It was exciting to see my name published in The Globe and Mail yesterday, in response to the debate over how hard today’s twenty-somethings really have it compared to previous generations. When I submitted the piece, I was feeling slightly vulnerable to the angry commenters who seem to enjoy ambushing articles on these kinds of topics. And rightfully so; after the story went up, I couldn’t help noticing how quickly it escalated into a war of the generations. What are we fighting for?
My baby boomer parents once taught me placing blame will never solve problems. This isn’t a pity party. Complaining is the easy part. We can go back and forth all day about who has (or had) it worse. And there are valid points to be made from each side. It’s the way in which we perceive our obstacles that determines our ability to overcome them. With the right attitude, some tough skin and a lot of determination, we can make it through.
The battle we are facing here isn’t against one other. And if we continue believing it is, then we’ve already lost. The real success is discovered when we join together, combining our extremely different skill sets, experiences and viewpoints.
I may be just a twenty-something, but I am confident that the most effective businesses and organizations are built by a diverse assortment of workers, from all generations and backgrounds. Sure, we can point fingers at the baby-boomers for hogging all the jobs, but the truth is we need them to help guide the way as we enter the workforce. And the baby boomers can keep calling us names like “lazy and entitled,” but they need our enthusiasm and innovativeness to keep up with the modern day demands.
So generalize by generation all you want, but you won’t be getting anywhere by making assumptions. It’s time to challenge the negative perceptions of the generations around us. Let’s direct our efforts toward opening doors rather than closing them. After all, we each have our own battle to fight— why waste our efforts by fighting each other?