion and advice. Call on their years of experience. Ask what they’ve learned and what pitfalls you should avoid. Ask to be mentored. You may learn something, and it will be appreciated.
- Offer to help. For example, although I manage twenty social media accounts not everyone my age understands social media. Ask where they might use your help and give it freely.
- Remind them. Once you get to know your older co-worker or boss remind them what the Greatest Generation (Boomer’s parents) said about them. The Greatest Generation said Boomers were self-centered, lazy, spoiled, cold, and tech savvy (New-fangled answering machines, faxes, and beepers). Sound familiar? I know—I was there.
Break the Stereotype
If you want to make strides in the workplace, then break the stereotype. Get to know your co-workers regardless of the age difference. Ask for their help and advice, offer to help, and remind them how older folks treated them when they were young. To quote Neil Young (Boomer songster), “Old man take a look at my life I’m a lot like you were.”