Have you thought about it lately? Why do you get up and go to work in the morning? What drives you to do that instead of something else (sleep, watch TV, shop, go to a movie or amusement park, write that novel, travel)? If you are a manager or leader, what do you think gets your team up and to work in the morning? Is it the same for the Gen Xer as for the Traditionalist? Seek to understand the answer to that question and you may be that much closer to a successful, fulfilling life of business (and business of life).
What connects us as a generation, connects us as individuals: common values, experiences, passions, and purpose (to name a few). Don’t be quick to judge the person next to you on the train (or in the vehicle next to you) on your way to work, school, or other travels. Just because you were born a in a certain year, does not magically place you in a generation (Traditional, Baby Boomer, Gen X, Gen Y, Gen Z). I’ve written on this in an earlier post: Managing Individuals Across Generations.
Think about it the next time you are on your way to work…whether on a train, in your car, or walking. Look around you at the other people. Are they on their way to work as well? How do they view their work? Are they just collecting a paycheck until they retire? Are they working their way up the ladder? Are they in search of meaningful work? Work that allows them to be creative and contribute? What is it that they want to get out of their life’s work? Recognition? Freedom? What are you looking for in your work and career?
Your answer to that question is informed by many things: your past experiences in the workforce; the influence of your parents on the value of work; the events and experiences of your formative years. This last influence is what brings a generation together and connects them in their view of work. But be careful not to judge a book by it’s cover or a person’s generational personality by their (perceived) age. You may have more in common with that person (that team member, your boss, that new go-getter) than you think.
Why not have a conversation about it? With that other person…go ahead…you may be surprised at what you have in common…by what connects you. Talk one-to-one and leave the generational stereotypes behind.
Learn more about how to do this and other tools. tricks, and techniques at Coaching Across Generations – The Workshop.
Share your answer to “Why do you work?” with me here!