Ahhhh the 4th of July weekend; bar-be-cues, fireworks and much ado about the woes of corporate america. The subject – my 50-something girlfriend who works for a large medical services provider and boy was she hotter than a firecracker on the 4th of July. Her boss is male and much younger – almost half her age. Among her many sources of discontentment are feeling invisible; undervalued, underappreciated and says her input and ideas are often overlooked. As unsettling a scenario as this is I couldn’t help but chuckle when she threatened to put him over her knee and spank him and was happy to see her apply some humor to a less than funny situation.
With an ageing population working well beyond traditional retirement, ageism and attitudes towards older workers must be addressed in the workplace. Dr, Martin Luther King Jr. once said “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” But the injustice of age discrimination in our society appears to not carry the same importance as inequalities based on gender, race, sex or religion.
My friend’s situation opens to door an interesting training opportunity or corporate H R Managers, but also poses the question of how older workers feel about being managed by a “younger” boss, and what recommendations they would make in terms of bridging the gap between an older and younger workforce.
As it appears, whether by choice (economic factors) or by force (the desire to stay busy), baby boomers are in the workforce to stay. Though the comment about spanking her younger boss made me laugh, perhaps it also gave some insight into the attitudes and preconceptions older worker have towards younger bosses as well. Both youth and age has its advantages. Some give and take on both side of the table and an organizational culture that values diverse age groups can lead to a productive and valuable partnership.
What are your thoughts on this matter?