Sunday, May 6, 2007

Dell Jacoby, What a Difference a Generation Makes

Dell talks about interpersonal interactions are affected by the four generations present in real life. She asks about the types of expectations of the different generations, for instance, why some generations like MySpace versus "in-your-face"? Did you know that this is the first time that four generations are in the same space at the same time? Dell asks: How can we come together in the worksplace?

A quick run-through of the four generations that Dell outline for us:

  • Traditionalists

  • Baby Boomers

  • Generation Xers

  • Millennials

Another important question is: Why is it important to understand the generations? Issues include increasing rate of change, longer life expectancies, democratic shifts influence attitudes our workers, growing communication gap, looming 'talent gap'. Most importantly, the attitudes and ethics that people bring will not serve the other three. These social expectations are what dominate the teens.


  • Stat: skilled worker gap will grow to 5.3 to 14 mil by 2020.

  • Stat: 58% of current us librarians will be retired by 2049.

  • 65% said that generation gaps make it hard to get things done in the workplace.

SO what can we do? Here's a sweet clip of an Ameritrade commercial Dell showed. I found the following on YouTube.

So this clip shows that willing to learn from other generations, the sharing of knowledge, and, most importantly, of personalities were the key take-aways from this commercial. The older man was able to shift perspectives and give knowledge back to younger man. (Btw, this commercial was about 20 years ago. Stuart, the young stock broker, is now about 40 years old.)

Generation breakdown

Traditionalists. influences that drive, if you gather together and trust the institution, you can beat it" this gen created theinsitsion that

It is a mistake that this generation was passed us without leaving their legacy. Remember that this was also the generation that created NASA and sent the man to the moon.

73% plan to return to work in some capacity afer they retire, says generation survey

Baby boomers, the largest most cuddled generation. Born in economic prosperity, water, individual cultural divide, "love it or leave it" mind-set. "public epidemic" The generation raised to be confident, to make change. Questioners of authority. on the edge of burnout?

75% of boomers chose "more time off" to name the most valueable award. why? Tired, somewone in the audience said. This is a competitive generation. This is the itme to build a legacy. This generation is to expland the raditionalists in to share with following gens.

Gen X. 24-hr media. Family unit changes. Everything changed in this generation. Insecurity. They believe that they have a greater chance of seeing a UFO than getting a Social Security check. They are comfortable with change. The generation that learned to make decisions on their own. Skepticism is good; it will make you look at things differently. Independent. They are the first generation to play Pong.

20% say they get their phione bill more often than they get relevant feedback. They are looking for reasons to stay.

80% of Xer men say that time with family is more important than challenging work or high salary. Harris Poll. Takeaway: The library gives the option to live with family.

The attitude is that there are dues to be paid. They want to participate now. The #1 reason for staying in a job is automony.

Millennials are Xers on steriods. Explosion of media. Obssessed with technology. World Wide Web generation. They are tuned in, turned on, and engaged. This is a connected generation, the most racial generation. One out of 8 is immigrant. 90% of Millenials talk to their parents everyday. They want to be a milionaire by 30. They volunteer, want meaning in work. global reality. Concerns are safety and entrepeurism.

37% expect to stay single before 25. Retirement benefits are a very important factor in their job choice. They expect to have gone through 8-10 careers by the time they're 30. Libraires should engage them. You want this generation to lead you in the future.

Clashpoints on Institutions

Traditionalists: "We have faith in them"

Babyboomers: "we can change them" They think they invented the 80-hour workwek. Mid-life burnout. Sandwiched. Need to allow them to mentor and build legacy.

Generation Xer: "We're skeptical of them". Shift your perspective.

Millennials: "Judge them on their merits". They're not a black/white generation; they understand grays. If they find meaning, diversity, ability to participate, you want to capture them now.

What are those posibilites?

The California Library Association has a mentoring program that is a great opp for Traditionalists and Baby boomers to mentor from the bottom up. The Chicago Public Library sysetm is doing this. This is a plae to re-energize from within.

Dell then looks at different workplaces and crtics their websites on recruitment. She highlights the Lilly Company website which features a woman with a child. Dell says that this is a great recruitment site because they understand the work-life balance.

Xexxon Mobile is another good workplace because they highlight that an employee there can go through 5-7 careers with them. They say that you can reframe your career, have opportunities to explore.

MCLS FILL program is another great way to get Genration Xers and Millenials in the department. This program offers paid internships.

Career library > who can you partner with to be sure that the generation filling the workplace can see you?

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