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TOP 5 IN REAL ESTATE NETWORK, October, 2009—(MCT) The big baby boomer bulge didn’t have much trouble getting along at work with the relatively small Generation X, the now 30-somethings.

Gen X mostly was in career lockstep with the boomers.

But when the big baby boom echo — Generation Y, the 20-somethings — entered the workplace, generational dynamics changed.

At most management meetings, boomer and Gen X managers bewail Gen Y’s work ethic (or lack of). To grossly stereotype the complaints: Gen Y doesn’t play by the workplace rules.

Clearly, some Gen Ys work hard. But the stereotype is that they work on their terms — which usually means demanding quick results, not waiting years for recognition, and moving on quickly if they’re not delighted.

But what else would you expect from the “click” generation, the techno-savvy bunch that played Nintendo as toddlers, Facebooked through homework sessions and texted each other throughout college lectures?

Armed with laptops, Wi-Fi and smart phones, plenty of the now-adult techno-literati don’t see why they can’t work at Starbucks instead of the office.

Gen Ys, aka the Millennials, know what technology can do. Whether working remotely or in-house, they have a comfort level that befuddles many boomers. And there’s a sticking point.

Harlan Rimmerman, director of education at the National Auctioneers Association in Overland Park, Kan., said he doesn’t want to look antiquated, but he admits that he, born in 1945, sometimes needs techno-help.

Gen Y “are the ones I go to when I have computer questions,” he said. “However, when they come to fix my problem, they just fix it without showing me what they did.”

There’s irony there. The generation that’s known for demanding mentors, training and quick advancement isn’t turning the table and realizing the value they could bring as workplace teachers.

That recognition, coupled with acknowledgment that older workers want to — and can — learn might help ease some of the generational conflict at work.

(c) 2009, The Kansas City Star.

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