Friday, March 13, 2009

Office Politics

There is a woman in my office who is having issues. I will call her Susan. Basically, Susan does not like being told what to do by more senior people who also happen to be younger than she is. When Susan brought this issue up with one of the named partners, she was told "too bad," albeit in a much nicer way. I think Susan's dilemma is quite common.

I know my own mother, who is a young 53 years old, has a hard time dealing with younger people in the workplace. She often compares her work peers to me, and will say things like "I can't believe so-and-so thinks she can tell me what to do. She's the same age as you are." To which I say ... nothing. I have invited enough of my mother's ire over the past few years to know when I ought to keep my mouth shut.

I do sympathize with older workers who are not used to taking orders from Generation Xers and Yers, but I don't understand it. Demographics in the workplace have been changing for a while now. Older workers are retiring and younger, qualified people are filling the void. Older workers, who are left in the workplace, can either accept that young(er) people are more qualified than they are, or they can grouse about it in private, but complaining about it to supervisors is a bad practice.

Sadly, if Susan does not change her tune, I know she will be out on her ear. The named partners are reasonable people but constant complaining is bad for the office environment and they will not abide it too much longer.

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