The Generational Gap – Will You Take Responsibility?

I am a Gen X-er, through and through.

  • Both my parents worked so I became self-dependent at an early age. I also got into a boatload of trouble by being unsupervised, but I learned from those mistakes. Thankfully, I lived through them too!
  • I have seen hands on almost every significant technological milestone go “critical mass” in the last 20 years. It should be noted that when I started as a recruiter we used paper applications and we faxed every resume. My point is that I’ve gone from tech illiterate to tech dependent in a very compressed amount of time, all in my “adult years”.
  • I remember food stamps, 18 percent mortgages, gas shortages, and an insane wealth growth through the tech transformation of our society (almost completely thanks to the Baby Boomers).
  • I’ve learned that work/life balance is a real and attainable goal built on perspective of what is important to me, not just staying under 45 hours a week and a “flex schedule”.

This is who I am and almost all of it is in stark contrast to the needs and experiences of Millennials:

  • Millennials know technology. They clearly are helping our species evolve with very powerful thumbs (I say this with love).
  • Where I learned to trust in leadership, Millennials openly challenge the hierarchical structure.
  • Where I learned that you take direction from the boss and move on and do your work, Millennials need a relationship and active mentorship from their supervisor.
  • Where change can at times give me a near panic attack, Millennials are just simply used to it and can thrive in a change environment.
  • Where I depend on predictability in my work schedule, Millennials need the flexibility to use time how they need to.

Obviously, there are many gaps between these two generations. I’ve seen many trainers, listened to TED Talks, etc., about how I need to embrace the needs of the Millennials and create a workplace that allows them to be comfortable. What I don’t see a lot of is that Millennials need to understand me and my fellow Gen X-ers. There is a marriage of these relationships that must be mutually embraced to really have companies of people that can achieve success. I believe that all the bending to Millennials by us older folk has, to a certain degree, created a bit of an accountability gap where Millennials might benefit from a bit more toughness.

I encourage Millennials to not only seek mentor relationships with their boss, but understand generational qualities that this person has to offer. There are still many living generations and without all of them we would not have a place to build our careers in the harmony we desire. After all, the G.I. Generation defeated Fascism and put a man on the moon. The Silent/Mature Generation fought for equality of the sexes and races. The Baby Boomers created incredible wealth and technology. The bottom line is that a workplace that is truly devoted to its people will foster a culture of mutual accountability for the Gen X-ers and Millennials to close that gap together.

Nate Elgert, CPC

Nate joined Aureus Group in 2006 and has exclusively been serving Nebraska customers all across the state. In his role as Sales Manager, Nate leads an elite team of recruiters and account managers who source accounting and finance talent within all industries. This talent ranges from technical individual contributors to executive finance leadership.

Nate has earned the prestigious “President’s Club” award three times, which puts him in upper echelon status among not only his Aureus Group peers, but also in the staffing and recruitment industry. He attributes his success to a transparent style of communication and a sincere belief in pairing the best interests of his clients with that of his candidates on every occasion.

Prior to his time at Aureus Group, Nate carved out his skills in the banking, advertising, and retail industries. These growth experiences led Nate from Kansas City to Des Moines to Phoenix and then back to his original home in Nebraska. Nate holds a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from The University of Missouri at Kansas City and is a Certified Personnel Consultant (CPC) through the National Association of Personnel Services (NAPS).


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