being an intern publicly and a mentor privately was essential
intergenerational learning is especially important to Boomers, as we are likely to live 10 years longer than our parents, yet power in a digital society has moved 10 years younger. This means Boomers could experience 20 additional years of irrelevance and obsolescence.I Joined Airbnb at 52, and Here’s What I Learned About Age, Wisdom, and the Tech Industry
A growing number of people feel like an old carton of milk, with an expiration date stamped on their wrinkled foreheads. One paradox of our time is that Baby Boomers enjoy better health than ever, remain young and stay in the workplace longer, but feel less and less relevant. They worry, justifiably, that bosses or potential employers may see their age more as liability than asset. Especially in the tech industry.
And yet we workers “of a certain age” are less like a carton of milk and more like a bottle of fine wine — especially now, in the digital era. The tech sector, which has become as famous for toxic company cultures as for innovation, and as well-known for human resource headaches as for hoodie-wearing CEOs, could use a little of the mellowness and wisdom that comes with age.
Often I would leave a meeting and discreetly ask one of my fellow leaders, who might be two decades younger than I was, if they were open to some private feedback on how to read the emotions in the room, or the motivations of a particular engineer, a little more effectively.
“I’ll offer you some emotional intelligence for your digital intelligence.”
I realized that we expect young digital-era leaders to miraculously embody relationship wisdoms, with very little training, that we elders had twice as long to learn.
a lot of “why” and “what if” questions, forsaking the “what” and “how” questions on which most senior leaders focus
beginner’s mind helped us see our blind spots a little better, as it was free of expert habits
Boomers and Millennials have a lot to offer, and learn from, each other. Enter the “Modern Elder,” who serves and learns, as both mentor and intern, and relishes being both student and sage.