Generational Approaches to Work – The Baby Boomer – Part 3 of 5

Date: Mar 3, 2010
By: Tracy Koster

Born between 1946 and 1964, Baby Boomers are predominately in their 40s and 50s. After soldiers returned home from World War II in 1946, North America experienced an explosion of births (hence the name Baby Boomer). This generation is stereotypically associated with Star Trek, Woodstock, and the civil rights and anti-war movements. They are optimistic and keen to change the world and throw themselves into their causes, including work. This generation is well-established in their careers and hold positions of power and authority. They constitute a large majority of today’s leaders, corporate executives and senior managers.

Below are a few common characteristics of Baby Boomers.

Work-Centric – Baby Boomers are extremely hardworking and motivated by position, perks and prestige. They commit to long work weeks and define themselves by their professional accomplishments. They are the people running the major corporations right now and, since they sacrificed a great deal to get where they are in their careers, this workaholic generation believes that Generation X and Generation Y should pay their dues and conform to a culture of overwork. Baby Boomers may criticize the younger generations for a lack of work ethic and commitment to the workplace.

Independent – Baby Boomers are confident, independent and self-reliant. This generation grew up in an era of reform and believes they can change the world. In the workplace, Baby Boomers are not afraid of confrontation and will not hesitate to challenge established practices.

Goal-Oriented – With increased educational and financial opportunities than previous generations, Baby Boomers are achievement-oriented, dedicated and career-focused. They welcome exciting, challenging projects and strive to make a difference.

Competitive – Since Baby Boomers equate work and position with self-worth, they are quite competitive in the workplace. They are clever and resourceful and they strive to win. Boomers believe in hierarchical structure and may have a hard time adjusting to workplace flexibility trends. They believe in “face time” at the office and may fault younger generations for working remotely. So keep in mind when dealing with Boomers, sit down and have an in person conversation. They will appreciate the personal touch.

The information in this article is intended for general guidance only. Readers are requested to contact their professional advisor prior to acting on the basis of material contained herein.

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