Facing a career decision? Puzzled by a co-worker’s point of view? Struggling with a specific workplace dilemma? Looking for ways to improving engagement, collaboration, or innovation within your organization? Wanting to learn more about something I said in one of my books?
I’ll do my best to offer some suggestions, if you “Ask Tammy.”
Q&A: The Generations in Eastern Europe
I have some associates on a team that are from a few Eastern European countries. They don’t feel like they fit the “American definition” of the generations. Do you have any information on the generations of other countries?
I don’t think that the characterization of generations in the U.S. extends around the world. Generations are shaped by the events that happened during an individual’s formative years (roughly ages 11-14+). The events that were occuring in Eastern Europe over the last half century were very different from the events in the United States during this same period.
I haven’t studied most of the Eastern European countries in detail, however, I’ve included (below) a short piece on the generations in Russia that illustrates some of the differences. I hope this helps.
As World War II came to an end, Russia was part of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), a strict socialist society under Stalin. Conditions in the 1940s and early 1950s were extremely difficult: starvation, forced labor and ethnic persecution. The generation shaped during these years was fatalistic, enduring, and hard-working. They developed a practical attitude and became savvy about affiliating with the “right” people, always cognizant of the dominant authority of the Communist Party. After Stalin death, Khrushchev assumed power and liberalized some policies.
“Khrushchev’s Thaw” continued into the 1960s, easing life slightly. Within the country, opportunities became available for the best and brightest. The generation shaped during the 1960s and 1970s developed a strong sense of competition—the system selected who would advance educationally and politically. They saw the escalation of the Cold War, including the Cuban Missile Crisis, Brezhnev’s investments to build the country’s military-industrial complex, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Soviet Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. This generation developed a sense of patriotism and pride at USSR’s leadership role on the world stage. The lingering scars from the trauma of the war made many women possessive mothers.
In the late 1970s, 1980s and early 1990s, President Gorbachev brought political openness and economic reforms – glasnost and perestroika – to the country. Western relations improved, the Afghanistan occupation ended. In late 1991, Gorbachev dissolved the USSR and established the Commonwealth of Independent States. Yeltsin becomes president of newly formed Russian Republic and instituted a dramatic set of free market reforms. The generation shaped during these years is independent and self-reliant, often with a sense of hyper-responsibility for caring for their parents, still struggling with the psychological aftermath of the war. This generation tends to be entrepreneurial, willing to assume risk, and eager to generate wealth quickly in the rapidly-changing economy. This is a pragmatic generation, short-term oriented and able to deal with chaotic conditions.
The events of the mid-1990s through the late 2000s were marked by a significant economic downturn through the 1990s, followed by a rapid boom in the early 2000s, creating an uneven distribution of wealth. The generation shaped during these years is optimistic for the future, sees opportunity in the more open economy, and is hard-working and willing to sacrifice work-life balance for career advancement. During these years, Prime Minister Putin centralized power in Moscow, took a hard-line stance against Chechnya’s desire for independence, and sent tanks to support Georgian-attacked separatist regions and severs diplomatic ties with Georgia. The violence, including the Beslan school massacre, left this generation feeling a sense of immediacy like many of its contemporaries around the globe.
Filed under: Comparisons Among the Generations | Published: 01/15/11
Q&A: The Impact of “Mass Career Customization” on Gen X and Gen Y
I am curious for your thoughts on how a program such as “mass career customization” might influence the loyalty of gen X and y associates to thier companies. There does not seem to be any long-term research to show its impacts, so would love to hear your initial views on this.
Thanks so much.
I’m a big fan of the Mass Career Customization approach and believe it will have a positive impact on the loyalty of Gen X and Gen Y associates to their companies. (For anyone who is not familiar with this, I recommend the book by this title, available on Amazon.) Both generations value choice and flexibility, which is what this approach provides.
All the best,
Filed under: Talent Management Approaches | Published: 01/15/11
Q&A: Finding Work that Is Financially and Emotionally Attractive
Let me congratulate you for your excellent posts on Harvard. In fact, one post titled “When to Keep Your Mouth Shut” compelled me to read all of your articles that you have posted.
Further, the curiosity in me took me further to know more about you and your work in detail and found your site and here am writing a mail to you.
Tammy, i feel i’m a fix right now. For close to 6 years, I have been working as a Transcriptionist here in India and in the in between years of my six year tenure, i happened to learn and work as an Online Brand Manager (SEO/SEM/PPC) with a firm. Due to a major difference with my manager I quit that job and took up the same old Transcriptionist job.
Right now, i feel and i think that i would excel more (Financially/Emotionally) in Online space than in Transcription space….Could you please help me as to what should be the right thing to do now?
Thanks in advance.
How lucky you are to have a good sense of the type of work that you find fulfilling. I’m such a strong believer in the importance of finding your “Life Lure”—the work that will engage you.
Now you need to find that work. I encourage you to begin an active process to find another opportunity to work as an Online Brand Manager.
Good luck and best wishes,
Filed under: Career Strategies | Published: 01/15/11
Q&A: When the Economy Stalls the Progress You Were Promised
I am at a crossroads in my career. In my early 30s, I have been a process engineer for the past 4 years and in my current role for almost 3. I have been able to stand out among my peers to the point that I have placed on myself a relatively strict 3 yrs “up or out” goal. After a little over 2 years at my current firm, I was approached for a promotion package with relocation and selection into a competitive leadership development program.
Then between the economic crisis and some major reorganization going on within the company…nothing. I had to call and call and call and found out that all relocations and positions were frozen. Now, I find myself in a new group with a new boss starting, it appears, from scratch.
The company has been nothing but good to me but I don’t see a clear “next step” in my career or at least it will take me starting over to get to where I was just a few months ago.
Recruiters have contacted me, I have gone on a few interviews to keep my options open and even in this economy a couple offers have come forth, but again, I really like this company and would like to stay. Also, is it too risky to start somewhere new if I have something relatively ‘stable’ right now?
Please offer some advice…Thank you very much.
Unfortunately, I think the severity of the economic downturn caught everyone off-guard. I suspect the reason you had so much trouble finding out what was happening to your promised development opportunities was that no one really knew. The folks running the program were probably almost as disappointed as you, to find that their budgets were being frozen—and undoubtedly embarrassed to have to back-track on the things you’d been promised.
I think you’re being prudent to keep in touch with the external market—while, of course, working to succeed in your new role.
It’s very difficult to predict what will happen in your firm. On one hand, as business rebounds, I’d like to think that you’d be at the top of everyone’s list to get back onto the fast track. Unfortunately, corporate realities often don’t work that way. It’s entirely possible—in fact, from my experience, likely—that the game will be reset. In other words, when the leadership development program begins again (and I do think it will in some form), the selection of the participants will start with a clean slate, looking at those who have excelled during the recession. It’s essential that you continue to excel at your current company—and, it’s wise to keep your eyes open externally, as well.
Best wishes for continued success,
Filed under: Career Strategies | Published: 01/15/11
Q&A: Advice for Boomer Working with Gen Y’s
Any experience counseling Baby Boomer managers in how best to motivate Gen Y new hires? Seems threats of loss of responsibility, demotion, and even firing does little to “affect” behavior. Seems Gen Yers feel “jobs are a dime a dozen,” and “...if I can’t work the way I want, I can go down the street and find another job.”
I teach marketing at the MBA level and find that Gen Y students are savvy team members, seeking to join groups of Baby Boomers beause they can get Boomers to do most of the work (they slack off with feigned excuses about “not enough time,” or “confused as to what’s expected.” Any experience with this?
Yes, I do a lot of work with managers and senior executives on how best to work with Gen Y’s. I agree that threats don’t work well with this generation.
My basic advice is to give them work that is both important and challenging—and let them figure out how to get it done. In other words, re importance, make sure they understand how the task they’ve been asked to accomplish contributes to the bigger picture. Don’t over-specify how to do the work; this generation doesn’t respond well to a 20-step process, with little room for variation. Tell them the end objective, and give them some flexibility to figure out the best way to get there, whenever possible. (I recognize, of course, that not all tasks allow this flexibility due to regulations, safety constraints, and so on.) I suspect the situations you’ve experienced, when Y’s try to shift their work to others, are indications that they’re finding the work boring and unchallenging.
There are several documents on my website that may be helpful to you. In addition, my book Retire Retirement, written to Boomers, includes advice on working with other generations in the workplace.
I hope this helps.
Filed under: Generation Y | Published: 01/15/11
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