That Guy’s An Idiot: Multigenerational Communication – Ugh

That Guy's An Idiot: Multigenerational Communication - Ugh

A communication breakdown is common. Sometimes it’s the transmitter and sometimes it’s the receiver. Lalalalalala…

According to a recent article,  people between the age of 18 and 30 (GenY or Millenials) send about 3,000 text messages a month. I send about 100 (I’m a Baby Boomer.)

So while email is the preferred method of communication for some, with 4 generations at work, we run the risk at work of having serious productivity problems if we don’t pay attention and reconcile these diverse communication styles.

To make things more interesting, by 2014, almost half the workforce in the US will be Millienials. The time to take action is now. Do you know what to do? Do you know how to help your team work through these challenges?

One is to get the age groups together and have them talk about the issues. Provide them with guidelines and rules for communication. Hold them accountable for deadlines and projects. Create reverse mentorship programs.

Instead of creating a battle of wills (“those older people won’t learn anything new”) (“those young people are phone obsessed”). Guess what, you also need to lead by example; how’s your iPad?

Photo credit: Sad and

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One Response

  1. Pamela Ford says:

    The following is a recounting of an incident that I experienced that I sent to the Long Island Railroad( LIRR)a commuter rail in New York. I’m 56 years old and the young woman in the incident was around 34 years old. What struck me was how quickly the event escalated from a politely expressed comment to lower her voice to an extremely rude response. I’m a native New Yorker the woman had what sounded like a midwest accent. There are two rows in the middle of each car that face each other. They offer more room to spread out. I present it here an an all too common event where the cellphone becomes more important than any living person in the vicinity.

    I boarded the 10:35 from Penn Station in Manhattan. My destination was Rockville Center. I sat in the middle seats facing each other because I had packages. There was a young woman speaking loudly to man who offered her food which she declined. I later moved my seat across the aisle and back one seat because of the sun on that side of the train. The same loud young woman took the seat I had just left and began a loud conversation on her cell phone. I asked her to please lower her voice as no one else was speaking. All of the surrounding people were reading. She told me to shut up that this wasn’t the library. So I told her I would continue to talk as long as she did. She said I was rude and moved back to her previous seat and continued to talk, now about me on the phone and then to the man she was previously speaking to. She called me some really unpleasant names to the same man who voiced some sympathy for her situation. The lady across the aisle from me thanked me for speaking up.
    She then moved back to the seat near me. Every couple of minutes she would crane her head back to stare at me. I continued to make no eye contact. Why should I? She moved away and kept her conversation short. And besides if I was complaining about noise I’d be equally guilty if I kept up an argument with her. She quietly, and in a polite voice, asked directions of the man In front of me. I guess to demonstrate that she really was nice and that I was the real problem. When the trainman came back she whispered to him that I was crazy and he should keep an eye on me. This was strange because we had had no more communication after the initial argument but she seemed to want to continue fighting. After that I moved to the area of the car on the other side of the doors. I told the same traiman why I’d moved, ostensibly to avoid any more unpleasantness. When I got up to leave I saw the man she was speaking to and remembered him. He seemed to recognize me too. He was a stocky blonde man with a crew cut wearing an LIRR uniform.
    I understand that cell phones are really helpful when commuting, I have one. But do people have to have long conversations about personal things? I seem to remember some LIRR cell phone etiquette poster somewhere. My reason for writing is that I don’t think passengers should have to defend ourselves against rude passengers. I heard the offensive woman say I wouldn’t have said something if she were conversing with someone next to her. She’s obviously done this before. Whatever it is, it’s an increasing problem everywhere. I don’t expect the LIRR cars to be like a chapel, but since we don’t seem to be able expect civility from other passengers can the LIRR institute quiet cars or post more signage or something? I especially don’t expect a LIRR employee to encourage a rude passenger. 9 out of 10 times, like everyone else, I ignore the many rude people who do similar things and suffer in silence. But I’m hoping for some help from the LIRR to make the ride more pleasant and fair to everyone.

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