How to Get Along With Older Coworkers

How To Get Along With Older Coworkers

Okay, I’ve said it before…being the youngest person in the office SUCKS.

It’s been tough, working in an environment where most people are even older than my parents.

For any of you that can relate, you know how easy it is to sit around complaining about how terrible it is, sulking in your forever alone-ness. That’s what I did for a while. But then it came to a point where I was like you know what? I have to deal with these people for 40 hours a week so let me see how I can get these people to like me.

Here are some things I tried…

Make them think they’re geniuses.

Even if they’re not.  In general, older workers have a difficult time adapting to new employees, in particular, new YOUNG employees. Us college grads enter the workforce and we’re automatically perceived as those bratty kids that think they know it all. And so, a lot of older workers don’t like us. Some of them are  insecure and feel that we’re going to steal their jobs. Some feel that they have something to prove. Others are just mean. (If you’re one of these people, please do everyone a favor and go take a vacation…just saying). So let them think they’re awesome. Tell them they’re awesome.  Reach out to your older coworkers and make sure that they feel that you value their wisdom. It’ll make them feel important and they’ll be less likely to hate you.

Find something you have in common.

Working with people twice and three times your age is um…not really fun sometimes. Why? Because it’s hard to find common interests. Let’s see…Grandkids? Negative. House? Negative. Cooking? Negative (but I’m learning). Perhaps I’ll just complain about how much homework my non-existant children have.

I do have a cat though and yes, he’s a  model…

So I’d talk about my cat with my coworkers. And for a while, that’s about all I had in common with these people. I spent weeks trying to figure out what the heck else I could talk about. Then I found something that I had in common with about 97% of the people in my office!!!! I was so happy I could cry! What was it? What’s this bond that we all share that makes me feel like I have something to talk about with the people I spend all day with?!?!?

I can crochet.

Don’t judge me…I learned how to crochet blankets in high school. We would make them and donate them to kids with Cancer. And yes, it was a very cool thing to do, thank you very much. God, I feel old now. But you see, point is that regardless of how completely different you think you are from everyone else you work with, if you look hard enough, I’m sure you can find at least ONE common interest. But please, don’t pop out a baby just so you have something to talk about with your coworkers.

Ask them about their youth.

One of the things I’ve discovered while working with people much older than me is that for some reason, they tend to love sharing stories from when they were young. They like telling you that when they were teenagers they dated guys 10 years older than them. They like telling you that they used to sneak out of their houses to party. They like telling you about the time that they drove home completely wasted and stumbled into their bed and are somehow miraculously alive to tell the story. Whether it makes them feel young again, or whether they’re simply trying to relate to you, either way, it’s not a bad thing. So just listen to their stories. Ask them questions. Some of them could be interesting and you might actually end up learning a thing or two about life.

When all else fails, bring them food.

Everyone likes free food. It’s hard to NOT like the person in the office that brings the free food. For that reason, I tend to bring in breakfast a lot. So do this and people will  love you… Until they see you stuffing 3 donuts in your mouth and then feel the need to make some resentful remark about how you should enjoy your fast metabolism now, while you still can.

Working in a multigenerational workforce can be kind of awkward at times. So make an effort to move past generational differences and stereotypes. Because I think that if we do this, if we let go of the resentment and ill feelings, we’ll find that we can all learn a lot from each other.

I promise, we’re not as awful as you think.


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81 Comments

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:14 pm

      Thanks! 😀 Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!

      1. The Blissful Adventurer

        April 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm

        I am. Always impressed when a young person grasps us geezers 🙂

  1. dollsaver

    April 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I always can pick-up something by talking to older people & I had a cat that looked just like yours when I was younger—-see, we have that in common!!

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:16 pm

      Haha I was never a cat person…but he’s just very hard to dislike. And yes…definitely, I learn so much all the time just by having conversations with older people. The same is true when I talk to kids. It’s always interesting to get different perspectives on things. Thanks for reading!

  2. Jason

    April 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Try not to make them feel old. I sat opposite a girl (almost) half my age and she didn’t know what vinyl was. I was talking about my LP collection. Her never even seeing LP’s in living memory made me feel like a stonage, midlife crisis, miserable has-been. She should have just nodded along, she’d have picked up that I was talking about music, eventually.

    I did like her though, in the end.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:19 pm

      So now’s not a good time to tell you I have no idea what you’re talking about? Lol 😀 I don’t think we do this intentionally. I think that sometimes we take things too personally…young people and older people alike. Let’s just work on being friendlier towards each other? Is that too much to ask?

  3. possimpibleme

    April 17, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Good observation and useful tip.

  4. paddymcdougall

    April 17, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    LOL…

    Really enjoyed your post, you could look at the 5 levels of rapport

    1. Ritual Cliche
    2. Facts & Figures
    3. Opinions & Ideas (yours & theirs)
    4. Feelings and Emotions
    5. Authenticity & Congruence

    As you talk about things in the 5 stages trust will build, however you have to be sure how much trust is established to you enter into 3 upwards. Also depending on personality types feelings and emotions are a no no.

    If you want to influence people and build rapport I would reccommend Bolton & Bolton personality types as a start point. It transcends gens

    Cute cat, I am away to see if someone will bring me food 😉

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:21 pm

      Thanks! Very interesting…Definitely see how this can be applied in building relationships. Thanks for the info. Oh and if you know of any cute female cats, let me know…He’s single 😀

  5. Author MelindaTripp

    April 17, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    You might consider asking for their mentor ship

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:24 pm

      Absolutely! I’ve actually been very blessed to have some great mentors in my career.

  6. jfeinerman

    April 17, 2012 at 4:30 pm

    Love this. I’ve been the baby at a company and I know exactly what you’re talking about. Bringing in baked goods worked for me until I became known as the co-worker who was making everyone fat! Other than that, they never complained 🙂 And though I’m not a cat person, I’d say yours has some serious model potential! Very photogenic.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:26 pm

      Haha yea, they’re not going to be too thrilled if they gain 10 pounds from eating cupcakes. And thanks! Graham will be very happy to hear that 😀

  7. thoughtsontheatre

    April 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I feel you, it can be tough finding common ground. But glad these have worked for you! I definitely have used number 4.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:27 pm

      It can be tough but if all parties put forth the effort, I think it’s possible. Thanks for reading and yes, number 4 seems to be quite popular! 😀

  8. MarlaGottschalk

    April 17, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    When I first joined the workforce I was not only younger, but entered with a higher degree (and sometimes functioned at a higher level) than many of my coworkers. It was a real challenge. I understand what you are going through! My strategy was to always be polite and I tried to pick their brains for any workplace advice they could offer! That seemed to work and helped to forge relationships. Thanks for posting!

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks for the understanding, Marla! Definitely…young workers aren’t going to get anywhere by being rude and having a bad attitude. Some of the best advice I’ve gotten has been from older workers that I have become close to. I just don’t understand why some people have such a hard time overcoming the idea that younger and older workers can’t get along. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment! 😀

      1. MarlaGottschalk

        April 17, 2012 at 9:52 pm

        I am really not sure where that comes from. I have had such great experiences with less established, younger employees. We all bring something to the table…

  9. makingsenseofcents

    April 17, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    This is all great! I’m the youngest and by about 20 years.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:34 pm

      Thanks! I feel you…I’m the youngest by at least 25 -___- Good luck!! I’m rooting for you 😀

  10. Working Wifey

    April 17, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Loved your blog post! I have always been one of the youngest at my work and find it harder to connect with older co-workers as well. I have found that talking about pets does bridge the gap!

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:35 pm

      Thanks, girl! That means a lot! It’s definitely not easy. But yes, there still are ways to make it work, if we all put in a bit of effort. 😀

  11. B. M. Wells

    April 17, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    While I can understand where you are coming from to the extent that relating to those who differ from us can be difficult, I have to say, this post is ridiculous Kayla. I’m beginning to think your persona is a fiction and that this blog is being written to mock gen y.

    It’s great you are “trying” to relate to co-workers, but are you really trying to learn from them? As I’m getting older (almost a quarter of a century, geezer right?), I really am seeing that wisdom indeed comes with age. If nothing else, more years means more experiences and more opportunities for reflection. With this comes perspective, and wisdom follows.

    To me, this post, and much of this blog, demonstrates a lack of perspective. Yes, they are older than you. But you call your co-workers old like its some sort of cruel fate that befell them. You discuss age like it’s something you are impervious to, and your patronizing tone is offensive. Someday there will be a young twenty-something, blogging about the old lady named Kayla in the cubicle next to her, bitter, sarcastic, jaded and trite. You see that? That’s perspective.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 10:07 pm

      Hey there. I really appreciate you taking the time to read and share your thoughts. So let me just clarify a few things. Yes, in fact, I ammm trying to relate to my co-workers. Doesn’t it make our lives easier if we can just focus on our work as opposed to having to deal with negativity among workers? I think so.

      So yes, I’m trying to build relationships with what should be my “second family”. It’s hard though. Some people are simply not interested. Unfortunately, there still exists a lot of animosity between the different generations and I think we need to get rid of that, A.S.A.P. As for wisdom, absolutely! I don’t discredit older workers. I think that yes, there is a lot to be learned from them. But I also think it’s wrong for older workers to feel that there is nothing that they can learn from new young employees.

      You mention that opportunities for reflection come with age. That is true. However, I would argue that there exist older people that live their lives and don’t take the time to reflect just as there are younger individuals that do take the time to reflect. I guess it just depends on the person.

      I don’t have anything against older workers. I am always looking for those willing to serve as mentors in my life. I think that the knowledge that people gain through living their lives is something beautiful, something that should be shared. Hence why I love to read and write. I myself hope to be very old one day. I look forward to it. So perhaps you’ve taken my writing out of context.

      And yes, someday I’ll be working and there will be a young twenty-something fresh out of college working with me. But no, she won’t be blogging about me saying that I’m bitter, she’ll be saying how she thinks I’m awesome because I’ll have taken the time to mentor her. I’ll have taken the time to get to know her as a person. I’ll have done my very best to help her in every way that I can. That’s the difference.

      1. B. M. Wells

        April 17, 2012 at 11:02 pm

        Yes, there will be exceptions to any general statement. Not all people will use their age to reflect and so on. My point is that, like Doug and a few others, I read this post as quite patronizing.

        I don’t see how you can be for lessing animosity between generations, but in the same breath (and in my opinion) insult their interests and treat their existence as roadblocks to your path.

        We may be misfiring on what we are trying to communicate, but I suppose that is the trouble with words. Nevertheless, the post has gotten quite a response, so I suppose you are doing something right.

        Ben

  12. dcwisdom

    April 17, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    There you go! You’re doing great! Life is your classroom now, and looks like you’re making A’s. I’m proud of you.

  13. Maia

    April 17, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Love this post, as I can definitely relate. I’ve experienced ageism at my work and it sucks. But I’ve found that finding a few mentors among them works well because then they’ll stick up for you when you really need them. I’ve also had to work harder than most just to prove that I know my stuff.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Thanks! Yup…that’s usually the case. It’s unfortunate really but yes I completely agree, I’m a huge advocate of mentorship. Good luck and yes, keep proving to everyone that you know your stuff! 🙂

      1. mgena

        May 7, 2012 at 12:34 am

        Maia, Kayla – It doesn’t hurt to remember that even the old people started out young, and we had to prove ourselves back then, too. 🙂 That’s not specific to your generation – it’s the case whenever you’re newer to something, I think. Kudos for raising a difficult topic, though. You’ve got some really great conversations going here.

  14. stephenedwards425

    April 17, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    “I’ve discovered while working with people much older than me is that for some reason, they tend to love sharing stories from when they were young.”…and the reason for this is…drum roll please…they want you to understand they were once just like you.

    I could write acres about this (because that is what us old people do), but there is a above average chance that someday you are going to be talking to someone who appears about half your age and you are going to hear yourself utter…”when I was your age I…”

    It happens to all of us. lol

    Be encouraged

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 10:18 pm

      Hi! Absolutely, Stephen! But I love hearing these stories. It’s kind of awesome how through these stories, you see that we’re not all that different. And I think that some people don’t understand this. Younger and older workers shouldn’t alienate themselves. This shouldn’t be a “them against us” kind of issue. We should all just work together, learning from each other, keeping an open mind. Is that too much to ask for? Thanks for your input! I really appreciate it 😀

  15. Doug's BoomerRants

    April 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm

    Interesting. The younger comments can identify with you, Kayla, and the oldster comments tend to suggest you’re tone as patronizing and a bit condecending. There’s a suggestion in your writing that might imply Gen Y has all the answers and the old folks are just in the way and at best are to be tolerated by those younger. One problem being as young as you are is that everyone in the real working world (outside of academia) will likely be older than you. Oddly, like a couple of your other readers, I am so old that most of the people I encounter in the real world are much younger. That’s a dilemma you can look forward to many years from now. In the meantime… your listed points are in fact good points to follow in order to learn to adapt to your surroundings.. which you will have to do for the rest of your life. Maybe think of us oldsters as being less “in your way” and more about being “part of your success”. But, yeah… you could use a good mentor; your talent is immense.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm

      Hey, Doug! Thanks for stopping by and reading 😀 Yes, it’s interesting. As you can see, there are differences in perspectives. I think that’s great. My writing’s not meant to be patronizing or condescending. I don’t even really know what those words mean. I’m not trying to offend anyone, I don’t have the energy for that. I’m just trying to prove the point that working within a multigenerational workforce is hard. So what can we do about it? We can make an effort to get to know each other, and to help overcome these stereotypes and negative feelings towards one another. Gen Y doesn’t have all the answers. But neither does Gen X or Gen P or Gen W. None of us have all the answers but we can each learn something from one another. That’s the message. I love when I find older workers that are willing to teach me, in a positive manner. However, as I’ve noted through my experience, these people are hard to come by. Hope you’re having a great day! 😀

  16. rdopping

    April 17, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    And this is why I come here to read your stuff. There is this insatiable degree of sarcasm lying just beneath the surface. It actually scares me to think that your generation thinks in these terms. Gosh, I have told those stories (the young and restless kind). Holy crap.

    It’s great that you crochet. Ha! Now that’s funny (I believe it and applaud you for your efforts). There aren’t a lot of people, young or old, willing to give of themselves that way.

    Learn soemthing huh? I would say that might go both ways. I wonder often how the younger generation would deal with particular stuation and have a curiosity because most are not yet influenced by years of experiences that affect the outcome of the decision process.

    Good one Kayla.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:42 pm

      Haha, thanks, Ralph! The point is that yes, we need to all work together to get rid of this idea that younger and older workers can’t get along. The learning goes both ways. More people need to be open to that. Have a great day! 😀

  17. becca3416

    April 17, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    Totally relate to this. I am the youngest person in my office besides the receptionist. I feel I get stereotyped a lot. This is really good advice, especially the food part! I brought homemade candy a few times and now I am one of the popular kids ;).

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 9:50 pm

      Glad you can relate, Becca! It’s sad that we have to go through this. It’s really really frustrating. But hopefully, we can make things better. It shouldn’t be that difficult for us all to get along. People just need to be nice. Haha yea, the food thing seems to work quite well! Hope you’re having an awesome day 😀

      1. becca3416

        April 17, 2012 at 10:25 pm

        Yes ma’am! Same to you!

  18. hrforgrownups

    April 17, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Oh dear! I have to agree with Doug’s BoomerRants and say that you are a bit patronising, as if older people are to be treated like small children or a puppy. Cajole, amuse and if that doesn’t work – feed. One of my favorite hobby horses is about the need for people at work to be grown up, mature and have the ability to treat people with respect. I’d like to hear you talk a bit more about those themes.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      Hi there! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment on this issue! But come on, who doesn’t like free food? I’m just trying to explain to younger workers that there are things that can be done to help improve the relationships they have with older workers. It’s tough, being a young professional. And it makes things harder when older workers have negative feelings towards us. Some of us are really quite friendly. So I just think we need to learn how to collaborate better. And yes absolutely, by being grown up (but not taking everything so seriously), mature, and treating everyone with respect.

    2. UrbanG

      January 19, 2014 at 3:58 pm

      You need to give respect in order to get respect back.

  19. Gerald L. Summers

    April 17, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Kayla: I’ll grant the some older people don’t relate well to young people, but it is usually a mutual misjudgment. I can only tell you that the best way to deal with anyone is to treat them as an equal in all things. Many older folks look at young people and see immaturity that they cannot help but try to change. It’s just natural after so many years of raising children, etc. But you can stop this just by treating them as worth knowing and listening to. I’m 71 and I like you. It’s too bad we cannot sit down and have a chat. I have a great sense of humor and love to write. We have that in common. Most people are afraid of me because I am a lawyer, writer, smart, incredibly well educated, and very good looking. Such a pity.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 10:14 pm

      Gerald, great points! I agree, I think that both parties need to make a better effort to understand each other. Haha thank you! Glad you do have a sense of humor. Life’s too short to take everything so seriously. And yes, quite a pity, all things to be proud of. Have a wonderful evening! 😀

    2. kebperspectives

      April 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      Gerald, I would like to meet you and I do not think I would find you at all intimidating! Hahaha.

      I love speaking to people like you because you have so much to offer people like me!

  20. smallivy

    April 17, 2012 at 11:42 pm

    One thing that I’ve discovered as I’ve gotten a bit older is that you really don’t feel old. Suddenly you find yourself at the ages everyone else was when you started work, yet you feel like you just started the year before. Granted I’m 40, and not 90, but mentally I don’t feel any different than I did when I was 22. I feel it the next day when I play softball or something, and as a guy at work who’s in his fifties reminds me, getting old isn’t for the weak.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm

      I think that’s awesome! I hope you continue feeling young for a very long time 😀

    2. Jason

      April 19, 2012 at 6:51 pm

      Yeah, I feel the same as I was when 18, then I look in mirror and think, bummer, what happened to my boyish charm!

  21. imabusinessman

    April 18, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Hey Kayla,

    I enjoy reading your posts. I do have an issue with number 1. Older people who have done something for a long time have wisdom and experience. Maybe we don’t click that well, but we don’t have to pretend to respect their knowledge. It’s something we should actually be trying to learn from. There are things you can genuinely respect from older workers without having to flatter them.

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 18, 2012 at 1:30 am

      Hey! Yes, absolutely. We SHOULD respect their knowledge because yes, we can learn so much. But some people don’t feel that way, and it’s sad. Hopefully more people will start to understand.

  22. lnmwonderfulworld

    April 17, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    I can tell you what is worse than being the youngest person in the office-Being the oldest person in the office!! Be careful that you don’t stereotype “older” co-workers, just as you wouldn’t want to be stereotyped. Get to know people for who they are as individuals. For example, I am old enough to have grand children, but don’t have any kids or grandkids, so like you I cannot relate to people (women, especially)who only talk about their families. Boring!!! Thanks for the follow.
    Ellen
    unexpecteddestinations.com

    1. Kayla Cruz

      April 17, 2012 at 11:34 pm

      Ahhh, Ellen, that’s a GREAT point. Yes, we all need to get to know people as individuals. I’m sure we’ll find that this will make going to work a lot more pleasant 😀

  23. Doug's BoomerRants

    April 18, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Hey, Kayla.. just a follow up response. From all the responses here you have a rather diverse age demographic readership. It suggests that you are managing to hold everyone’s attention with your posts. Maybe you outta try a couple polls or surveys and get a feel. When you can post something that strikes a nerve across a demographic, that sometimes means your content has alternative perspectives worth noting. For example, if your intent is to write for fellow GenY’ers… for some reason your posts are also attracting others. One could see that as an opportunity perhaps.

  24. Theo Black

    April 18, 2012 at 2:42 am

    As an older coworker myself, i could get offended. But actually, you’ve pretty much nailed it. good job.

  25. raze

    April 18, 2012 at 9:48 am

    I could use those tips! 😀

  26. thegirlbehindthepen

    April 18, 2012 at 12:34 pm

    I’ll do this when I start working. Hahaha. Nice advice! :))

  27. Stef

    April 19, 2012 at 3:30 am

    I’m also the youngest person in my workplace. I find the most effective way to get along with my older coworkers is to simply talk to them as though they are normal human beings – the age difference is irrelevant because we all respect that each of us brings our own skills and abilities to the company. I’ve never struggled to converse with my coworkers – and some of them are older than my own parents. What helps us all get along is the fact that we respect each other – no one is bribing anyone into a false sense of camaraderie.

  28. Jimmel Calapati

    April 19, 2012 at 6:28 am

    this is awesome. great post, kayla. so glad you wrote this now because this is exactly what i’m going through with my externship at the moment. haha. socialization within the work environment can be so… weeeeird. -___-

  29. Shyannah

    April 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Excellent post! I love it : )

  30. DwayneBaptist

    April 19, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Hey Kayla,

    Obviously, you aren’t getting down because some think you are patronizing. Actually, I thought you were spot-on. I know a few people with 30 years experience; I know a few with 1 year of experience repeated 30 times. (There are also a few with 5-10 years experience repeated 3-6 times….)

    People who aren’t growing are going to feel threatened when somebody new is coming into the mix, whether or not they are the youngest, freshest college grad on the market.

    What I admire about your post is how you are putting into action a lot of the principles of good communication and connection. John Maxwell wrote a great book, “Everyone Communicates, Few Connect” which covers these five principles:

    * Connection increases your influence in every situation
    * Connecting is all about the other person
    * Connecting goes beyond words
    * Connecting always requires energy
    * Connecting is more skill than talent

    You are seeking to gain influence in your organization, and you are making a deliberate effort to do so — Bravo!

    You already understand it is about them! You may want something, but YOU are making the effort to reach them by trying to find something in common

    Your pictures, brownies, etc., are going beyond words — though you seem to be rather good with them

    Obviously, all of the above has required an investment of energy and effort on your part. You could have just shut up and not bothered…

    The good news for everybody is that learning to connect and relate to others is a skill. You don’t have to be blessed by God to be able to do this, but you must practice in order to grow your skill!

    Don’t be bothered by those feeling you were condescending, you weren’t writing for the benefit of us 26-year-olds trapped in 52-year-old bodies. Your advice is to the REAL newbies out there. If some older person is offended that you have to sometimes pretend that somebody is smarter than they are, you are not being patronizing. I’m sure that they have done the same thing at some point in their lives. It is called being polite. 🙂

  31. DwayneBaptist

    April 19, 2012 at 8:59 pm

    Reblogged this on Leading in the 21st Century and commented:
    Come see the principles John Maxwell teaches in Everyone Communicates, Few Connect lived by a sharp, sassy GEN Y GIRL — Kayla Cruz.

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    April 19, 2012 at 5:10 pm

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  33. Anna Gelbman Edmonds

    April 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    What’s interesting about all this is that you, Kayla, will also one day be an old person at work. I don’t think you’ll appreciate Gen-whatever thinking about you as a co-worker in the terms that you shared in this post.

    You’re obviously quite bright and talented. What your older co-workers/friends/parents/ people in general have to offer is life experience which impacts family, work and play relationships. You’re still very young. If/ you go back and reread your delightful Gen Y Girl posts 10 or 20 years, I guarantee you’ll roll your eyes and say, “What was I thinking?” How do I know? There are a lot of things I said and wrote in my younger years that make me wince. Because maturity brings fresh perspective.

    Keep up the great work!

  34. tkvrba

    April 23, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    Tucking this knowledge away. I’ll be walking across that stage soon…

  35. Peter

    May 23, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    This post, and others, has inspired me on what to write next. I will post a response, a positive one, to this post today. You wri.te well and have a lot to say. Keep writing, people need to hear your thoughts.

    —-member of older than your parents generation

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  39. Tammy

    May 24, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    I thought this was hilarious. I googled “older coworkers” and I’m so glad I read this. This is exactly how I’m feeling. I’m 22 I just started working at a corporation. I am the only one new to the working world, everyone else is a professional and older. It can be a little hard to make friends. Everyone is usually going from meeting to meeting, or they’re just focusing on their work and I don’t want to bother them, or we just don’t have much to talk about. It’s not necessarily a bad thing having older coworkers. They can give you a lot of real career advice that your younger friends may not have have. It’s kind of a trade off. But it would be nice having younger coworkers you would grab a beer with.

    1. fiftyis50

      August 9, 2013 at 7:11 pm

      Gen Y Girl you make me laugh and I need your help in being a better 50 year old boss to my 20 year old employees! I even have employees older than me! I’ll share your wisdom! You gave me an entirely new perspective!

  40. UrbanG

    January 19, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    I work with a man about 20 years older than I am. Let me tell you… There is no winning for losing with this man. I am not young but obviously younger than he is. I have tried everything as much as trying to act dumber than I actually am in order to get along with him. He just flat out does not like me at all and there is absolutely nothing that I can do about it at all. Therefore, I just ignore his rude behavior and go about my business. I am not going to feed him or do anything else that he does not deserve. I have treated this man with the most respect and dignity as I possibly can. To no avail. When I have tried every effort to treat him nicely and even go out of my way by doing things for him that others never would, he will be nice for a short time and then go back to his bad behavior toward me. Sometimes people, no matter what age they are, just do not like you because of their own personal reasons. From what I have gathered just by knowing this person, he has issues and they are not about me at all. He is insecure, has issues and is just mean and knows what he is doing and that it is not right. However, he gets away with it and always will. He gets mad if I do anything good even though he does it better. I often feel like he just wants me to either fail or just give up and find another job elsewhere. I love my job and plan on staying for as long as they will have me. I feel like with the short time I have been there though I have had more panic attacks than I even want to think about. Probably a few ulcers too. He takes everything out on me since I am the new person and possibly the only female. He does not treat even the most horrible of the men at work the way that he treats me. I am a nice person, I work hard but in no way try to compete with anyone. I just want to do my job, get my money and go home. It should never be this difficult!!! Unfortunately, sometimes you just have to have thick skin and let the crap roll off of your back as easy as it rolls off of their tongues.

  41. cafecasey

    January 27, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    Laughing, because it occurred to me recently that I am one of the old people at work. Not dead yet, mind you, but I totally seem to get along with all the not old people. I think old is just a spirit.

  42. inkspeare

    March 31, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I think the issue goes beyond the workplace. Many aspects such as political, financial, roles emerging … and many other aspects have to do with the way Gen Y and older generations are interacting now. As an example, Babyboomers are finding that retirement will not come as easy as the previous generations, and much later. This generation is living longer and facing financial unstability, therefore being protective of their previous status, which may seem threatened by the Gen Y who is willing and ready to enter the workforce, and has much to offer, as the older system is changing (which also frustrates the older generations) and the new system is in transition (which frustrates the Gen Y). In a way, both generations are battling their own emerging/ending issues in the workplace and beyond. Gen Y embraces technology and change, while the older generation wishes to embrace it while retaining the security of the old system, hence seeing Gen Y, sometimes, as a threat to its own stability as a passing workforce generation that is not ready to leave the workforce yet. Because people cannot retire so early now, and are living longer, there must be a compromise in the workplace, and this is what is happening these days, these generations are learning to work with each other, trying to find a balance, as due to financial, health, technological, and other issues, they will be stuck with each other for a while. This society is in transition from an older system that is not fitting well the new ways of doing things; however in every generation, there are bits of wisdom. As a Babyboomer, I can see the predicament for both generations. One wants to emerge strong and ocupy its place in society/system and the other one is trying to evolve but at the same time, retaining its dignity and remaining productive.

  43. haileebrown

    September 7, 2014 at 11:56 am

    I just discovered your blog and I love it! I can so relate to every post. Thanks for your insight – so glad I stumbled upon your writing!

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  46. Karen McDonough

    September 23, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    omgosh…i’m one of those “old” people…but was working amongst everyone “young.” I used to do every step that you broach here. Success! oh – but I DON’T CROCHET. I’d bring in a different type of chips in for “The Kids” every once in a while. They loved it. I’d learn which type each one liked and I’d surprise them all from time to time. I also gave them nicknames. Two things that seemed to work. Believe me, there were “mean girls” (the guys were nice, though) when I was first hired…no one talked to me. I even got ignored when I’d say hi or how was your weekend. I finally got them to open up by joking and making enough effort in taking an interest in them. And, guess what? They learned from me as well as I learned from them. But, I’m inherently interested in all people…young, my age and old. And by the way, ask any one of The Kids, and they would tell you that I am a Genius. FYI. Not to debunk your theory, but… LOL!!!! Teehee…

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