Hendrick, Bill. “Baby Bosses: Youth vs. experience doesn’t have to be us vs. them.” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Monday, 18 April 2005.
“Living.” Pg. B 1. The article addresses a different side effect of the generation gap between the 79 million baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) and Generation X ers (those born between 1965 and 1984).
The already-present tension between managers and their subordinates becomes exponentially worse as the age difference between them continues to widen. More and more young adults are starting their careers in managerial positions instead of having to start their way at the bottom and work up to the top.
Understandably, older workers often have a difficult time accepting direction from someone young enough to be their child-or, in some cases, their grandchild. Baby boomers often perceive their younger co-workers as impersonal, condescending, and disrespectful. This view is unjustified more often than not; the older employees’ views are clouded by the fear of losing their jobs or the resentment of others’ advancement over theirs. A large catalyst for tension is seniors’ lack of hesitancy when it comes to filing ageism suits.
In worst-case scenarios (the likes of which are all too common in the American business world), the seniors complete their tasks while always on the lookout for the opportunity to sue, in the not-so-great American tradition of suing every individual who makes you feel uncomfortable or slighted; in response, the younger crew go about their business ever on the edge, not wanting to succumb to the negative pressures of those above them but unwilling to deal with a lawsuit. The problem of ageism-perceived or actual-is more prevalent among males, who tend to have a “macho” complex disinclining them from taking orders to begin with and who are less willing to talk out their problems and feelings than their female counterparts. At best, what results is an armed truce, which is exactly what you don’t want, according to Challenger, Gray, & Christmas owner John Challenger. 43.
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