The first place we tend to recognize generational differences is at work. But no matter where we go, we slosh around in a stew of different generations. Do these sound familiar?
• Your family is trying to plan a beach trip for next year. The Boomers have their calendars planned til 2035 (or the apocalypse, whichever comes first), but the Millennials can’t commit to next year. They’re still on Snapchat deciding where to go tonight.
- You argue with family members of other generations about whether or not it’s important to vote.
• Relatives are always asking you why you left a job to freelance, left college to travel, don’t want the family antiques, lived with your partner before you married, and why you don’t have kids yet. After all, you’re 26 already!
• A charity you care about is trying to recruit volunteers for what amounts to full-time work. And, gee, nobody is signing up. Go figure. These roles were created before both parents worked.
• You invite young clients to dinner, to go golfing, to go out on your boat, to swing through the jungle on vines. Doesn’t matter what. They never accept.
• You refuse to invest very much in the market. But everybody you know over 50 keeps telling you you’re missing out on long-term growth. You just keep saving.
• A clerk in a store doesn’t offer you the help you expect, or a clerk keeps talking to you and will noooooooot leave you aloooooone!
Sometimes we attribute these situations to personality. And sometimes that’s exactly what they are. But these are mostly generational.
Not disrespect, not the inflexibility of age or the foolishness of youth—but genuine generational differences. Just people doing the best they can to adapt to the world that was given to them when they showed up at a specific time in history.
The everyday troubles in your backpack today – the teacher who thinks your kid talks too much, the disconnect between you and your financial advisor, the aunt who got miffed when you sent an email thank you instead of a card—all that stuff may not be entirely about you. (Is that a relief, or what?)
It may be generational.
Amy Lynch is a keynote speaker, consultant and author. She works with companies that want to Harness the Power of Generational Intelligence to lead, market and innovate. The author of the forthcoming Harness the Bang: Generational Intelligence in a Era of Disruption, Amy has spoken to 100s of companies from MTV to the staff of the US Senate. Contact her about your next event. Lynch@GenerationalEdge.com