Boomers, Millennials, and Wisdom

Boomers, Millennials, and Wisdom May 13, 2013

There’s a great piece on mentorship in The High Calling this week–an interview with Christine Scheller. Here’s an especially useful insight:

What advice would you offer to the young and confident group . . .  who do know more than their seniors in certain ways?

I would advise them to treat their coworkers with respect, because it won’t be long before they are the senior colleagues with ambitious young professionals nipping at their heels. Instead of pushing past senior coworkers, why not ask for their help in areas one hasn’t mastered and, in turn, offer to help them get caught up on the ‘new world’ skills they lack.

When I was Fieldnotes, I stumbled on this question as well: how can, for instance, Millennials and Boomers work together well? I opened a discussion on this topic (feel free to go over and check it out!).

But there’s a deeper question here, too: how can Millennials learn from the wisdom of their elders in a professional setting, and how can older people listen to younger ones, too? What role does wisdom and understanding play here?

As a Millennial who teaches Millennials (admittedly, I’m at the top end of the spectrum and they’re near the lower end), and who works mostly with Gen X-ers, and who is sometimes mentored by Xers and Boomers, I’m interested in the question. Each generation has its failings; each has its strengths. What do we have to learn from one another?

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