Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Generational Gaps

Two of my coworkers are arguing with each other.  One is considerably older than the other. They both feel like they have been slighted by the other.  They really should agree to disagree, but that didn't happen.  The older of the two is generous to a fault.  She has treated us to dinner and lunch on several occasions.  She has spent a significant amount of money.  She needed to pay the younger co worker for something that her granddaughter needed for cheer-leading.  The older coworker is leaving in two weeks and she felt she shouldn't pay and that the younger co worker should consider her feelings and all the things she has done for her.

Instead of allowing the situation to blow up I encouraged my younger coworker to smooth things over with our older coworker.  Unfortunately these situations keep happening.  Should the younger person always defer to the older person?  At what point do you tell someone older about themselves?  If you tell them off, are you being disrespectful?  Was I wrong to tell her to defer to our coworker?

If the coworker was going to stay, I would not have encouraged the deferential role.  Sometimes you have to let people know how you feel and let them know that they are wrong.  You can do that in a respectful manner by being forthright and direct.  But don't expect the person to change their behaviors. They will probably just change their interactions with you.

As a young lady I was raised to be respectful to my elders and I usually am.  I just hope that when I get older I remember how I felt as a young woman.  I want to remember that I am not infallible.  I want to continue to learn from the young.  I want to be that foxy older lady.  I want to age with wisdom and grace.

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