Wednesday, May 18, 2011

me - generation uhm ...

x? ... or baby boomer? i dunno. all i know is i was born in 1963, and the generation label i belong is dependent on which reference i choose.
  • tail-end baby boomer
  • front-end Gen X
  • sometimes mistaken for Gen Y
traits and characteristics ... from my random searches, traits and characteristics for each include -
  • tail-end baby boomer (over here) ... work-centric (commitment to workplace), independent (challenge status quo), goal-oriented (achievement-oriented & career-focused), competitive (hierarchical structure & rankism)
  • gen x (over here) ... individualistic (hands-off management preferred), technologically adept (electronic), flexible (adapt to change), value work/life balance (work to live)
  • gen y (over here) ... family-centric (work/life balance), achievement-oriented (meaningful work), team-oriented (inclusion & involvement), attention-craving (feedback & guidance)
why ponder generation-whatever this morning? ... writers block. public speaking block. this afternoon, i will be part of a multi-generation panel sharing 1 or 2 stories about our experiences with other generations. our story-share must be not more than 10-minutes. and

frankly, with many ideas swirling around about how to approach this topic, i'm not yet quite at a point where i have figured out my specific message - or messages. i thought i had a pretty good message some time monday afternoon. however, since then, i have thought about many experiences with baby boomers and millennials and that message has unraveled. so i've not quite woven my tale ... yet. (this morning's shower moment gave me some ideas!)

bias and expectations ... what i do know is that there are MANY ways to categorize a person and generation is straightforward. what year were you born? then of course, there is astrology - what signs are you? then there is family structure - where are you in the pecking order of siblings? then there is gender - man or woman? what's your myers-briggs? what was your major? so i'll get this out of the way -
  • 1963
  • scorpio / hare
  • oldest
  • girlnutkin
  • enfp
  • engineering
categories make it easier for us to put people in those figurative boxes. boxes make it easier for us to decide what to expect.

if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck,
looks like a duck, it must be a duck.

acceptance and discovery ... i recall the wisdom-ish of a former client almost 10-years older than me (who was into going to concerts) who told me back 2006 -
"power is something you take ... your status is not governed by some artificial chronological measure. if you believe you are a pseudo GenXer, then you are."
turns out, he's not a duck ... my bias and expectation plopped him into the pool of stay-at-home-boomers; however, my acceptance and discovery taught me that someone 10 years older can still hit the town and use napster. (his college daughter was using napster. like daughter, like father, i guess.) this man was getting ready to go to a snow patrol concert with his wife and who suggested i check out breaking benjamin because that was his next concert.

oh - and i saw the beastie boys open for madonna's first tour - the virgin tour - in 1985 at the civic center. gen X me.

my monday afternoon idea ... after taking a quick look at generic descriptions of baby boomers and gen x, my general outline looked something like the following -
  • introduction
  • share my vision statement (aka epiphany back in '94), which motivated me to go back to cubeopolis because why not share? what the heck! i have an audience (uhm ... this has nothing directly to do with the panel topic, but i'll figure out some nexus)
  • common denominator - numbers (everyone can relate to numbers!)
    • 30
    • 2.3
    • ~ 830 and counting
    • ~ 1,850 and counting
    • 17 and counting
then i figured i'd explain each number ...
  • my high school reunion this year
  • number of years until i turn 50
  • number of tweets (including retweets) since April 2010
  • number of blogs posts (among multiple blogs) that i've written since Jan 2006
  • the number if interns and mentees (all in GenY) who've taught me about life
then share a few quick anecdotes ...
  • while in the cubeopolis elevator, another person (boomer generation) said to me, "hey, you're not suppose to be texting. you're not in that generation."
  • while sitting in a "young professionals" meeting, there was discussion that people who were 40 years or older would likely not be interested in working with or for young professionals.
  • while talking with a friend about her new position as an executive in an energy company, she said, "i'm excited to be turning 50 this year. now the rest of the execs won't think i'm too young for this position."
  • at a movie theater with former interns, "are you old enough for a senior discount?"
then share my story ...
  • 17 (and counting) - much of what i have learned about technology, current pop culture, and a continued curiosity about life, i have learned from my experience with interns and with mentees in what has been characterized as gen Y.
  • maybe my story about jengyee and "no telling when i would have sat down ..."
  • maybe my story about creating an internship experience that considered gen Y attributes infused with cross-over generation attributes
  • maybe that i'm considered cougar - just kidding.
  • maybe something about pop culture
  • uhm ... now what? top 10 list? top 3 list? a new acronym?
TOO MUCH SPEW - shit! ... this can clearly be more than 10 minutes. okay - i'm still working on that "message" and how to frame one of they many stories and experiences i have had with gen Y.
take away exercise for closing ... although i know what my intro is with the numbers and anecdotes, i don't know the middle part - you know ... the meat of the story. however, here is what i came up with this morning during shower-time. similar to a "reverb 10" kind of approach, pose a prompt for people to ponder. reverb10 author prompts over here spurred my december daily blog posts listed here.

GENERATIONS ... We are surrounded by the wisdom of generations, but sometimes we lose sight of generations' gifts. What moment during the past 6 months might you have lost sight and had a bias and expectation of someone in a different generation? Consider within the next 6 months initiating an experience of acceptance and discovery of a generation's gift.
these go to 11.

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