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Guest Post: Millennials and Boomers MUST Make Peace

By Nell Edgington



Millennials and BoomersNote: As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have several fantastic guest bloggers contributing to the blog this summer. First up is Robert Egger, founder of DC Central Kitchen and LA Kitchen, as well as the nonprofit sector advocacy group, CForward. He is a tireless advocate for the nonprofit sector, encouraging nonprofits to take their rightful seat at the table. He is always pushing us to think bigger and smarter about social change.

Here is Robert’s post:

 

For you old school Trekkies out there, you may remember the 1969 episode titled “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield” that featured the great Frank Gorshin as Commissioner Bele. The plot is built on a particularly brilliant metaphor of two alien beings – Bele and Loki – all but identical to the crew of the Enterprise, but who loathe each other because they represented a mirror image of the other.

This comes to mind because lately I’ve encountered quite a few fellow, older “leaders” who have a seemingly uniform concern about the Millenials, and their “we’re ready to run the show” attitude.

Similarly, I’ve also been speaking with lots of young “up-and-comers” who are all but ready to push the founder of their organization out the closest window, due to their inability to embrace new ideas or cede some of the decision making to those who sweat and toil on the front lines.

I totally get the friction, but I also know that our generations have lots of common ground to build upon. And for this blog, I’d like to suggest that we must avoid the inter-generational battle that many talking heads would stoke, so that we can take advantage of what will be, in my opinion, one of the greatest opportunities to change the world in centuries.

Yeah…I said centuries!

Think about it. Our generations represent two of the biggest, most educated, freest and richest generations in the history of the world. We’ll outlive our predecessors by decades, and remain healthy and productive much longer than any previous peoples. On top of that, at the push of a button, we can connect with tens of thousands of our peers; locally, nationally and internationally.

And as far-fetched as it might sound…from two divergent ends of the life spectrum, we actually are careening towards the same destination, and looking for many of the same things.

Together, we could be a social, political and economic juggernaut that could re-wire the world, explore new forms of capitalism, re-invigorate politics and reaffirm the incredible power of community.

Now…if you have already rolled your eyes, I can dig your skepticism. You have every right to laugh…but hang with me for a few more moments.

Every morning, 10,000 Baby Boomers wake up, walk into the bathroom, look in the mirror, and see a birthday boy or girl who just turned 67…and that will happen everyday for the next 20 years. You have to figure that a big ass hunk of them let out a looooong sigh, and wonder how they got so lost, tricked and hoodwinked into thinking money and stuff would buy them happiness. THEY are primed to join the ranks of those who would look for deeper meaning and purpose out of life. Heaven knows…they may even get humble, and seek to make amends by reaching to help younger men and women climb a different ladder.

Similarly, an even bigger number of Millenials do the same thing everyday, but they are turning 25…and they are looking in the mirror, and saying “I NEVER want to live my life the way they did.” Who knows…maybe some of them would like to learn how to avoid the pitfalls of possessions, and would value rich conversations with older leaders on how to re-examine the meaning of “rich”.

Do you get where I’m coming from? As weird as it sounds, more and more people everyday are waking up and wondering…is there a different way to live, be happy, judge success, value life, be a neighbor and make a difference?

Sure, one generation might be looking for redemption, while the other a different path, but we really are on the same road…we just haven’t realized it yet.

So…please…rather than buy into the whole “I hate you right back” shtick…realize that if our generations fight, we loose. If we unite, we can make things really right.

You may say I’m a dreamer…but I’m not the only one.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

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About the Author: Nell Edgington is President of Social Velocity (www.socialvelocity.net), a management consulting firm leading nonprofits to greater social impact and financial sustainability. Social Velocity helps nonprofits grow their programs, bring more money in the door, and use resources more effectively. For more information, check out Social Velocity consulting services and clients.


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3 Comments to Guest Post: Millennials and Boomers MUST Make Peace

Alexandra Uth
July 14, 2014

The organization of which I’m president is facing an interesting challenge: On the one hand, we’ve got the baby boomer old guard who are questioning everything the board is doing to grow the organization and who seem to want us to stick with the status quo, which hasn’t been working, but they can’t see, or won’t admit, that the status quo isn’t working. On the other hand, we’ve got Millennials on our board who are loose cannons. We love their ideas and energy and enthusiasm, but their social skills need work. Caught in the middle are those of us who are Generation X, balancing professionalism with creative thinking. It’s a challenge.

robert egger
July 14, 2014

Hey Alexandra….I 1,000% feel for you. I write a bunch, maybe too much, about Boomers or Millenials, so I can understand how Xers like you might groan at yet another “Viva Change” article. In an earlier interview I did for Idealsit, I spoke about the Leadership crisis that ISN’T coming…pointing out that there are thousands of Xers just like you, who have been working in the field for decades, and who are MORE than ready to step up when the leader (finally) steps out, or aside.

Anyway….you all in the Jan/Peter Brady generation have to help your older/younger colleagues get it together. It’s a creepy task, to be sure….but as fate would have it, you all are sandwiched in between to big ass cohorts. PLEASE keep the faith…we really need wise leaders like you in the mix.

And if I can offer any support, please feel free to e-mail me at regger@lakitchen.org

Alexandra Uth
July 16, 2014

Your Millennials/Boomers article is on target. Each generation have unique communication skills that the other doesn’t get. In fact, my organization had a panel discussion on multigenerational communication in the workplace. It was one of our most popular programs. It’s a timely topic.

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