It was not too long ago that Millennials were the target of jokes and outrage. Like boorish guests at a Royal Gala, they were criticized for their dress, manners, attitude and values. They were lampooned for their workplace political naiveté, their overestimation of their abilities, their short attention spans, their craving for positive feedback, and their pursuit of work/life balance. You could hear the jeers and snickers from the Boomers, while the Gen Xers were oblivious to it all, caught between the generations, still paying down their student loans. The Millennials had arrived like aliens from a bad movie, itching to take over the world from the Boomers, but lacking awareness and nuance. Above all, they lacked power.
Now, five years later, the war between the generations is over. They won and we lost. Now we are working for them if we are lucky enough to be working at all. What happened?
The Millenials got older and smarter and the Boomers just got older. To be sure, there are still some Millenials bouncing around from job to job, looking for “meaning” and “relevance”. But equally, there are also cadres of Boomers lumbering from one layoff to the next, muttering about how employers prefer youth to experience. Maybe so, they are just not interested in your experience.
Welcome to the Brave New Workplace of 2015, comprised of smart Millenials, seasoned Gen Xers, and wise Boomers, all working side by side, interacting in a complex web of reporting relationships that is constantly shifting and changing. Everyone is accountable, yet no one seems to be in charge.