Tips for Gen Y: How to Engage Boomers at Work

Just as with any new generation, there are differences and clashes with the older ones that are often overblown. But the fact is, Gen Y (also referred to as Millennials) probably has as many similarities to baby boomers as differences.

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However, there is one major difference that really seems to drive the disconnect between the generations: Gen Y is the first truly-wired generation, growing up immersed in smartphones, the Web and social media. This crowd views technology as a natural extension of themselves and are comfortable with constant real-time communication. This continuous connectivity has caused some difficulties when it comes to adapting to the boomer-dominated workplace.

To get some insight into the challenges the newest crop of Gen Y employees face at work, I reached out to Amanda Guralski, image coach and co-founder of the online magazine

According to Gurlaski, part of the confusion stems from the fact that we now live in a 140-character based world, where Gen Y has created its own abbreviated language that boomers don’t fully understand. Add to that Millennials want to move at a fast pace and expect their careers to move just as fast as their technology. This can often result in new Gen Y employees coming across as overly ambitious. 

To better adjust to their boomer counterparts, Guralski has some advice for those new Gen Y/Millenialls just getting started in their careers: 

Hone Your People Skills:

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Gurlaski encourages her Millennial counterparts to find ways to engage with boomers. She suggests seeking them out at networking events and professional groups and practice having conversations with them. There is a strong likelihood that Gen Y workers will be interviewing with a boomer, “remember, if you can’t connect with the interviewer, you aren’t going to get the job,” says Guralski.

Practice Your Etiquette: Facebook

Guralski says Gen Y workers should show a genuine interest in the person they are talking to: Put down your iPhone

Own Your Career Chic:

Our ever-evolving wired world continues to present us with as many challenges as solutions when it comes to working more efficiently. Generation Y has undoubtedly mastered the use of smartphone and Web technology in getting ahead, now the challenge is to not let that technology get too far ahead. Regardless of generation, there is a lot to be said for that personal touch.   

Michael “Dr. WoodyThe YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New EconomyHCITwitter Facebook