You're working in your cubicle, frantically finishing a project.
Suddenly, you overhear a conversation between your boss and another supervisor. Your boss suddenly proclaims:
"Oh, that is so typical of millennials! They're so needy and demanding!"
The other supervisor agrees with your boss, "Yeah, that's why I prefer working with Gen X-ers. They are at least dependable and responsible."
Wait, you're a millennial!
You think of yourself as dependable and reliable. And who are these Gen X-ers exactly?
Understanding the characteristics people associate with Gen X-ers and Millennials will help you navigate spaces where these two generations coexist.
Who are Gen X-ers and Millennials?
There are three key differences between Gen X-ers and Millennials in terms of personality traits, ways they spend time, and work values.
Born between 1960 and 1979
Impacted by major events such as the end of the Cold War, increased TV usage, and the introduction of personal computers
Prefer to be independent
Born between 1980 and 2000
Impacted by major events such as increased use of internet, The Great Recession in 2008, and world events such as the September 11th attacks
Prefer to have more social interactions
Different personality traits
Common personality traits can be associated with Gen X-ers and Millennials:
Sociable and people-centric
Open to new ideas
Different ways to spend time
Major social events could have impacted the differences in how both generations spend their time.
Gen X-ers are more likely to...
Spend time doing housework
Physically buy things from the store
Millennials are more likely to...
Spend time doing leisure activities
Participate in extracurricular activities such as sports
Buy things from the internet
Different work values
Gen Xers and Millenials often have different views about work. Companies usually have multiple generations working together, so it's important to understand the differences in their work styles and values.
Working to live
Prefer face-to-face collaboration
Want formal supervision from their superiors
Value fun and innovation
Want work-life balance
Prefer remote work and flexibility
Want support from supervisors but freedom to do the job in their own way
Scenario: If you were the boss, what would you do?
Imagine that you're the boss of a group of Gen X-ers and Millennials. The group is not working well together.
How would you manage this group to work better together? Read through the answers below and choose one correct answer.
A. Call out those who arn't working well together and reassign tasks to those who are more capable of completing the work.
B. Assign the Millenials to work remotely while the Gen X-ers work in the office.
C. Facilitate a mentoring program where Gen X-ers and Millennials can learn from and socialize with each other.
D. Talk to your HR department about how to resolve this issue.
Given what you know about Millennials and Gen X-ers, what would you do if you were the boss?
Now that you know more about the differences between Millennials and Gen X-ers, remember to do the following: