Posts Tagged: cross generational work

A Little Light Reading

What’s on your nightstand or in your beach tote this summer? My summer reading looks like this:

Currently finished:

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell (2nd reading)

Groundswell by Christine Li and Josh Bernoff (2nd reading)

The Moral Animal by Robert Wright (TERRIBLE book, btw)

On the nightstand:

Made to Stick by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Planet Google by Randall Stross

Spent: Sex, Evolution and Consumer Behavior by Geoffrey Miller

Rules of Thumb by Alan Webber

The Power of a Positive No by William Ury

On Order:

The Fourth Turning by William Strauss

The Extreme Future by James Canton

The Transparent Society by David Brin
Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore; Regis McKenna
The Soul of a New Machine by Tracy Kidder

What is on your must read list? I have a few projects coming up that require researching and studying a variety of theories and viewpoints, and I’m actively seeking books I have not considered yet. Do you have a seminal work not listed here you rely on for future theory or psychology/sociology of technology? Does one of these works speak to you? What resonates with you?

note: links in this blog may be Amazon affiliate links

Working with Gen Y, Gen X and Boomers

I did a presentation today at Jeff Pulver’s Social Media Jungle in which I referenced how much I prefer working with Generation Y (Millenials, Digital Natives). Talk about a crowd response! In the spirit of practicing what I preach, let me share my philosophy behind it.

As the Baby Boomers begin exiting the work force, my generation, Generation X, finds ourselves in the unique sandwich position. Caught in the middle of two massive generations, we have operated largely ignored and uninhibited for quite some time. While the Baby Boomers have been running traditional corporations and operating in the pre-Web 2.0 world, my generation has been quietly building our own working world.

My generation is a generation that frequently operates best in a freelance environment. We like to have the freedom to work at home, often alone by default, and are not traditionally joiners. This means that I often know several Generation X colleagues I can tap for one project, and I often do bring them on board, but their network is often much smaller than I seek for an ongoing relationship. Sure, Gen X is on Twitter, for example, but generationaly often scoffs at the connectivity of social media even as they use it (or build it).

For that reason when it is time to consult on a project I turn to my colleagues in Generation Y first (personally, I prefer Digital Natives to Gen Y as a “label”). As a consultant, I don’t “hire” people for permanent staff, I collaborate on projects with other freelancers instead. For per project consulting, I find that Digital Natives, as a rule, are more in tune with quickly shifting trends and have larger trusted networks to use as the building blocks to future collaboration. This makes them ideally suited for social media projects.

Do I ignore my generation in favor of Generation Y? Absolutely not. I simply find that my generation is already self sufficient, set up to freelance, and we work better together on one-time projects and as a resource behind the scenes for each other. If you run a company and you have Generation Y on staff that you “don’t understand”, I recommend finding out more about them. You have a vast, untapped resource at your disposal.