Age aside, when you were born does have an impact on your work life. There are three major generations at work in America today; Generation X, Generation Y and the Baby Boomers. All three of these have different interests, different ways of doing things, a different background to pull from.

The Baby Boomers, who are nearing retirement, are the backbone of our current management structure. Boomers are in management not only because of their years of experience, but also because they are goal oriented individuals. The Boomer generation values hard work and understands teamwork and the need for social interaction in the workplace. Boomers are also loyal to their employers, believing that fewer employers one has the better.

Generation X is a little different. This generation went from the do nothing, Nintendo generation, to the software centric computer addicts we all count on. Generation X thrives on their individuality and the ability to problem solve on the fly. Unlike Boomers, Generation X has always been on the lookout for their own best interest. They aren’t afraid to switch jobs and find what works best for them. This generation tends to work more as contractors where they have more options and more flexibility.

Generation Y takes the boomers goal oriented mentality and melds it with the tech savvy of Generation X. This combination with a few family focused additions gives Generation Y their own spin on the way the world works. Generation Y is a group of problem solvers who aren’t afraid to question the status quo and go after what they want. One major difference with this generation is their consistent push for family over work at the expense of work.

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Is one generation better at one task than another? No. All three generations have access to the tools and experiences to make it no matter what field of work they choose to do. Part of the beauty of life in the 21st century is that you are free to reinvent yourself and your career at any stage of the game. There are differences in the generations, but most of them are social not educational or job related.


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