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America suddenly makes sense. Larry and Meagan Johnson, father and daughter team, wrote a book explaining that people are the products of their environment. Working with Baby Boomers As a result, expect a strong emphasis on education. Are you looking for Generation Y members to join your team? You can be a ‘concerned coach’ to help them stay on track even if they are far from their parents.
Generations, Inc.: From Boomers and Linksters – Managing The Friction Between Generations At Work points out that five generations are now working side by side for the first time. This gives us:
The Traditional Generation: 8% of the workforce was born before 1945.
Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964, 30%
Generation X: Born 1965-1980, 17%
Generation Y: Born 1981-1995, 25%
The Linkster Generation: 18% of the workforce was born after 1995.
As the book is heavily U.S.-specific, I assume that these workforce figures are only for the U.S. The authors use historical events to base their business theories and knowledge. They show how each generation has been influenced and influenced by current events and social trends that have shaped their work attitudes. Because of the hardships and shortages experienced during World War Two, Traditionals have developed a strong work ethic as well as a sense of community.
It was an interesting read. I wish someone would write something similar about historical events in the United Kingdom. The hurricane that struck us in the middle of junior school and prevented me from participating in a swimming event, shaped my work ethic. Keep trying until an oak tree blocks the road and you can’t continue. The Johnsons didn’t notice the adverse weather that year, nor did the miners’ strikes, introduction of the welfare system, Windrush, and other notable events in the United Kingdom. This is not a criticism. Generations, Inc. is a book that U.S. managers can use, and it does so very well.
This book is a great guide to office politics. It makes it easy to see the motivations and drives behind people at work. It is recommended to be read in conjunction with Emotional Intelligence For Project Managers by Anthony Mersino. This book still ranks as one of my favourite books about people working on projects.
It also shows what hasn’t changed at work. Take this example:
Ms. began as an insert in the New York Times magazine sections. It evolved into a monthly women’s magazine that focused on issues such as unequal pay for women and career opportunities for women. Harry Reasoner, a network news anchor, commented that the first issue of Ms. appeared on newsstands in July 1972. Within weeks, Ms. had received over 26,000 subscription orders and 20,000 reader letters. [p. 32-33]
Unfortunately, we still write about unequal pay today.
Generations, Inc. is divided into sections that provide historical information and management tips. I identified with all generations except Generation Y. This will cause me problems as a manager if it isn’t addressed. It ends with a section about managing different types of people and a chapter on managing conflict between generations. This could be helpful if people are rubbing each other wrong.
It was a conversational and interesting read.