The world of work is changing. One reason may be due to the fact that five generations are working in the workforce right now. Five generations. Let that sink in for a minute. So what does work look like? Or maybe a better question is, how does work, well, work nowadays?
I recently welcomed Lindsey Pollak to my podcast to speak more on this topic. Lindsey is a multigenerational workplace expert, keynote speaker, and author of the book, The Remix. She is one of the earliest people to talk about the Strauss-Howe Generational Theory. She does not like generational shaming or stereotypes.
It’s a super confusing time to be in the workforce. Not only do you need to manage yourself, but you also have to manage the expectations of other people, understand the culture and the norms from where other people come from. Plus, the rules of work and engagement at work are changing. Lindsey shared some of the new rules facing the multigenerational workforce today.
Rule #1: Stop shaming by generation
Lindsey shared this, “My first rule is stop shaming by generation. And that means stop shaming millennials. We have criticized them and made fun of them. I mean people made fun of Gen Xers like us. But the things we say about millennials, like they’re lazy or entitled. What if we said that about women? We would never allow it. But when we talk about millennials, we all go, ‘Oh, these young people today. Right?’ The other piece of that is don’t make fun of yourself for your age either.”
The bottom line: Stop making fun of age and see it as an element of diversity.
Rule #2: Remember common sense is not so common
Way back in the early 90s common sense at work was, “how many lines you skipped in a business letter between the address and the date” or “women wear pantyhose to a job interview.”
Lindsey explains how common sense works in the world of work today, “And so now common sense might mean if you’re going to reprimand somebody, you do it face to face. Well, maybe that’s not common sense to a young person who’s never been taught that skill as a
millennial. It might be common sense of how to post an Instagram story. Well, that’s not common sense to somebody in their seventies, so we no longer have these rules or agreed upon ways of working that we used to have. And that’s challenging.”
The bottom line: Common sense in today’s workforce is freeing, but you have to acknowledge it.
Lindsey and I talked in-depth about how we can take the best from all five generations, learn from one another, and actually have some fun in the world of work. So if you’d like to hear two Gen Xers being a little nostalgic and talking about work, you’re going to love listening to this recent episode of Let’s Fix Work.