10 Things Boomer Managers Shouldn’t Have to Give Up

A while back I was reading a couple recent posts over at SmartBlog on Workforce about how boomers need to “botox their resumes” and learn to manage millennials.

While the posts are good, I’m even more entertained by the comments. Here’s one from an angry millennial (responding to some crotchety boomers):

“Whether you like it or not, Boomers, you are being replaced. This is called change, evolution. Don’t worry though. Keep being crotchety. It will prepare you well for your upcoming retirement. Drink your cheap coffee. Plan ways to spend your social security. I’ll do my best to stay off your lawn.”

OK, I’m a boomer manager, but I work with a lot of millennials – and most of my blog readers are under 30. So I think understand both sides, and can appreciate what each brings to the workforce. I like to think I’m keeping up to speed and adapting. For the most part, I’m willing to let go of the past and embrace a brave new world.

However – there’s a few things I’m NOT willing to give up as a boomer manager. These are things that are near and dear to me, I’ve worked hard for them, and if you try to take them away, I’ll fight back.

While I can’t speak for all boomer managers, here are 10 things I’d hate to give up:

1. Cheap coffee.
I can’t imagine corporate life with an endless supply of good ‘ol Joe. It’s the lifeblood of long meetings, and has proven positive health effects. I’m sorry, but I’ve tired those 5 hour energy drinks and they taste like medicine.
My team knows what makes me tick – they gave me Starbucks for Bosses Day. (-:

2. Formal business attire.
I like suits. They’re easy to buy and never go out of style. It’s easy to get dressed in the morning. I work for a company that has a formal dress code, and the Gen Y employees don’t seem to mind at all adapting to it. I have no evidence to support this, but it seems like when dress standards are lowered, other workplace standards get lowered as well.

3. My office.
Telecommuting, hoteling, and flexible work arraignments may be fine for some. For me, I’ll take my commute and showing up to the office every day (yes, I have an office with four walls and a door. I make no apologies). When I’m at work, I work, and when I’m at home, I don’t. I don’t like mixing them up.

4. Giving advice.
Yes, I try not to use phrases like “when I was your age”, or “back in the day”. However, I HAVE been around the block a few times, have made some mistakes, and have learned from them. Young, high potential employees seem to crave advice and guidance from their managers, and I’m all too willing to share it when appropriate. It’s called mentoring. It’s why I write this blog. I enjoy it and find it rewarding, so until I’m thrown out of my job or my readership dwindles to zero, I’ll keep doing it.

5. My manners.
Swearing has become acceptable in the workplace, even expected. I had to learn how to stop cussing when we had kids, so I’m not about to start doing it again just to fit in. I still open doors or give up my seat for women, and avoid crude humor.

6. My inner harmony.
For many, with age and experience comes a sense of inner harmony. I just don’t get as excited about trivial things anymore. That could be perceived by younger employees as a lack of passion or sense of urgency, but it’s not. The passion is still there, but my temper tantrum days are over. It’s been replaced with tolerance and patience.

7. My man comb.
A young lady noticed my pocket comb sticking out of my back pocket, and remarked “Oh, isn’t that cute, my grandfather used to have one of those”. Yikes! Now that was a senior moment – but I still carry it.

8. F2F meetings and training.
Hey, I’m a blogger and dedicated social networker. However, it’s no replacement for getting together with other knowledgeable and interesting people and exchanging ideas, solving problems, and building relationships. As for learning – I still like to hear from “the expert”. I find nothing wrong with a good old fashioned lecture and powerpoint, as long as it’s compelling and credible. My attention span is more than 5 minutes, and the cheap coffee keeps me alert.

9. My daily newspaper.
While not a workplace thing (more of a pre-work routine), I hope the day doesn’t come when I stumble out to my driveway in my robe and there’s no rolled up newspaper waiting for me. Yes, I love my RSS reader and online newsletters, but there’s nothing like a dirty newspaper to go with that mug of cheap coffee.

10. My performance standards.
At the end of the day, it’s all about performance. Yes, I’ll do my best to coach, develop, give recognition, empower, and provide flexibility. I’ll do that for ALL my employees, not just one generation. If you’re good, you’ll be challenged, grow, and thrive. However, I won’t tolerate anything less than top performance, regardless of age.

What do you think? What would you boomers add to the list? Is there anything here that’s making you millennials crazy, and why? Really, I’m willing to listen and change. Now get off my lawn. (-: