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Enrich Your Job And Paycheck By Bridging The Age Gap At Work

Kelly Hultgren  |  March 7, 2019

A millennial, a Gen Xer and a boomer walk into the bar. The odds of them ordering the same drink? Probably not very high—but maybe greater than them having the same communication styles.

Now, change scenes to the workplace. Having a multigenerational team can be a wonderful thing—the diversity of ages brings different experiences, different lenses—all of which can strengthen the culture, improve products and increase the company’s overall chance of success. But it can also make communication a challenge.  

The HerMoney with Jean Chatzky Podcast Episode 149 tackled breaking down these communication barriers with executive coach Lisa Lord. After decades of HR experience with Fortune 500 companies, she launched a unique coaching and consulting practice that is dedicated to re-humanizing the workplace.

Among the things we learned?

How to Figure Out What You Want Now

Often, Lord says, people come to her when they’re looking to transition. That might be a Gen Xer looking for a second act that will bring her more joy or a millennial who’s been working for a couple of years, but feels stuck. Lord says the key is being able to answer the often-daunting question: What do you want in your job? The more specific you can get, the better. And if what you want is more money, then she says: “Don’t just assume you’re only going to make money from your day job.” Side gigs can help you test drive what you think you want to do—and increase your income.

How to Turn Fear Into Excitement

One thing that holds many women back from tackling the next challenge is fear of the unknown.  It’s possible, Lord says, to flip the switch and turn that into excitement. “Research shows that anxious and excitement present in very much the same way,” explains Lord. “If you think about what anxious feels like, your stomach is in a knot, your palms are a little sweaty. If you think about what excited feels like, it’s the exact same thing. And so if you can convince yourself it’s not anxiety, it’s excitement—in a fake it so you make it kind of way—it actually works.”

Why Millennials Are Different

Millennials can get a bad rap in the workplace. Impatient, needy, never-satisfied, emoji-loving, napkin-hating … you get it. There’s a reason they are the way they are, Lord explains. For example, they’ve been socialized to expect immediacy with services like same-day delivery from Amazon. They expect immediate feedback after receiving it from posts on social media.  It’s important to manage their expectations for the amount of feedback they’ll actually receive.

How to Score the Promotion You Might Not Be Qualified For

You’re looking for management experience so you can climb the ladder in your next job. How do you convince your current boss to take a chance on you so that you can learn these skills? “You have to have done at least 50% of what the job requires before someone is going to hire you,” explains Lord. “Then the key is to explain how you acquired those skills.” Enter: Learning agility. Do you have it?  Tune in, to find out.

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