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Bridging the Communication Gap Between You and Your Gen Y Colleagues
Friday, May 10, 2013

The recession did an interesting thing to the job market. The way the cycle should work is more or less out with the old; in with the new. But effects of the recession caused things to go backwards, out with the old, the new, and anything in between.

New grads weren't able to get the jobs they were expecting after college, veterans in the prime of their careers were being let go, and those on the brink of retirement were forced to put their plans on hold.

Now that the economy is starting to pick up it offers promise that the worst is over. One thing that's for sure is that the job market landscape has changed and isn't going back to the way it once was. The only thing jobs seekers can do to give themselves a fair chance is to adapt and evolve to what it is now.

With people from all ends of the generation spectrum scrambling to get and keep a good paying job, groups are getting more and more mixed. The beauty about this is that each generation has something valuable to offer the employer but the downside is that not everyone on this same team is on the same page.

Gen X and Gen Y workers undoubtedly have different styles of communicating. In the workplace, there is a significant rift between the old school and new school ways have a hard time of meeting in the middle. The kinds of workplaces that Gen Xer's are used to were more formal, the suit and tie kind of offices. Nowadays, more workplaces are adopting the easy-going spirit of the new generation. When people who are used to different things, asking them to collaborate on professionally can either be a hit or a miss.

To help clear up any blurry lines, managers should set rules for how business is done around there. Communication expectation should be the same across all levels so that a Gen Y's text-like email doesn't set off a Gen X colleague and the formalities in a Gen X email doesn't make the Gen Yer reading it unnecessarily flustered.

Another thing that makes it difficult for the generations to mesh well is that they have different work ethics and motivations. Gen Xers are used to busting their butts in order to provide for their families while Gen Yers are just at the tip of the iceberg in their careers.

The solution for each generation to come together harmoniously has to come from each side. Typically, neither party thinks they are at fault but the fact is that neither is really to blame. It's merely a result of the circumstance.

Instead of sticking with your own ways to fight the imposition of another's, try to embrace the good aspects from other generations and find the common ground that you may have known you shared. All it could take is just a simple "hello" in the break room.