As Baby Boomers, we often think we know it all. After all, our generation has seen it all – from the civil rights movement to the technological revolution and everything in between. We are resilient and knowledgeable about what works and how to get things done.
However, both Gen Z and Millennials might have something to teach us when it comes to life skills and world views. If you’re curious what the younger generation can teach Boomers, read on.
1. The Power of Social Media
Baby Boomers may have missed the social media revolution, and perhaps many think that people their age should be using different things than Gen Z and Millennials.
However, that doesn’t have to be the way. Social media use isn’t just limited to younger generations. Done the right way, retiree-age folks can leverage the immense power of these platforms to reconnect with friends and family they may have lost contact with years ago.
2. Embracing Change
There’s no doubt that Baby Boomers have seen their fair share of change. They remember a time before the internet and cell phones – when sending a letter would take days or weeks through the mail, but now there is an app for almost anything you can think of. Photos, videos, and messages from the other side of the world are shared in fractions of a second.
While change has impacted both generations, Gen Z has chiefly felt the speed of that change.
They’ve proved much more adept at dealing with changes in technology and popular culture change than most Boomers could ever hope to do.
3. Technology Adoption
The younger generation is no stranger to technology, from the phones in their pockets to the computers on their desks.
As digital natives, they’ve grown up surrounded by ever-evolving internet technologies and watched social networks explode with activity.
This generation of tech-savvy pioneers is the best-positioned generation to take advantage of these innovative tools and new advancements.
Also, prominent experts in emerging trends such as Artificial Intelligence and Virtual Reality are Millennials.
For Boomers to lean into their knowledge in these areas is no bad thing, they can even show Boomers how to use WhatsApp!
4. Flexible Work Schedules
Gen Z and Millennials are fortunate to have so many job opportunities that Baby Boomers weren’t offered.
These opportunities give the flexibility to work when and where they please. Gone are the days of having to spend 40 hours a week (or more!) stuck in an office cubicle; instead, respondents from a 2019 Pew Research Center survey found that nearly half of Millennials prefer flexible or freelance working arrangements over traditional 9-to-5 jobs.
From remote positions to on-demand services like Uber, Flexible Work Schedules offer us the much-needed balance between our careers and personal lives – something other generations only wished they had.
5. Collaborative Working Environment
We live in an unprecedented time of opportunity where collaboration is king. As the digital age ushers in global connectivity and efficient and open communication platforms, the younger generation has quickly adopted collaborative working environments that emphasize teamwork over individual achievement.
Gen Z and Millennials have realized that great things can be accomplished by pooling resources and sharing knowledge, skills, and experiences – all staples of a thriving collaborative working environment.
What once seemed like an ambitious proposal for integrating individuals into collaborative workflows is now becoming the norm as more businesses embrace this new way of managing their employees.
6. Creative Problem Solving
Young people have embraced creative problem-solving like no other generation before them.
With their natural inventiveness and resourceful approach to life, Millennials are well-suited for finding solutions to the most difficult challenges.
They bring an enthusiasm and innovative spirit that encourages teamwork and collaboration among peers as they strive to find the best answers while respecting both new ideas and traditional approaches.
It’s no secret that Millennials are the driving force behind many of today’s most significant technological, scientific, and industry advancements.
In addition to their forward-thinking approach to tackling complex problems with innovative solutions, one thing that sets them apart is their willingness to try new ways of approaching these obstacles.
They watched our parents and grandparents rely on the same jobs for decades, building their lives around job security as loyalty to an employer brought certain rewards.
However, over recent years we have seen a shift in attitude amongst younger generations. Millennials, in particular, have embraced adaptability with open arms as they move forward in this ever-changing economy.
8. Focusing on Quality Over Quantity
Baby Boomers have seen many things come and go throughout their lives. They have experienced different cultural movements, witnessed the growth of technology, and even lived through multiple economic recessions — all of which have shaped them into who they are today.
But one thing that has stayed the same over time is their sense of values: quantity over quality. For as long as they recall, striving to own the most possessions has been a priority for many, usually because it’s assumed that having more equates to success or status in some way.
However, while this may have once been true, nowadays, Gen Z and Millennials’ value system has shifted away from what was once expected.
The younger generation is seeking quality over quantity items and away from the commercialization of life.
9. Networking Skills
It is no secret that Gen Z and Millennials are renowned for their ability to network, but why are these valuable skills so highly sought after? It could be argued that the advantages of networking have become increasingly apparent in this age of technological advancement and globalization.
While it has always been important for Boomers to build quality connections, greater emphasis on career-oriented socializing is more prominent among members of the younger generation.
10. Self-Care Practices
For Boomers, it can be hard to understand the young’s approach to self-care. But in recent years, more and more data suggest that Gen Z and Millennials have become particularly adept at embracing healthy habits that promote lasting well-being – from finding humor in daily life to engaging in mindful practices.
There are simple yet powerful things younger adults do to support physical and mental health, regardless of age.
11. Gen Z is the Most Diverse Generation Ever
According to Pew Research Center, 56% of Gen Z is non-white, compared to just 38% of baby boomers. This diversity is due in part to changing immigration patterns and interracial marriage, but it also reflects the increasing acceptance of people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds in American society.
12. They Are More Open to Change
Gen Z and Millennials have grown up in a time of rapid change, and as a result, they are more open to change than any other generation.
They are comfortable with changes in their personal lives, such as moving to a new city or changing careers. They are also comfortable with changes in the world around them, such as same-sex marriage and legal marijuana.
13. They Are Way More Tolerant of Others
According to Pew Research Center, the younger generation is the most tolerant generation ever. They are more accepting of people who are different from them, whether it be in terms of race, religion, or sexuality.
This tolerance is likely due to the increase in contact with people from different backgrounds that Gen Z and Millennials have experienced through the internet and social media.
14. More Comfortable Being Individualistic
Gen Z in particular, is more individualistic than any other generation, according to a study by Twenge et al.
This individualism is reflected in their attitudes toward work. Gen Z is less likely than previous generations to want to work for a large company or climb the corporate ladder. Instead, they prefer to work for themselves or start their own businesses.
15. Both Gen Z and Millennials Are More Entrepreneurial
Related to their individualism, Gen Z and Millennials are also more entrepreneurial than ever, according to a study by Goldman Sachs.
This entrepreneurship is driven by a desire for independence and a lack of faith in traditional institutions such as corporations and government.
16. They Are Better Educated
Both generations have surpassed all previous generations in terms of education, in particular Gen Z. According to Pew Research Center, 36% of Gen Z adults have at least some college experience, compared to just 28% of baby boomers.
This increase in educational attainment is due in part to the rising cost of tuition and the increasing importance of a college degree in the job market.
17. Way More Digitally Savvy (Obvs..)
Gen Z and to a lesser extent, Millennials grew up with technology and as a result, they are much more digitally savvy than older generations.
They are comfortable using new technologies and understand how to use them for tasks such as research and communication. Additionally, they are more likely than older generations to be early adopters of new technologies
18. Work/Life Balance is Important
One of the things that Gen Z values most is a good work/life balance. They are willing to trade higher pay for more time off and flexible work schedules. Boomers can learn from this and start to focus on achieving a better balance between work and the rest of their lives.
19. Debt is a Burden
Gen Z and Millennials have seen firsthand the financial burden that debt can place on someone’s life.
Many of them are working to pay off student loans and credit card debt. Boomers can learn from this and make sure to avoid taking on too much debt in their own lives.
20. Saving for Retirement is Crucial
Many Gen Z is already saving for retirement, even though they are still young. They understand the importance of starting to save early and are doing everything they can to make sure they will be financially secure in their golden years.
21. Health is Important
Gen Z and Millennials place a high value on health and wellness. They are more likely to exercise regularly and eat healthy foods than previous generations.
22. Experiences are More Important Than Things
Experiences are often more important than material possessions for Gen Z and Millennials. They would rather spend money on travel, concerts, and other experiences than on expensive cars or houses.
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