Living for “what is.” A perspective on generational diversity in the workplace.
Last week during a generational presentation, a Gen Xer shared something I think we all need to think about. He said, “We need to stop thinking about what “should be” and start accepting “what is.”
This sentiment comes up often as I interact with different generations in the workforce. It is a necessary hurdle for those of us who have been in the workforce for some time and have become quite accustomed to the status quo. Ever since Millennials arrived on the scene, many things have changed. The world and the expectations at work are just not what they used to be and they will never be that way again. The devices we carry every day have changed what we do and how we do it…for now and always. It will serve those of us who were born pre-1980 well to continue to cherish the formational times we had when we just entered the workforce and to accept that work and play can be and are done differently today. I am certain it would help those around us if we begin to accept and maybe even enjoy “what is.” This doesn’t mean that all the changes are “better” or “good” but it means we need to think about what the future holds for our organization and be willing to be flexible where we can, create space for innovation, and bring our teams into alignment on the things that are foundational to who we are as an organization. And perhaps we can even learn something new from Millennials and Gen Zers. They are pretty fantastic after all.
In what ways are you accepting and embracing the reality of the workplace today?
-Katherine Jeffery, PhD