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Different generations share the pursuit to make life, work rewarding

By JAKE WADDINGHAM • CNA staff reporter • jwaddingham@crestonnews.com

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 11:00 a.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014 12:02 p.m. CDT

Early every weekday morning I stumble down the steps from my apartment above Adams Street Espresso, mentally bracing myself for the wide variety of Iowa weather I am greeted with as I open the door.

But no matter the weather conditions, I am always greeted with a smile and a wave from my uncle, Rich Waddingham, as he bustles around the coffee shop in the final minutes before the first customers arrive for their morning beverages.

On Saturday mornings — if I don’t sleep through my alarm — I make my way downstairs to join Rich and his partner in crime, Shorty Adamson, for a meeting of the minds. We discuss a variety of topics from news and sports to gossip and old memories from Creston and the surrounding area.

If I’m lucky, I also pick up a new joke or two to share with my coworkers later that week.

While we may look like an odd group laughing the morning away over multiple cups of coffee, I’ve noticed the sharp contrast of our generations pales in comparison to the underlying similarities we share and enjoy about each others company.

A majority of the generations I deal with on a day-to-day basis are the Baby Boomers (born 1943-60), Generation X (born 1961-81) and Generation Y (born 1982-2004). Boomers make up an estimated 33 percent of the current U.S. population.

A study by The Conference Board of Canada highlighted the general difference between the generations and found a couple of similarties are often overlooked.

First, all generations share a passion to find balance between work and play. Baby Boomers are very formal and have a larger tendency to spend more time working than doing activities for fun. Generation X and Y are more informal and do a better job maintaining a balance between the two.

The study found generation X and Y hold an advantage when it comes to adaptability, especially with technology, over the Baby Boomers.

For similarities, The Conference Board of Canada found that all three generations share similar personality traits, motivations and learning styles. The generations are evenly split with individuals who are introverts to extroverts and those who like hands-on learning to written instruction.

The groups also share a desire for respect, fairness in the workplace and the opportunity to do interesting and rewarding experiences.

A study by the University of Melbourne found similar results. It stated Generation X and Y shared a special bond because they each had to adjust to uncertainty in the job market and spend significant time to become qualified for certain jobs while juggling other aspects of life.

And that is exactly how I feel as I enjoy my Saturday morning coffee and daily interactions with friends and coworkers from different generations.

We may be separated by age, but our desire for respect and the opportunity to make life and work rewarding helps create a foundation for future generations to look up to.

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