HOW DEEP ARE INTER-GENERATIONAL RESENTMENTS?
An ABA Journal online article (8/27/10) on how Gen X can bridge the gap and bring work-life balance to work unleashed a torrent of anger among three generations with accusations hurled back and forth in the Comments posted. The comments hardly even touched on the original subject of the article. In the attempt to express some rationality from a cooler head, here is what I posted:
If the anger in these comments is any indication of the generational divides in law firms and other organizations of lawyers, the profession is in big trouble. It seems the role of adversarial advocate has taken hold, and a lot of dialogue and conflict resolution is needed to not only settle the case but also build a strong foundation for multi-generational teams to enable continuing success for the long-term. If angry lawyers hold the same views about clients of another generation as they do of their other-generation colleagues, they will never be able to serve them well or retain client relationships.
For the most part, only the Traditionalists received any favorable comments from the Xer generation. Representatives of the other three generations hurled invective at each other. If this is all we knew of life in law firms, as both co-workers and clients we would waste no time in turning and running.
Perhaps it’s largely the strain of the terrible economy and either not having enough to do or being overworked as a survivor of lay-offs. In any case, it this outburst has brought such strong feelings to the surface, firms and other organizations need to address generational differences and conflicts ASAP if they expect to retain clients of various generations and serve them with high performing multi-generational teams.
Phyllis Weiss Haserot www.pdcounsel.com