You’ve landed your dream job in Account Management in an ad agency. Congratulations!
Now your focus is on advancing your career.
But you don’t understand why it’s so important to get to work on time.
And why are there so many face-to-face meetings?
Or why is it an unspoken rule that you should work after hours and weekends on a regular basis? Haven’t they ever heard of working smarter not longer?
If this sounds familiar, you may be working for a baby boomer.
Who Are Baby Boomers Anyway?
Baby Boomers were born between 1945 and 1964.
They got their name due to their large size, numbering about 76 million births.
Baby boomers grew up during a very unique time. It was a time of anti-establishment.
Their mantra was sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
And social change was in the air.
Today baby boomers are between 73 and 54 years old. They make up about 25% of the workforce, and are delaying retirement to remain in their careers as long as possible.
Some baby boomers say they will never retire.
Odds are pretty good that you may be working for a baby boomer.
He may own your agency … or head up account service … or even be your supervisor.
Understanding what makes your baby boomer boss tick may be the key to moving up in the agency.
1. Work Ethic is His Work Ethic
Baby boomers are driven … often referred to as workaholics. It’s not unusual for them to put in 60-hour work weeks.
They worked long, hard hours to move up the agency ladder and establish themselves in their career … and it’s what they attribute their success to.
Baby boomers’ self worth, identity, and fulfillment are centered around their work.
This makes the quality of their work very important too.
Bottom line is the baby boomer’s work ethic is their work ethic.
2. Authority Based on Seniority
Baby boomers tend to believe skills are an ingredient to success, but they are not as important as work ethic and “face time.” Training happens over time and on-the-job.
Baby boomers expect everyone to be workaholics.
They value authority and believe authority tends to be based on seniority and tenure. So you’ve got to put in your time to move up.
They prefer a flat organizational hierarchy; one that is democratic, humane, and a warm, friendly environment.
3. Team Culture
Baby boomers prefer to build a team based on consensus. They like team players and they love to have meetings.
Their communication style is direct and diplomatic. They like to present options and seek to get consensus.
4. Needs to be Needed
Baby boomers are motivated by a sense of feeling valued and needed.
Money to them is a status symbol … a reward. They will often display all awards, certificates, and letters of appreciation for public view. Baby boomers like praise and appreciate title recognition.
Messages that resonate and motivate baby boomers are “You are valued” and “You are needed.”
Adapt to the Baby Boomer
So now that you understand your baby boomer boss a little better, it may make more sense why he works so much … and expects you to do the same. And the countless meetings and motivational talks with you about how important you are to the agency.
If you want to be successful under this boss, you may need to play by his baby boomer “rules.” Try to integrate more of his style and motivations into your work routine.
You can try to have an open and honest conversation with him about your focus on working smarter rather than longer, your strengths in multi-tasking, and your hunger for training. Hopefully, he will be open to these ideas and seek a middle ground with you.
And if not, you might want to make sure you will not be working for a baby boomer at your next job!
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