March 30, 2009

Tired of the Generational Wars? Me too!

It is very common to hear these days about the war between the generations. You know, how the Boomers can't deal with the Millennials, and how Generation X is misunderstood, while Generation Y (unlike everyone else, apparently) wants "work life balance" and on and on. This so-called generational conflict is itself generating enormous billable hours and white papers from consultancies. Well, frankly, I'm a bit tired of the whole thing. I'm tired because these discussions are based upon such gross generalizations and they do not seem to move us any closer toward a shared understanding. On the contrary, they seem to fuel an "US vs. THEM" attitude in the workplace. I also think there are major misconceptions inherent in the discussion; for example:

March 18, 2009

What does a Leader look like?

I've been engaged in a recent discussion on an online HR group on age discrimination. Though most people acknowledge it exists, many prefer to avoid the discussion as it seems too negative to dwell on.

So its my blog and I'll cry if I want to (a baby boomer reference...get it?)

Age discrimination is alive and well. So is discrimination based on gender, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and any number of other issues. The reality is, we all hold biases, many we don't even realize. I think its important to acknowledge these biases--in a sense, surface them so we can deal with them. The first step toward change is always awareness.

March 6, 2009

Are you a Techno-phobe?

Techno-phobia---noun...meaning fear, anxiety, pounding heart, sweating profusely or downright dread in regard to learning new technologies.

OK, its not a real diagnosis, but one I just made up. (See, some advantages to being a card-carrying Psychologist).

Many people simply dread the notion of having to learn a new application or call the IT guys who are going to make you look foolish, so its easier to avoid the whole thing. Unfortunately, like any other phobia, avoidance only makes the fear and trepidation stronger. So why not embrace it?

I am one of these Baby Boomers who buck the stereotypes---I love technology, love learning how to use new apps and really enjoy the IT guys, even if they sometimes drive me crazy with their lingo. But really, if you are avoiding learning and using new applications, you are missing out on some really great opportunities, especially for marketing, networking and collaborating. The reality is that with technology, the more you use it the easier it gets... it may take some time up front, but once you get over the hump, there is smooth sailing.

Also--there is so much help out there on the web that you can learn practically anything for free. There are online discussion groups, free self-tutorials, and lots of gurus willing to help. So you don't even have to call your brother-in-law and hassle him with your questions.

If you are reading this blog, you can't be too technology-risk-averse. So go out and try something new, even if it involves weird and crazy concepts like twittering and dancing avatars. Life is short.