Just thinking about the Beatles seems to induce mental disturbance. They have a commonplace, rather dull act that hardly seems to merit mentioning, yet people hereabouts have mentioned scarcely anything else for a couple of days. (Washington Post)
They’re Not Elvis! (or Frank Sinatra, or Glenn Miller ...)
In reading some of the reaction to The Beatles, a lot of the criticism and opposition came from people who just didn’t really get them--and some of that seemed to be generational. These were folks who grew up with Elvis Presley and felt that Elvis was the epitome of real music. After all who wouldn’t love “The King”?
Then we see that people reacted pretty harshly to Elvis’s arrival on the music scene and longed for the days when Frank Sinatra or Glenn Miller was the toast of the airwaves.
See the pattern, here?
It seems that every generation (or even half generation) there is a shift in thinking, perspective, likes, dislikes and points of view-and the big challenge has always been how to bridge the gap between someone who thinks The Beatles are real music and the person who thinks The Glenn MIller Orchestra is.
After all, is the Beatles fan wrong? Is the Glenn Miller fan wrong?
You Don’t Have to Get “Yellow Submarine”
We are in the midst of a large generational shift in the workplace aren’t we? The Boomers and some Gen X’ers wonder why Millennials seem to be lazy, self-important, self-entitled, and resistant to following the established way things have been done. Millennials wonder why the older generations seem so uptight, have sacrificed the best years of their lives for a company that they don’t like or believe in, and don’t seem to understand that life should be about balance.
(Yes, I’ve generalized a bit. Don’t get stuck on that.)
If you’re working in a multigenerational work environment, the first step you can take in bridging the gaps is taking the time to understand the different people in your office. You may not think that “Yellow Submarine” is a good song (I’m still trying to figure that one out myself), and you don’t have to! You’ll just want to understand why someone else would...and validate their right to like it, even if you don’t.
There are so many great resources devoted to this topic right now--and I would encourage you, whether you’re just getting started in your career, or are a veteran, to do some homework and understand what makes people outside of your generation, gender, cultural background, socio-economic experience, tick!
- Don’t pass judgment on the aspects you don’t agree with or relate to.
- Instead ask questions (and not the snarky questions designed to put someone down under the guise of wanting to know more) that help you to understand more.
- Find opportunities to explain how and why you things the way that you do and look for the things you can agree on and move forward together.
There will always be a gap between people! I’ve done classes where I had to spend a lot of time explaining WHY someone would want to use Twitter...and the people in the audience just don’t get it! The trick is, finding ways to bridge the gap, so everyone wins.