I recently discovered that the Baby Boomer demographic actually falls between the Silent Generation and Generation X. I never heard of the Silent Generation (born between 1928 and 1945) before. But as I explored further there is actually the Greatest Generation, which spans 1901 through 1927, and is also referred to as the World War II generation or G.I. generation (shaped by the Great Depression and participated in World War II).
Before we get too far off track, let’s get back to the Baby Boomers.
A Brief Background on the Baby Boomers
This is a rather unusual generation in that growing up, we were exposed to many opportunities which many of our parents did not experience, because of the World Wars and the Great Depression. Their experiences motivated them to make life better and easier for their children.
There was much optimism among the Baby Boomer folks as to what could be achieved and explored. Most parents were adamant in ensuring their kids were well-educated or at least had a good trade.
This was a time period of new beginnings in terms of space exploration, more accessible airline travel, and improved communications. Things were changing at a rapid pace. Add to this the Peace Movement which was fueled by the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, the ever present Cold War with the Soviet Union, and the Women’s Movement, and you have a rather complex scenario in which to grow up.
Surrounded by all of these evolving and transforming factors, this began a life of self exploration for many. Old beliefs and institutions were questioned, and pat answers were no longer accepted. Similar to what we are seeing today with the many differing viewpoints in society, back then social justice, war, and politics were in the limelight. There were major social, economic, and educational shifts occurring at a rapid pace to the dismay of our parents’ generation.
The baby boomers developed strong values, attributes, and work habits which have served them well as society transitioned into a more diverse setting with greater equal opportunities. Even with the challenges which still exist today, the generation of baby boomers experienced much of the intensity of major social change. The anti-establishment attitude of this generation of folks created the base for continued social change.
Much transpired in the early years of this generation which added to its thirst for change and equality. In addition to the political and social unrest from the civil rights, women’s, peace, and environmental movements, there were the Cuban Missle Crisis, the first person who walked on the moon, the challenge and anxiety of being drafted into the Vietnam War, the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy, and then of course there was Woodstock.
As things evolved, we moved into other major events such as high inflation, gasoline shortages and rationing due to the oil embargo, the Cold War, Watergate and President Nixon resigning from office, the reinstatement of the draft by President Jimmy Carter, the Ronald Reagan presidency, and Live Aid. Is it any wonder that this Baby Boomer generation is a rather unique and unusual group of folks?
The Generation Gap
As I was growing up there was much talk about the generation gap, and there was no lack of evidence wherever you looked. Whether it was on the T.V. news, the newspapers, or within the family setting, the baby boomers were breaking away from their parents’ values, beliefs, and attitudes.
I have numerous stories in my personal life which confirm these differences. Since change is constant, we find this in every generation. But where I am going with this is to emphasize some of the similarities which can foster an environment and mindset based on cooperation rather than being adversarial and divisive.
In order to do this I am going to point out how baby boomers (1946 to 1964) and the millennials (1981 to 1996) can actually use their differences in a beneficial way. Especially their different styles of communication can be an asset when handled correctly.
It is both eye-opening and beneficial to consider how some of the major attributes of the baby boomers, such as wanting to make a difference, strong work ethic, focused and disciplined, and finding value working in a team, fit in well with the millennials’ desire to make an impact, working well with detailed goals and procedures, being transparent and willing to share, finding answers with technology, and preferring non-traditional work environments.
When we look for what we have in common, and how we can use our differences constructively, we can make a major impact in the world by working together. Beyond the many stereotypes of each generation, there is much value to be gained by creating the proper environment in which to work productively together.
The time could not be better to create positive alliances since many baby boomers will continue to work, some out of financial need, and others who basically love what they do and desire to continue to bring meaningful services and products to the market. Meaningful work is important regardless of age.
One excellent resource for those who are retired or approaching retirement is the organization Encore. There you will find many useful resources on discovering your purpose and in finding productive and purposeful ways to contribute.
There are approximately ninety (90,000,000) million millennials who are extremely tech-savy, and can team up well with the experience of the sixty-five (65,000,000+) million plus baby boomers. Based on the talents and desires of each group, much overlap and commonality can be found.
Couple the potential of the millennials with the experience of the baby boomers and you have a winning combination. The efforts of the millennials can be maximized by learning from the Baby Boomers in how to avoid many mistakes, so that they can more quickly make the world a better place for themselves and their families.
When aligned with a purpose in which they are attuned, millennials will work incredibly hard and utilize their intuitive grasp of technology in ways which will enhance the experience of the baby boomers. Much wisdom has been gained by the baby boomers in finding out what works and doesn’t. Also, wanting to ensure a better world for their children and grand kids, they most earnestly want to contribute and pass on what they learned.
Whether it is in relationships, business organizations, or working together across generations, finding ways to build teams based on cooperation and singleness of purpose will create the type of environment which will fuel success and an overall sense of satisfaction. To empower a team to move forward constructively, lines of open and honest communication are critical. It is much better to overdo this, than risk not sharing some vital data. This includes sharing differences, frustrations, and outright anger.
For this to work, all members of the team need to be transparent. It doesn’t matter if this is a small business, large corporate entity, government agency, or non-profit, the values of such a relationship need to be honored. This may not be easy, but it is necessary. When done properly, any confusion, anxiety, or impatience with the process can be effectively handled.
When the main purpose and overall goal is focused upon, then any differences the boomers and millennials may be experiencing can be dealt with constructively, because the “why we are doing this” takes precedence over “how” it gets done”. This shared identity and sense of purpose forms the foundation to move forward in spite of any differences of opinion.
One thing is for sure, everyone needs to work on a level playground. Hierarchy does not fit well into this kind of setting. Each person gets their opportunity to lead or follow at the appropriate time. Trust is built by gaining an understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and how they can best be utilized for the benefit of the overall objective and each person involved.
In all aspects of life we are both teachers and students. It is no different here. We are never too old or too young to learn or teach. I learn so much by observing nature and children. There are many jewels of wisdom to be found there. The millennials can teach much about technology (web tools, software, models) and the boomers can contribute many ideas based on their years of experience.
When a team is built on these kind of sound principles, with total transparency and open communication paramount, much progress can be made as each team member is inspired and encouraged to contribute to the best of their ability. At this point any generation gaps are seen as useless and merely melt away.
Working Together for a Bright Future
There are so many archaic beliefs and mindsets that have outlived their usefulness. What now appears totally crazy and wacked out may have once served a purpose in terms of survival and maintenance of order and sanity. Those times are over. It’s now all about cooperation rather than competition.
Each one of us brings so much to be table based on our unique talents, abilities, and experiences. By working together we can find common goals where each person benefits, while contributing to viable solutions for worldwide challenges.
Needles to say, this type of effort crosses many generations. Any generation gap is an illusion when we focus on the big picture. Letting go of these outdated belief systems is not only ideal, but a necessity at this point in time.
The Baby Boomers have experienced much in their lives through times of chaos and major change. So who really are the baby boomers? They are a generation of folks who desire to continue to make a positive difference, and to join hands with people of all generations in creating the type of world which is based on trust, honesty, cooperation, integrity and most important of all, Unconditional Love.
May you All find your True Purpose and the Inspiration to Follow It,
=>=>=>Click Here<=<=<= To Work Together with People of All Generations in Building an Online Business which Makes a Difference in Your Life and in the Lives of Others…