A Generation Xer's Perspective
By: Scott, HawkPoint President
Jess, HawkPoint’s Digital Marketing Manager, asked for a writeup on my experience managing the millennial generation. It was my intention to ignore this request, because I don’t believe that any label (generational or otherwise) accurately sums up any employee or individual, for that matter. However, as millennials are defined as any person born between 1980 and 1996, and 80% of HawkPoint fits that criteria, I will make an attempt to convey my experience managing at HawkPoint.
The people I have managed have been great, for the most part. Whether it be Millennial or Gen X, we have a very technical bunch, who understand the general principals of earning accolades through hard work. Some very clear high points for HawkPoint’s team are:
- Very comfortable with technologies and various forms of technical solutions. We are not (at all) afraid to dive into something we have never seen before and learn it to the point of making it useful to use and/or our clients.
- Accepting of change. In the tech world, you have to be ready to roll with the punches and HawkPoint’s staff would have it no other way. We thrive in ever-changing, tech-evolving conditions.
- HawkPoint’s team is always willing to do what is needed to get the job done right. Employees are in the office before 7 AM and still working hard after 6 PM. Work ethic and task ownership is at the core of HawkPoint’s values and our employees set the bar.
It’s hasn’t always been perfect, but we are always working to the best “us” we can be. There have been, in the past, a few employees who fit some classic “Millennial” stereotypes. The assumption that they deserve salaries or titles that have not been earned, or the expectation that they should be given flexibilities in their work schedule that are not allotted to other employees, because of some unproven skill that they felt they had, Blah blah blah, old people complaining about young people stereotypes. Don’t get me started on Tide Pods…
Like all organizations, we’ve had our bad eggs also. The interesting thing is, although those stereotypes are typically associated with millennials, the former employees we had with those traits, weren’t all (or even mostly) Millennials. A bad attitude and/or a poor work ethic has no more to do with the year you were born, than your astrological sign or any other frivolous label people choose to use. If you were raised right in the 90s, you will be just as good of an employee as someone raised right in the 70s. Plain and simple.
I am somewhat interested in the flipside of this and will put this post back on Jess to complete, with a question: As a Millennial, what has your experience been working for a Generation X President (Scott, 44) and Owner (Troy, 45)?
Working for Generation X
A Millennial's Perspective
By: Jess, HawkPoint's Digital Marketing Manager
Is this a trap?! Both these Gen Xers are my boss! Of course I think working for them is great…
In all sincerity, so far, I truly have enjoyed working both for and with Generation X folks. They are a good mix of traits from the millennial generation and the baby boomers. Gen Xers, in my experience, embrace technology and are not afraid of learning (and using) the latest cool program, tool, etc. They recognize the importance of social media and digital content, even if they are not quite as social media savvy as us millennials. Baby boomers, on the other hand, have not been as quick to adapt to new technologies, systems and certainly not social media and digital marketing (which makes things rough when that’s your job).
While I am technically a millennial, keep in mind I’m on the early end of the timeline, born in 1987 to baby boomer parents. I remember our first computer, I remember connecting to dial-up internet, I made mixed tapes by recording songs on the radio, and I know why we use the phrase “hang up the phone” to end calls. I mention this because I think it impacts how millennial-ly I am. In fact, in my early career I was teased about being a millennial. Our “addiction” to cell phones and computers was seen so negatively, I was hesitant to admit I was a part of this horrible generation that was bringing the world to a dismal end.
And do you know who shamed me and made me feel this way? Yup, baby boomers. That’s who was managing me early on in my career. And then came the Gen X managers who are more open-minded to technology, to social media, to using new programs and tools. They are not as resistant to trying new approaches and testing new processes to find the best solutions.
I have found that Generation X often bridges the work-culture gap between the baby boomer upper-executive teams and the millennial workforce, helping to foster a new culture that provides more flexibility and celebrates accomplishments (versus long hours in the office). In my experience, Gen X managers lead by empowering their employees to ask for forgiveness rather than permission. They put trust in their team, have faith in their skills, value their opinion and do not micromanage. And, those are the leadership skills I appreciate in all my Generation X colleagues and managers.
The more I worked with Generation Xers, the less shame I felt in associating with millennials, and overtime I started to see the positive impacts my generation has been having on the world. I hope those Gen Z kids don’t screw it all up…
About the Authors
I started my adult life as a graphic designer and I’ve tried to maintain that creativity throughout my career in Information Technology. Over my twenty-plus-year career, I have worked a range of technical positions. I understand the limitations and the potential of technology. It is through the use of creativity and experience that I have been able to help companies integrate and optimize technology in their manufacturing and business environments, creating stable business processes and moving them forward.
My career began with social media marketing and content creation, which sparked an interest in all things digital, and eventually I expanded my skill set across the digital marketing spectrum. I learned front-end website maintenance, Google analytics, Google ads, lead-capture programs, and even some e-commerce experience. I can’t wait to see what I learn next.