Age and advice


I recently got reading yet another article about the generational dynamics happening within today’s workplace. It seems that this is the topic-du-jour right now, and on one hand I’m sick of reading about it, but on the other hand I’m fascinated by it. With millions of Baby Boomers exiting the workforce and only about half as many Gen X’ers to take their place, companies are facing both a knowlege-management crisis and a talent crunch. Well, at least they will until the mammoth number of Gen Y’ers flood the workplace. If those Baby Boomers would have only had their kids before their mid-thirties, we’d have a little smoother transition here.

This particular articlefrom Businessweek made an interesting observation – that younger workers (Gen Y or Millenials) are ignoring traditional hierarchical protocols and shooting off e-mails and phone calls to senior Baby Boomer leaders in order to tap into their expertise on various subjects.  Good for them. I’m all for them breaking down the boundaries and asking some VP for a little bit of knowledge if they need it.  I hope that this trend continues. Among the Baby Boomers in leadership that I know, I’ve witnessed a strong desire from them to pass on their wisdom to others before they reach retirement. I also got in a chat with our Western Canada sales manager recently and he told me about how “mentorship contracts” are becoming all the rage at the energy companies in Calgary. Baby Boomers are put on contract immediately after retirement to spend time in the office doing nothing but mentoring younger employees who need their help. Brilliant!

King David (who as King of Israel and father of wise Solomon should know something about providing counsel), wrote in Psalm 37:30-1,

“The godly offer good counsel; they know what is right from wrong. They fill their hearts wtih God’s law, so they will never slip from his path.”

What a good observation for all of us, young or old. I’ve been very blessed over the years to not only have older co-workers that were willing to teach me a thing or two, but a few Christian ones whose advice and wise counsel have made a real difference in my life. I hope that as I grow in my career that I can share a little something with some younger folks that are willing to ask. That is, if any of them are willing to bother with an ancient Gen X’er…


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