Ep. 230 Different generations and life stages

different generations and life stages

In this week’s episode, Anna looks at the different motivators of different generations in the workplace.

What motivates you in the workplace?

In this week’s episode, Anna looks at how her own personal definition of success has evolved over time. She also looks at the different generations and their attitudes towards work, from the Silent Generation to Baby Boomers, Generation X to Millennials, and the now famous Generation Z.

Tune in for insights on the different motivators of different generations in the workplace, and to see if this reflects your own experience.

*Resources mentioned during the episode*

5 L’s Assessment – Download this free assessment to consider what ‘success’ means to you across different areas of your life, evaluate where you are today, and prioritise the right goals to get you to where you want to be. www.onestepoutside.com/what-is-success

Generational attitudes towards work

So one of the things that I reflect on is how our definition of success, my definition of success has evolved. With time, I think I wasn’t so conscious of these reflections. When I first started my career, of course, now I look back on it in a different light. But as I quit my job in 2013, as I then later met, someone had children and so on, of course, these different evolutions of my personal life, the aging process, and during a different stage of my life have really affected how I view success, what I prioritize what my expectations are for my career. And I think that’s a really interesting topic. And I hope you agree. I have done recently a presentation on work life integration, as I call it for a company and I did, it was in America. And so I dug into the different generations, of course, we hear about the famous generation Zed, now wanting different things, millennials for some time, were criticized, of course, for being privileged and so on, and titled I suppose the word and for this presentation, I did an American woman, and I think it pretty much apply certainly here in Europe.

I looked at the silent generations that’s born sort of end of 20s to 40s to the Second World War, baby boomers, of course, a big generation, that’s my parents are actually looking at the data.

I think my dad is the silent generation. And generation xers born sort of mid 60s to at millennials born kind of 80s to 2000s. And then of course, we have generation Zed to just briefly I just wanted to sprinkle in a few sort of insights I got from this, because I think it’s interesting, it’s relevant to think about different the different contexts different social cultural context in which we’re growing up how our parents behave, what we see good and bad, and our parents how that affects us. And of course, the the job market that we enter, so silent generation 20s to the 40s You know, second wave feminism, so they already have suffrage, they started looking incredibly at family workplace reproductive rights and thumping my, my fist here on the side, you can’t see me very militantly Ahem. So women made up at that point and almost 40% of the workforce. mother spent eight hours per week on average and paid worked does not sound a lot, dedicated fewer hours to taking care of their kids interestingly, spent 14 hours more per week on housework, I guess things weren’t quite as efficient as they are today, I feel like I’d like to do but I don’t know if I’d like to be interesting to do an analysis of how much time I spend on laundry and so on. And the baby boomers. So that’s certainly my mom, at least raised by parents who lived through the Great Depression.

So obviously value hard work.

They actually pioneers achieve, I’ve got a picture of Hillary Clinton has been at the forefront of this unprecedented professional success. And they are actually the first group to overtake men and the completion of college degrees, making up almost half of the workforce, you know, likely to stay in one job over the course of their career. And they were actually the first generation to care for both aging parents and kids at the same time. So becoming that sandwich generation. Generation X is raised to believe that girls could do anything I’ve got Sheryl Sandberg there as kind of a role model, or at least certainly a representative 46% grew up in households where both parents worked, and they were peaking divorce rates, reported higher levels of work, family interference, really, they’re in their peak family years, right. They’ve got the kids, they’ve got the high flying career and so on, they’re wanting to have it all, as they say, and possibly the generation xers were the first generation to use the words work life balance, then we’ve got the millennials I fall into this one just raised in the world of rapidly advancing technology, income inequality, economic uncertainty, marrying and having children later, I think I was 36 when I had Sofia, so later than older generation geriatric President presidency, I was gonna say not not that unfortunate pregnancy, and more aggressive about asking for raises and promotions. I don’t think that was me. But that sounds positive. And of course, prioritizing well being and work life balance, but also job security. Now, generations that I didn’t include in that presentation, because it was for an older audience. But just briefly looking here and an article from BBC it’s quite interesting, because they’re saying that generations that actually still prioritizes higher pay or still more so than millennials, if you think of them, they’ve now experienced parents who may be lost their job or took a pay cut during COVID-19. That’s quite interesting one, they’ve watched older generations go through multiple recessions. They’re thinking No, hello, I want that salary. I want that economic stability.

However, they’re more willing to quit a job and interestingly, perhaps counter intuitively, being willing to Job hop is likely to give you have a higher salary rather than a lower salary. That’s how you get the highest salary.

Of course, if you’re successful, and they are looking for purpose driven companies, again, also the millennial Those who apparently are more willing to compromise on their values to work somewhere because they liked the brand. As a consumer, it doesn’t sound very, very good does it? But certainly valuing that purpose, wanting to live a good life, happy life and being willing to leave a company if they don’t fit with the values, if you know, they’re only paying lip service to things like sustainability, and diversity, and so on. And it’s interesting. So Jen generation Zed, and just double checking the dates. I think it sort of do, what should we say? I mean, that they’re just entering the workforce, aren’t they generations that now? The workers who want it all apparently, so they go, I mean, I feel like we’re all like that now.

And I do certainly think that they’re shifting. I’m just Googling the age rates for the, for the generations to generations that 97 2012 Okay, that’s interesting. I think my children will be generation alpha is the next one. So what on earth does that mean? But you know, it’s not to say it’s a bit like horoscopes, I don’t think we’re all exactly the same. Just because we happen to be in a particular generation, we might feel a bit disconnected from the generation. But the truth is, if we’ve grown up in that environment, you know, economic austerity parents in a certain situation, if they’re divorcing, if they’re both working, if we saw our mothers suffering, whatever it is, and certainly I know that from myself and my sister, we respond in a certain way, things that we didn’t experience with younger, perhaps we value, especially things that we did, were perhaps one to avoid, and so on. So that’s quite palpable. So that’s generational shifts and generational you know, trends, I suppose.

The other aspect, though, is the lifecycle, right? The different expectations are different ages.

Now. I think back to my golden years of marketing, working at Procter and Gamble in Geneva, we were working hard playing hard, happy to work late. You know, and let’s be honest, again, I mentioned this the other week, but looking disparagingly on his parents left the office early to pick their kids up from school. Goodness me Little did we understand what they’re actually doing heading home to work really hard in the evening, I’m pretty sure. And but we were happy to do that in return for the expectation of promotions, salary increases, and so on, right. So that was important to us. As a new hire. You are ambitious, I think you want to and need to develop that career capital, you want to learn you need the mentoring, coaching, socializing, I think is really important part of it. We value those work friendships, although I read an article recently that younger people don’t value those work friendships as much. That’s an interesting development. Well, that’s when you’re starting out. So that new hire will have different needs. And someone who has a new parent who’s been working for 1015 more years, you know, that person might want to leave on time, not be too stressed about work, have the flexibility, be able to work from home, leave early, maybe, ideally, wouldn’t be necessary, but maybe rather catch up on work in the evening. I’ve always been too tired to do that. But you know, that’s just me. I’m obviously not not strong enough to work those kinds of hours. I of course, would if I had to, and I did. In fact, when I had the kids initially I was working evenings. And then you know, jump forward a little further.

You think of empty nesters, those parents who whose children have moved out. And in fact, everybody children or no children, later 40s 50s 60s, who are quite a way off from retirement. Still, in some cases, they have that renewed energy and focus, passion for the career, but they worry about maybe becoming irrelevant, they’re still looking for their next challenge. They’re considering early retirement, maybe if that’s financially possible, but they still feel they have more to give, they’re worrying about being pushed out the organization because of ageism, and so on. So you can see how those different life stages and that’s very oversimplified can affect where you are and what you want. And again, of course, I have, in my own experience, experienced that evolution, and shift. Even now as the kids get a little bit older, they’re still you know, almost four and two and a bit. School will start you know, I know that will put different pressures on us. But I also find my ambitions, reawakening thinking What more can I do and yet I still want to have the flexibility to be with them. So that balance is always a really delicate one. I have, you know, my yearnings to be more adventurous I’m prioritizing, fitness and running and so on, which I’ve shared probably ad nauseam on the podcast but that’s really important to me, but I’d love to do more paddleboarding. You know, sailing, I got my sailing license when I was pregnant with Sofia.

So I haven’t been on a boat since which is pretty terrible. So I’d love to prioritize that we live by the sea. Now. I’d love to travel more nationally and internationally. You know, there are lots of things I want to do learn things, write more books and so on. So so our energy, our ambition, our health, our family situation, and so on, will vary depending on the generation we’re part of, depending on where we are in our lifestyle. Each parents, not parents health, age, and so on. Right? So I think it’s interesting as, as an employer, as an employee, as a business owner, to reflect on how those things are shifting. Where are you at this point?

Looking ahead, you know, we talked about career cushioning a few weeks ago, talking about designing your dream job, having that flexibility that it can and will evolve over time, really think about where you are. Now, if you’re, if you do have kids, and they’re about to head off to college, and the next few years, you know, thinking about that, again, I’m thinking about the kids starting school. So I need to start, I want to start navigating that shift, and maybe steering the business in a direction where perhaps I can work term time only. I mean, it’s possible now it would just mean that I would need to, you know, front load and make sure I was getting more clients, perhaps in the term time, so I could take that time off. It’s always tempting to do more work, even if you, strictly speaking could take the time off, you know, you’re ambitious, and you’re interested, and you want more money.

And you always have that uncertainty if there will be more and so on. But anyway, so reflect on where you are, which generation, are you? And by the way, I’d love to hear from you. Do you feel like you fit in your generation, you know, if you do a quick Google, I just did this recently, and this is now coming out a couple of months after I record it, but I Googled, you know, the Chinese animals. So I’m the dog, I was trying to see if I fit there. And interestingly, it does sound pretty accurate. You know, Libra horoscope? Chinese dog, I’m a Gen Well, I’m a millennial slash almost Gen X er, I suppose. You know, it’s interesting to look at all these buckets, you can put yourself in and see if they’re accurate or not. And of course, they can’t be for all of us.

But certainly there are there is truth, to you know, having both of your parents working full time will have an effect, both positive and negative, perhaps, on what you see, I talked about this before, as well, if your parents are successful entrepreneurs, if they’re struggling entrepreneurs, if their corporate stress pots, if they’re, they were made unemployed, if you know, whatever it is, if they traveled a lot, or or didn’t, all those things, will have an effect on you, consciously and subconsciously as to what you think is the norm, what you think is okay, what you want for yourself and perhaps children and not, you know, and what you want from your career, and so on.

So it’s good to be conscious of that. And, and it’s not a good or a bad thing. You know, it’s something to think about as long as we’re aware of it, then we can be intentional as to creating something according to that all we can say, You know what, no, I don’t want to be influenced guided by just that experience. That was one experience that my dad had, my mom had whatever it was, my experience can and will be different. We’re living in a different economic situation right now, for better or for worse. And there are different parameters, different circumstances. So we don’t want to be beholden to that particular generational story that we’ve inherited. So do let me know, what generation are you? What stage of your life cycle are you at? And what does that mean for your aspirations for what you want? You know, again, I think most of us aren’t perhaps is the pandemic perhaps is just the way the world is going. Prioritizing different things, wanting more sense of purpose and meaning wanting that greater flexibility. And so one, but I would love to hear from you. I’d love to do some, some more research and have more discussions with you about this. I think it’s an important area to look at and to reflect on how we’re designing the workplace the future of work, again, whether we’re individuals, entrepreneurs, employees, or employers. So do get in touch, you can connect with me on LinkedIn, Instagram, whatever your favorite channel and I’d love to hear your insights about yourself and perhaps how you see the world evolving how you see your own ambitions changing over the year. Thanks so much for listening. I’ll see you next week and I look forward to your insights. Bye for now.


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