Today I attended a fascinating presentation on how to manage multi-generation workforce’s. This is a hot topic on the presentation circuit since business leaders are trying to figure out how to juggle four generations in the workforce. Each generation has its own perspective and style based on life experiences.
This is a timely subject in my house. My husband, Kermit, is solidly in the Baby Boomer generation, growing up in the sixties during the Vietnam War. He wants to understand “why”. He works hard and accepts what comes his way, albeit with a some skepticism.
I am younger, not quite a Gen Xer and not completely comfortable among Baby Boomers who are mostly older than me. My kids range from Gen X to Millennial. Their life experiences are different. They all are products of divorce and working parents so they are latch key kids. They grew up with games and lots of technology. My husband, not so much. I try hard to keep up.
Millennial’s always want more. They have been praised for every action. They expect a response. The other day my daughter, Marissa, got a raise. She actively pursued it by presenting the reasons why she deserved the raise. She did everything that was asked of her. She improved in every area requested. Her quality of work is excellent. She deserved a raise but she complained to me later, “I expected more than a 5% raise.” I was speechless. The average merit increase in 2014 is around 3%.
Older folks call them spoiled and entitled. I disagree. They are the children we raised. They reflect the realities of their times and the parenting they received. Marissa works hard and expects rewards. She always got rewarded for her hard work in the past. Why should she not get rewarded now? A true millennial generation response.
I bring this up to honor my daughter, Marissa, a wonderful Millennial who will turn 26 on 9/11. She was 13 on that important day. Certainly she has been influenced by constant war and terror. In that way she is not so different from Kermit’s life experience coming to age in the Vietnam War era. Every year her birthday is a somber celebration of a terrible American tragedy.
Can you imagine? This is so much worse than having a birthday on Christmas or New Year’s. At least those holidays (for those who celebrate) are happy. But Marissa is tagged with a tragedy.
Yet she is a happy, confident young woman, a proud representative of the best of her generation.
It is time to use 9/11 to focus on the future to commemorate those lost in that terrible tragedy 13 years ago.
Let’s give the Millennial generation a break. Give them what they need. Show them how to direct their energy to lead in a positive inclusive fashion. Show them how to overcome this 9/11 burden to be productive, contributing leaders.