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Stifle your inner parent

By Jennie L. Phipps ·
Monday, October 31, 2011
Posted: 2 pm ET

It doesn't seem very long ago that we baby boomers were the youngest members of the team, but now many of us gray hairs are taking direction from people who are 20 or 30 years our junior--  and we're not always liking it.

Working for someone half your age can encourage you to hang up your work boots and embrace retirement, but if you are going to keep working, you have to adjust.

Management consultant Jim Finkelstein, whose company Future Sense specializes in solving employee dilemmas, offers some sensible advice for those of us on the upper end of what he calls the "co-generational workforce."

Resist the urge to be parental.  "There are these awkward moments with younger bosses. They are trying to be respectful and honor your age, and that gives you the opportunity to jump right in and tell them all the things that they didn't ask. Don't lecture."

Embrace change and learn from it. "It may take you to a better place -- really -- because change creates opportunities. "

Play video games. "It isn't about the video games. It is about learning how the younger generation thinks. Plus, it teaches your brain how to multitask."

Tweet. "You have to embrace social media to understand the communications pattern of your young boss. That is the only way you are going to receive and understand some of the most critical information from your boss."

Have fun. "Working for a younger person can allow you to have more fun. Now that you don't have to run the place, smile and enjoy yourself."

Finkelstein has a new book out called Fuse: Making Sense of the New Cogenerational Workplace with more of this kind of advice for those of us trying not to stand out as an old dog while we're embracing work as part of our retirement planning. I'm going to share my copy with my kids.

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1 Comment
November 04, 2011 at 11:41 am

Play video games? That's a silly stereotype...I am in management and most of my employees are older than me (I know of only 2 of the 35 that are younger). However, I have been working for over 50% of my life in this same field. So I come with a LOT of experience.

I am very respectful of those that are older than me and I know I can learn a lot from them so I embrace that. Not one of my employees has ever been rude or treated me with anything other than respect. EVERYONE no matter the age should just treat other people the way you yourself wish to be treated...