Thursday, December 14, 2006

Baby Boomers In The Workplace: We're Outgunned, Stop Kidding Yourself!

Very interesting piece on PBS tonight about Generation Next: Speak Up Be Heard, with Judy Woodruff preparing a special on the new generation of web-savvy workers. I know them, I love them and I could NOT work without them.

But baby boomers won't tell the truth about what's really going on in the workplace. Generation Next is so much smarter, more technologically capable, more flexible and more productive by such an exponential degree, that Traditional Baby Boomer Managers are terrified of them. No one will speak the truth about it. I'm a baby boomer and I will admit it -- we're outgunned.

If people over 45 can't master the tools (web apps, blogging, IM, video, mobile technology, etc) they should be put out to pasture. If the workplace were a true meritocracy and democracy, a team should vote out those least productive (un-web-savvy) members. Unfortunately, those players have power because of seniority, but they often don't deserve that position of heirarchical power, their talents don't merit it.

In the special tonight, they were giving this younger group of workers a hard time about their desire to work hard and play hard -- often asking for vacation (and lots of it) early on, say in the first six months of their employment. Why should this be a problem? The baby boomer notion that they should "earn" it by sitting on their butts in office chairs for a few years before they get their crappy 2 weeks off -- it's ridiculous.

If they can accomplish 10X the productivity in six months, thanks to their brilliant web savvy productivity, that older workers pull off in six years ... of course they should be allowed to go off on vacation. Vacation to this young generation is a chance to restore their energy, come back to their work even more fresh and furious, more intelligent, more productive. What idiot would NOT want that for their team members?