October 21, 2010 by Ilene H. Lang
Are all Gen Ys hip to the latest technology? Are all baby boomers resistant to change? Of course not, these are stereotypes. But these biases can be just as damaging to an organization—and careers—as gender inequity.
Case in point: My friend’s daughter told me the other day that her job as a social media consultant was in jeopardy because she was getting “too old,” at age 29!
New technology can be more intuitive to the Gen X/Gen Y crowd, but this isn’t surprising given that they have grown up in a world where cell phones and computers are the norm. When I worked at AltaVista, Sam Fuller, the Chief Technology Officer at Digital Equipment Corp. (our parent company), said: “Advanced technology is anything invented after you were born!”
We are all always dealing with new technology. But this doesn’t mean boomers can’t benefit from these new technologies, too. Or that Millennials can’t learn from more seasoned professionals. It’s all about exposure to new perspectives and appreciating them.
Companies should set up opportunities for people of all ages to learn from one another and bridge the gap between perception and reality. As we outline in Beyond Generational Differences, some businesses are already leading the way.
Let’s drop these “old school” stereotypes. Different generations have always worked together in the workplace. Why should today be any different?