Sunday, October 29, 2006

Generational Differences - Part II, Xers & Millenials

Generation Xers (born 1965 - 1980): People - Bill Gates, Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton, Beavis and Butt-head, Quentin Tarantino, Clarence Thomas, Newt Gingrich, Dennis Rodman, O.J. Simpson, Madonna, Michael Jordan. Lancaster and Stillman, authors of When Generations Collide, point out that almost all their role models 'were either indicted or exposed as someone far to human to be a hero.' Places - Media expanded the places they could 'travel to' - from every country in the world to space. And media was the great 'exposer'. Documentaries and movies about making movies showed them the 'man behind the curtain' was just that, and the mystery was gone. Poof. Things - more media - Cable TV, Satellite TV, VCRs, video games, fax machines, cell phones, Palm Pilots and the BIG one: personal computers. No more stay-at-home moms waiting with milk and cookies. Instead this was the generation that started showing up on milk cartons. The generation that was warned about about crack cocaine and child molesters. Single parent households skyrocketed and so these were the latchkey kids, taking care of themselves after school.

The Millenials (born 1981 - 1999): People - Prince William, the Teletubbies, Claire Danes, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, Barney, Britney, Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa and Venus and Serena Williams. Places - Chat rooms to MySpace, Oklahoma City to Columbine to The Twin Towers. Things - they've had pagers, cell phones, and computers since elementary school - and now they're laptops are packed in their school backpacks. They've been 'Googling it' since they were old enough to type it in. And here's the good and the bad: a certain segment of the millenials have very involved parents: play dates, and soccer matches and music lessons and homework help, but this is also the generation that is most concerned with personal safety because of all the school violence, readily available drugs and the proliference of gangs.

Taking into consideration the above generational descriptions and insights by Lancaster and Stillman they have come up with a word that they think best describes each generations personality. For me these words helped to kind of sum up each generations outlook, and I think it's a good segue for where I'm headed next - So now that we understand the generations a bit better, how can we apply what we know to the work environment?

The Traditionalist word is loyal, The Boomers: optimistic, The Xers: skepticism, and the Millenials: realistic.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Generational Differences: Part I

Here's a good thought regarding how best to understand generational differences. Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman, in their book, When Generations Collide, suggest that the year breakdowns for the different generations actually reflect a 'common history' each cohort shares. They go on to say that "The events and conditions each of us experiences during our formative years determine who we are and how we see the world." (p.14)And that obviously effects our work choices and what motivates us at work.

Here are some examples Lancaster and Stillman give us of the common history each generation shares. Stick with me on this - it will all come back around to 'putting pleasure in the workplace'. And besides, this is interesting stuff. ;}

The Traditionalist (born 1900 - 1945): People - Joe DiMaggio, Dr. Spock, Franklin Roosevelt, Betty Crocker. Places - Pearl Harbor, Normandy, Hiroshima, Bay of Pigs. Events - WWI & II, The Roaring Twenties, The Great Depression, The New Deal. Things: radio broadcasts, roadsters & drive-ins, record players & 45's. This was a generation that put the needs of the individual second to the needs of the group. They worked together to accomplish goals. Large institutions got things done - like the military, the government, the church - and this generation put their faith in them. fifty percent of male traditionalist were in the military and so they're big believers in a top down approach to management because they saw and were part of that military approach which won two World Wars.

The Baby Boomers (born 1946 - 1964): People - Martin Luther King Jr., John & Bobby Kennedy, Rosa Parks, Barbra Streisand, Jimi Hendrix, Captain Kirk, The Beatles & the Stones. Places & Events - Vietnam, Kent State, Watergate, Woodstock, sit-ins, love-ins, the suburbs. Things: bell-bottoms, mood rings, junk food, junk bonds, LSD and the SEC. THE TELEVISON - by 1960, 50 million of them! And with the television, the events going on in the world came into the house. Boomers saw that institutions were becoming less and less trustworthy, and they also saw the power of the individual to effect change. This was a generation raised by stay-at-home moms. Traditionalist parents worked hard to provide the best for their kids and wanted them to have opportunities they didn't. As this generation entered universities in numbers never seen before (thanks to their Traditionalist parents), they started to question the status quo and they pushed for change - this was the era of reform - civil rights, women's rights, reproductive rights, all starting from the grass-roots level.

Next blog - Genearational Differences Part II, The Gen X'ers and the Millenials.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the workplace."

That is an Aristotle quote, and for those of us who love our jobs, we know that couldn't be a truer statement. The way I see it, the love of our jobs comes from instrinsic and extrinsic factors. As employers, our employees come to us with an already formed - more or less - set of morals, values, and ethics - the intrinsic factors.

So first off, we have to choose wisely to find employees that sync with ours and our company's culture and mission. How do we do that? One idea - put some serious thought into application questions that would reflect that. How about extrinsically? What can we do as employers to make the job more 'pleasurable' for our employees?

There is a lot of writing and research being done now on generational differences in the workforce. What this research is showing, for example, is that what motivates me as a baby boomer (born 1946 - 1964), is not what motivates the Gen X'ers (1964 - 1980) or the Gen Y'ers (1981 - 2000). Granted, those individual categories have a wide age range, and sure, it's not always accurate to generalize when it comes to groups of people, BUT there are some great insights in this research that I think can be very beneficial to employers - especially to seasonal employers who are managing mostly crews of the Gen Y'ers, also known as the Millenials.

So stay tuned. I'm reading a book right now: "When Generations Collide. Who they are. Why they clash. How to solve the generational puzzle at work," by Lynne C. Lancaster & David Stillman. I'll share what I learn as well as keeping you posted on other blogs and websites that are writing about this topic.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Using social networking sites for recruiting

Online Recruitment Magazine, , puts together several conferences every year where the best and the brightest in the online recruitment industry get together and share what they know. In Sept. they had their big OnRec Expo Conference in Chicago, "Global Summit for Online Recruitment", and Patty went to check out all the latest buzz.

Some of that buzz included the skinny on the social networking sites, such as and, and how employers are using these sites in their recruiting efforts. Steve Rothberg, his site is, gave a great presentation about this and you can view the video online. We recommend it.

And we'll be sure to keep you posted about the new info regarding these sites, other cool sites, trends and insights.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A family vacation in the Rockies - a chance to reconnect with each other and Mother Nature

An old friend of mine (we used to work at neighboring guest ranches over twenty years ago and now coincidentally we're neighbors again) gave me her copy of Sunset magazine's July issue and said, "You gotta read this. It will take you back." She was right.

I think for those of you that run a seasonal business anywhere in the Rockies, it gives great insights into what makes a vacation memorable for your guests. Granted, this is one family's experience, but I think a lot of families come to the Rockies on vacation for the same reasons - to leave their busy, 'connected' lives behind so they can reconnect with each other and with Mother Nature.

Unforgettable Yellowstone Vacation: Waterfalls, bison, and geysers: an ultimate family trip through Montana and Wyoming