Generation anxiety at work: Age difference or attitude?

Photo courtesy of flickr user  Francesco

Photo courtesy of flickr user Francesco

There are three basic stages of performance: Potential, peak, and past prime. Are these descriptions generational or attitudinal? Depending on the workplace and its environment, they could be either.

You can find 25 year-old cubicle warriors burnt out and slouched over from years of pushing keyboards and paper. There are 50-year old enthusiasts still racing towards peak performance. Age difference or attitude?

The debate around generational differences has been going on, well, for generations. I remember in my day … wait, I used to roll my eyes when my grandparents said something along those lines. They probably went through the same – and you will probably say the same when your time comes (d’oh – I did it again).

Attitude or age difference pop quiz

  • Pushing buttons and swiping icons
    In my day, magnets on refrigerators and buttons on gadgets would grab a kid’s attention in hopes of something turning on. It was probably part imitation and part imagination. Now, instead of magnets and buttons, kids press and swipe icons in hopes of something turning on. Digital natives or innate curiosity?
  • A
  • Plenty of time to try new things
    In my day, some of us tried new things more than others. A new trail, a weird food, listen to different styles of music. Those that didn’t try new things were probably scared of the unknown. Some were astronauts, exploring; others were astronomers, explaining. Generational or attitudinal?
  • A
  • People Watching
    In my day, as kids we’d often stare and compare with other kids. Was it curiosity or judgment? Back then, we might file things in memory and look away. Maybe now, we just swipe left. Justification by comparison? Age or attitude?
A

Bottom Line
Tools have changed. Timing has changed. Certain allegiances to brand and longevity have changed. People? Mostly the same, depending on their stages of potential, peak, or past-prime. Of course, there might be other perspectives and privileges added to the mix, but for the most part, differences are more attitudinal than generational.

The stages of potential, peak, and past-prime are temporary, if not cyclical. Everyone goes through them. Most of the time, it’s more about attitude then age.

Barbara Sher once said: “You can learn new things at any time in your life if you’re willing to be a beginner. If you actually learn to like being a beginner, the whole world opens up to you.”

That’s a good attitude for any generation.

About Mike Sansone

Mike Sansone has been working with small business owners, independent contractors, and solopreneurs since 2005, helping them build a better business presence on the web, social media, and mobile. He is the author of the blog site, ConverStations, and his current project is SmallBizTracks, helping small business owners in building their business presence - online and offline. Previously, Mike helped build thriving online communities for AOL, several major professional sports teams, and other destination sites since 1997. He lives in Omaha, NE. Follow on Twitter.

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