Growing up as an only child, I spent a lot of time around adults. I may have mentioned in a past post that I have often gravitated towards hanging out with the “older kids” or the parents in the room because I tend to feel like I can connect a little better. So when I started my first job out of college and was the youngest one on the team (by 10+ years), one of the most common questions friends would ask me was “Is it weird? Do you have trouble connecting?” While my personal answer is no, when one of our P&P readers recently asked me to write some content about bridging the age gap at work, I jumped on the topic. So today we’re going to be talking about bridging the age gap in the workplace.
Tips for Bridging the Age Gap:
Be an active listener.
Meaningful relationships (in and out of the workplace) are built on active listening. We all like to know that someone is actually listening while we’re talking. Maybe you don’t have kids or maybe you’re not single with two roommates. That’s okay. Pay attention to the small details and follow up. Were they helping their kids carve pumpkins last weekend? Ask how that went. Did they take a day trip? Check in! The little details make a big difference. On numerous occasions I’ve had people thank me for remembering.
We may dress differently, come from different backgrounds, or be at different stages of life. I truly believe that deep down we’re all pretty similar. On the surface you may not appear to have anything in common. That just means you need to do some digging and listening. Finding what you have in common comes along with “active listening.” By talking with those around you, you might find that you have quite a few things in common. Dog lover? Coffee obsessed?
Become the student or the mentor.
What we tend to forget is that there is always something new we can learn from those around us – whether they’re younger or older. Become the student or become the mentor. I have a few different people that mentor me, and I’ve often heard them say that they feel like they’re receiving some type of mentoring as well!
Ask for feedback
When in doubt, ask for feedback. Within the first few months of your job, asking for feedback is a great way to start conversations. Some starter questions? What can I be doing better? Do you have any tips for improving? What are your best practices?
What are your tips for bridging the age gap?
For more career tips, visit the career section on the blog.