The relationship between generation-y, aka millennials, and baby boomers has never been a smooth alliance – and this is particularly noticeable within the workplace. Here are ten reasons why the two generations struggle to work together.
Ironically, many of these complaints come from both sides of the table….
Millennials Consider Boomers as Undermining
This may be a problem within every generation on the subject of their elders. Still, a regular complaint from millennials is that boomer colleagues are patronizing, condescending, and undermining.
It could be the “I’m older. Therefore, I know better” attitude with older generations, or in some cases, the boomer has more professional experience than the millennial. Either way, it’s a source of irritation for gen-yers.
Boomers Worry a Millennial Will Steal Their Job
Many boomers have complained of feeling irrelevant within the workplace – mainly owing to the increasing reliance on technology – which some boomers struggle to keep up with.
Boomers often worry their employability within the workplace is becoming obsolete in favor of more tech-wise millennials and gen-zers.
The two generations are often poles apart when it comes to cultural beliefs. This can be anything from social media, cancel culture, work ethics, relationships, money management, etc.
Both generations are known to be outspoken about their cultural beliefs – even in the workplace – which often rubs each other wrong.
This can be attitudes regarding work ethics, workplace habits, monetary issues, or personal philosophy.
Much like their opinions on cultural matters, boomers and millennials can – and often do – clash regarding each other’s attitudes.
Relationships to Tech
Aside from tech insecurity on the boomers’ part, one thing that irks them is how attached millennials are to their devices. This includes the workplace.
Many millennials like to work wearing headphones and have their cell phones always within reach, which boomers struggle to comprehend.
Taking Credit for Others’ Work
According to a report on this very subject by Forbes, one common complaint from millennials is that boomers have a habit of taking credit for others’ work – particularly younger workers, and are smug in feeling sure that the millennial in question won’t speak up about this injustice – or won’t be believed by management if they do.
It’s unclear whether this is a recurring problem within all workplaces, but it is unacceptable behavior.
Sense of Entitlement
Ironically, both generations share some common ground regarding their feud; both feel the other has an overwhelming sense of entitlement.
This doesn’t just cover workplace entitlement – it covers virtually every subject. And the kicker is both refuse to accept the sense of entitlement accusations aimed at them!
Cocky is as cocky does. This particular area perhaps isn’t subject to generational aspects, as a know-it-all personality is often down to each individual’s confidence level.
Still, it seems prominent enough on both sides of the fence that both parties have a reputation as being a “know-it-all generation.”
Ageism affects everyone at one point or another. And generational workplace warfare is a classic example of both parties pointing the finger.
1 in 4 millennials has experienced workplace ageism from older generations, and 1 in 3 boomers has experienced workplace ageism from younger colleagues.
Boomers are almost entirely united in their belief that all millennials are lazy workers.
Another aspect that ruffles the feathers of the average boomer is millennials challenging traditional workplace settings, instead favoring flexible hours, hybrid working opportunities, and other contemporary employment options.