… How can the latter manage or accept change?
It’s undeniable that the change in generations, not to mention the rise in technology and change of the mindsets has caused some baby boomers much confusion and disconnect. Baby boomers, born between the years 1946 – 1964, have been used to a particular lifestyle from growing up till now, and there changes at the turn of the new generation has greatly influenced them in more ways than one. This has, as a result, caused disparity and to an extent conflict among the two generations. Millennials believe that their lifestyle is unique and innovative, keeping up with the modern times, while baby boomers accept the more traditional choices and bask in the memories of yesteryear.
Millennials were born between 1982 – 2004, and it’s undeniable that they have taken over baby boomers. Millennials now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (US Bureau Census).
The New York Times describes them as the now generation, the ME generation.
“They have trouble making decisions. They would rather hike the Himalayas than climb the corporate ladder. They crave entertainment, but their attention span is as short as one zap of a TV dial.” – Time Magazine (1990).
Some of the ways in which they are starkly different
For Baby Boomers, some of their influencers were the Civil Rights, the Cold War, space travel, having the highest divorce rate and 2nd marriages in history, the Vietnam War as well as they were the radicals of the 70’s and yuppies of the 80’s. On the other hand, Millennials’ influencers were the digital media, grew up more sheltered than any other generation, in a child focused world, terrorist attacks, grew up as children of divorced parents to name a few.
For the both generations, while they had their separate and impacting influencers that helped shape the world they lived in there is a difference in that Baby Boomers were taught more independence to face the world while Millennials were protected from the world while the world unleashed its wrath.
Baby Boomers had very different core values from their descendants the Millennials. Baby Boomers value success while Millennials value individuality. In that they grew up with the ideals of the anti-war and anti-government, believing anything is possible, being loyal to their children and looking for personal gratification and growth. Baby Boomers also enforced the values of equal opportunities and rights, trusting of no one, involvement, and were team oriented in any given task. Millennials have high morals, focused on achievement, tolerant, bask in self-confidence and personal attention, civic duty and are the most educated generation with realistic values. Not to mention Millennials are an ‘enjoy life and fun’ generation, highly competitive and extremely technologically savvy.
With technology on the side of the Millennials, one can see how the other core values come into play as getting more tasks done in less time makes them cling to the opportunities to achieve, be competitive, be street smart and highly sociable.
It is seen that there are some similarities where attributes are concerned with the two generations, where both are ambitious, team-oriented, politically savvy, multi-taskers, optimistic and their work ethics are strong.
Baby Boomers also have the ability to handle crisis, rebellious against convention, loyal to their careers, competent, idealistic and willing to take on responsibility.
Millennials are self-absorbed, more attached to their gadgets and their parents, confident, diverse, have not lived without computers, eager to spend money, independent, focused on change, innovative, have a strong sense of entitlement and have structured lives.
In terms of their work ethic, Baby Boomers are more driven workaholics, they survive on long hours in order to establish fulfillment, self-worth and identity. Their work ethic equals their worth ethic. Baby Boomers basically invented the fifty hours work week with the firm belief that visibility is key. They look for their ability to shine and they incorporate themselves into a company’s mission when the company represents a good cause. They require clear job expectations before they chose to work at a particular job and they still adopt the team approach to working.
A Millennials’ work ethic, while ambitious, adopts a ‘what next’ attitude, with high levels of multi-tasking and tenacity. They are more likely to start a business and involve themselves in more entrepreneurial activities than rigidly work for others. Millennials view work as a ‘gig’ and while they are effective and efficient workers they are signing out as soon as five o’ clock arrives. They need to be challenged in the workplace and will turn down ‘boring jobs’. They desire to fulfill their dreams and look to the workplace to help them; and wish to be treated with respect. They respond poorly to hierarchical organizations which are inflexible and are more attracted to flexible schedules and expect to be paid well for their performance.
While Baby Boomers might have a ‘buy now pay later’ attitude towards spending money and their focus is on relationships and results, they nonetheless play an integral role in the workplace and their society. Millennials have an earn to spend attitude towards money due to how the turn of the century and rise in recession have plagued their earning power, they try to decrease their probability of falling into debt. Although their focus is more global and networked, their pearls of wisdom and technological capabilities among their skills can contribute positively to the lives of the persons around them, even the Baby Boomers.
By Alexandra Daley