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Handling Age Difference in the Workplace for a Positive Experience
People are entering the workforce younger and getting out of it later in life, according to business experts. This fact means one thing: that the age gap in some offices is getting larger, and it could be getting more difficult to manage. Age differences in the workplace don?t have to be a cause for arguments and conflict, however. Having people of different ages working together can actually be a positive experience for everyone involved, both professionally and personally. How the age difference question plays out in your office all comes down to how you handle it.
Age differences have always been an issue in the workplace. A generational gap between the old guard and the up and comers has always been unavoidable, but people knew how to manage it in a world where people got one job when they were started out in the working world and stayed with that company throughout their careers. However, those days are gone for good. People tend to bounce from job to job, out of choice or out of necessity, and so that means many workers have to adjust to age differences in the office place while adjusting to new jobs, period.
Even this sense of bouncing around to different jobs can inflame the age difference issue. Older people may not relate to the younger generation?s ways of moving from job to job and drive to find a career that not only makes them money but that they also love. This culture class can cause misunderstandings and tension in the workplace.
What is happening more often with the changing work market is that many younger people are finding themselves in the position of managing older people. Because younger people tend to change jobs more, and because they grew up in the computer generation, they often have more qualifications than older workers. This can cause tension on both sides. Older workers can feel under appreciated and passed over for a job that should have been theirs because of seniority, and younger bosses may feel funny about telling older employees what to do, and correcting them when they make a mistake, because they are supposed to respect their elders. Is there any way to avoid these conflicts at work so that age doesn?t become an issue?
The first way to make sure age isn?t an issue is to simply decide that it isn?t one. If you have younger boss, keep in mind that they were hired for a reason, and be open to the things you can learn from them. If you are in charge of managing an older team, don?t go easy on them because of their age. They won?t respect you for it, and you will only be emphasizing the difference between you. Instead, treat them as you would any other employee, while making personal allowances for some resistance to chance on their part. A certain amount of ?in my day? kind of talk is inevitable. Accept it and take it on board ? you might even learn something ? but have confidence in enforcing the decisions you make at the same time.
The other best way to manage age differences in the office place is to always keep the lines of communication open. If you are a younger manager in charge of an older team, make an active effort to solicit their opinions and to be available to them when a problem arises for them. If you are an older person in the office wondering about how to relate to the younger workers, ask questions. A glimpse into their world may do wonders for your ability to understand and relate to them. Not only will you become more effective co-worker, you might even end up being friends.
Preparing Questions to Ask in your Upcoming Job Interview When you get ready for a job interview, chances are you have spent a lot of time trying to guess the questions you will be asked and prepare your answers to them. How will you explain that gap in your work history? What will you say when they ask you why you left your last job? In the rush to make sure that you have all of your answers perfectly prepared and ready, don?t forget to prepare a few questions of your own to ask the person who is interviewing you. Asking questions is an important part of your interview. When you get asked the old ?do you have any questions for us? one, it pays to actually be able to come back with a few questions instead of a, ?no, I don?t think so.? Asking questions will show that you are engaged in the interview and have done some thinking about the position, plus, the questions you ask will help you elicit valuable information you need when you have to decide whether or not to actually take the job, should it be offered to you. The first thing you should want to find out is why the job is open in the first place. Is the job you are applying for a new position? That means you can expect to have a lot of transitional bumps along the way as you are integrated into the company. If the job is not new, and the person before you was fired, then you can expect things to be in a state of disarray when you take over and that you will have to spend a lot of time up front cleaning up spilled milk. If the job is open because the person who had it before you moved up in the company, then you will know that this is a job with a lot of future potential. Next, find out a little bit about the person who will actually be your boss if you get the job. Sometimes, this person will be involved in the interview, but often they will not. Finding out how high up in the company chain you will be reporting will help you gauge how important the position for which you are applying is to the company. Also, it helps to know a little bit about the personality type of the boss to be. If you like to keep your head down and do your work, and your potential new boss is one of those ?wacky? types, then you may want to look elsewhere. From there, ask about the kinds of responsibilities you will need to take on board right out of the gate. When companies are hiring for a new position, they usually have a few ideas about what that person will need to start working on right away. Getting a clue about your first project will help you decide if this job is right for you. This is also a good time to ask the interviewer about their job and why they like working the company. You may find out that this really could be your dream job, or you may end up sensing from your interviewer that you should run away, fast. Last but not least, ask your interview when you should follow-up on your interview. Don?t open the door for a ?don?t call us, we?ll call you? kind of interview closing. Let the interviewer know to their face that will be making the effort to contact them again. You may get the vibe from your interviewer that the job probably will be going to someone else, so you can move on quickly, or you may end up being offered the job on the spot. Either way, you will have opened the lines of communication to take the next step.
Five Positive Actions You Should Do After a Lay-off Lay-offs are hard for most people and are essentially difficult to cope with if you were and excellent worker and outstanding employee. Sometimes lay-offs are general cuts such as the closing of a whole department. It often times hits good employees that the company otherwise would have never gotten fired. So what do you need to do after you get laid off? Here are five positive steps you should take after you have been laid-off. The first and probably most important step is coping with the situation. Get your feelings straightened out. Of course you are upset and plain dumbstruck by what happened, but if you are not able to get this sorted out with yourself, the company is not going to take you back. Then you won?t even have a chance of finding another job. In some cases, if it was not very clear why you have been fired, it helps to talk to coworkers, and maybe the human resource person to just find out that it was not you or any of your doings that got you laid-off. Within this step falls also the realization that the job market currently is a tough one and that you might have to make some budget adjustments first off all. Do not be picky about what kind of jobs you want to choose. Sometimes, this means a new beginning, some job you might like much better than your old one, and you just do not know it yet. After you have been able to work through the situation and are ready for the job hunt, get your résumé out. If you have not been looking for a job in a while it might be dusty and not be up to date. Add your last job to the list; add your role and responsibilities to your list and maybe you even have to adapt your résumé to a more current style. Résumés and cover letters are your way into a job and the first impression that a new employer gets from you. When you are finished getting your résumé up to date, apply to as many jobs as there are. As a third step, make yourself clear that the job market is difficult and finding a new job might mean to apply for something that you might have not really wanted to do, maybe because you did study it, but you never really liked in the university classes? Well, it is worth applying for. The sooner you get another job, the better of you are. Face it, if you really do not like the work you can find another job after a year or two. After a lay-off it is very important to get back into the working world as fast as you can. To make your job search even more successful, as a fourth positive step after a lay-off, you also need to network. Talk to friends, other companies? bosses you know, and anybody you have ever met that might have a job available for you. Besides networking, you can also always try to do some cold calling, writing letters to businesses that are not having a newspaper add out. There is always the possibility that they are looking for somebody. As a fifth positive action after you are laid-off there is always college. Taking classes that will refresh your topic and specialty you are working in can make a good bullet on your résumé. If the job market is quite tough, why not go back and finish that degree or add another maybe a graduate degree. This always is better on your résumé than plain being out of work.