While there are clear differences, being able to better understand them is a great step towards fostering a positive relationship.
Defining Millennials and Baby Boomers
The Millennial generation spans from individuals born between 1981 to 1996. This creates some confusion, even among Millennials, because the gap in life experience is so large. Those who grew up in the 80s when technology was not as pervasive had a significantly different upbringing than the kids at the tail end who essentially “cut their teeth” on laptops and smartphones.
Baby Boomers may be able to relate to this culture gap among peers because their generation spans from 1952 to 1965 in Canada.
Differing Attitudes and Values
One of the main differences between Boomers and Millennials is their attitude towards work. Generally speaking, boomers tended to have a driving need to work as long and hard as possible. Millennials prefer to take a more measured approach where work-life balance is a priority.
Secondly, many Baby Boomers were raised with the understanding that tradition, religion and independence were the cornerstones of a happy and successful life.
As times have changed, Millennials have become less receptive to these ideas, a perspective that often causes rifts between generations. Instead of dismissing each other, Millennials and Boomers can look for the benefits to each viewpoint.
Many Millennials aren’t mired in tradition, and this leaves them open to new ideas and unconventional lifestyles. Many Boomers are firmly rooted in the values that helped shape them as people, and this is something Millennials can learn from as well.
As many Millennials move into helping professions, working in retirement facilities and in medicine, and Baby Boomers age, they will find themselves interacting more and more. This will also be the case as more intergenerational living situations arise. Instead of cause for conflict, these can be wonderful opportunities for teaching and learning. For instance, while Millennials can impart their knowledge of technology and share their open-minded worldviews, Baby Boomers can share their wisdom and discuss the value of more traditional structures.
Having an understanding of one another’s perspectives will help these groups interact effectively in both personal and professional settings.