10 Differences Between Generations X, Y, and Baby Boomers

Clay Mosley

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Personally, I haven't seen a major conflict in the workplace with the different generations. However, there are some conflicts between generations in some companies. Diversity organization in the business is the key to creating an efficiency of bridging the gap between age groups. Between the baby boomers and generations x and y, there is a difference in values, sales practices, and personalities.

First, let's look at the descriptions for each of the generations.

Baby Boomers. Born between 1946-1964. Boomers have the mind set of “organize life around work and work around life" and “work your way to the top. " They are working longer and retiring later. Among many things, the language and fashion in the workplace is also a constant reminder of the ever changing differences.

Generation X. Born between 1965-1977. X-ers supposedly have the “slacker" mentality since some have the Boomer way of thinking. This is sort of a blend of Boomers and Y-ers, depending on which end of the year span you were born.

Generation Y. Born between 1978-1987. Y-ers are basically Xers on fast-forward and self-esteem. They have a much more positive and optimistic outlook to things. They have high expectations of salaries after college graduation (unlike boomer thinking of working your way up) and expect to be the boss faster than sooner.

Differences between Boomers, X-ers, & Y-ers:

1. Make more calls. Back in the day, this is the way selling was done. It wasn't a problem back then. There was no Do-not-call list, everyone had a landline, and people didn't mind to take a cold call or two. Nowadays, it doesn't work. We are in the Information Age. However, it is still done today because the boomer is your sales manager. Cold calling sucks. Don't increase your activity. Change it!

2. Technology. Since we now live in an Information Age, everyone has a blog, email address, website, myspace, instant messenger, internet browser, etc. X-ers and Y-ers bring that technology knowledge and sophistication to the workplace that some boomers cannot bring, which can bring an advantage to your company.

3. Expectations. Boomers, said above, believe in working your way up. Whether you have a degree or not, experience is more important than a degree. All Y-ers, and some X-ers, expect high salary and respect straight out of college. This could cause some tension to the workplace.

4. Team Players. Gen X-ers will say “I'll be on the team, but let me do my piece. " And then Gen Y-ers will say “Sure, I want to do this by myself and by the way, who can I get to help. " Sales managers need to make sure that Gen X-ers are put on a team with the best coworkers that do mind working with young folks.

5. Dress to Impress. This could mean something different to the X-ers and Y-ers compared to the boomers. These days the younger generation could be wearing something totally different than a traditional suit and tie, but feel they are dressing professionally. Managers need to be specific when they say “dress professionally. "

6. Work Ethic. Baby boomers think that “younger people" do not have a good work ethic as they do and that makes their own work harder. Some Gen X-ers feel the same way. However, the Y-ers feel they have the good work ethic for which they are not given credit. Another thing is the difference between X and Y. Gen X-ers want to do their work and go home. Gen Y-ers will work as long as needed. . . or until they get bored.

Not only are there differences from baby boomers, there are differences between X-ers and Y-ers themselves.

7. Loyalty. I can see why it is difficult to manage both X-ers and Y-ers as a baby boomer. X-ers are committed as everyone else working there. Like I said in number four, they are team players and committed to the entire company. Y-ers are already working on their exit strategy before they even start. They usually have a bigger plan that probably involves them opening up their own business or starting their own practice.

8. Rewards. Baby boomer managers need to customize the reward system to the generations. Gen X-ers would pick freedom as the ultimate reward. They would love to be able to take the afternoon or Friday off with no question. Gen Y-ers only see $$$. Money talks to them more.

9. Autonomy. As a manager, you need to manage differently towards these two generations. You need to give X-ers direction, and then leave them to it. Gen Y-ers have questions, questions, questions.

10. Meaning of money. This is along the same lines as number eight. What does it do for X-ers? It gives them freedom and independence. Statistically, they are better money managers. Even though money talks to Y-ers louder than X-ers, it gives Y-ers just something that allows them to maintain their lifestyle.

About the author.

Clay Mosley. [kley mohz-lee].
Sales Nerd.
1. An inspired entrepreneur and writer of Sales Dose E-zine whose knowledge of sales, customer loyalty, and creativity helps sales professionals and business owners become unforgettable. 2. Known for reliability within the community for volunteer events. 3. Can make you money. 4. Gives value first. See also: cool.


SALES DOSE E-ZINE. Clay Mosley is the founder of Sales Dose, an e-zine known for the philosophy of “Motivating Your Noggin. Stuffing Your Brain. Becoming Unforgettable. " It is the online hub for Sales Crave Newsletter, Sales Critic, Sales Pipeline, and Sales Ramble to help professionals in sales motivation, ideas, and relationship building. Also, Sales Dose will be the future home of Salestropolis, an online community for professionals to come together to give value to one another (in other words, build relationships and make money).


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