I will never forget one of my first meetings with a client after I became an Account Manager at MINES – I was slightly nervous but that feeling was enormously overshadowed by the excitement of learning about our client and how we could support their organization. Typically in these meetings, the excitement is followed by the hurdles the organization is facing. In this instance, the particular “hurdle” the organization was facing was generational gaps and the disruptive communication that went along with it. I couldn’t help but squirm in my chair as my client went on and on about how “twenty-something’s” just don’t understand. At first I was sitting there as a professional, the Account Manger, and in a flash I realized that I was a “twenty-something.” I couldn’t help but wonder if my co-workers felt this way about me because of our generational differences.
After that meeting, I became more cognizant of the differences between myself and my co-workers. I had always embraced it but I decided to learn from it. One of my favorite co-workers is a bit older (or as my Grandma says “wiser”) than I am. We won’t always see the world in the same way or handle work-related situations the same, but since I have been open to learning from her rather than focus on our age gap, she has taught me so much – from patience to tricky Mother-In-Laws.
Whether your workplace diversity is generational, cultural, or any difference you can think of, embrace it and learn from it. Please don’t forget to check out our Quarterly Wellness Magazine, Balanced Living Fall 2011 for great articles to financially ‘stay afloat’ in the downturn.