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Top 12 workplace myths misunderstood by all generations Add to ...

Nope. It’s better to be yourself and to keep learning. As Penelope Trunk writes on Guy Kawasaki’s blog, “Figure out how to do what you love, follow your heart’s desire, and you’ll be great at it. Those who stand out as leaders have a notable authenticity that enables them to make genuinely meaningful connections with a wide range of people.”

4. Millennials don’t work for the money but for the fulfilment.

Nonsense. Ask yourself again: If you won the lottery tomorrow, would you go back to your job the next day? Work is about money – see the previous chapters on this topic. Money is about freedom to make life choices.

3. E-mail is always the most efficient communication method.

No! It’s hard to remember how we got along without e-mail, but it’s decidedly misused and over-relied upon today. Calling a person or having face time with him can minimize confusion, and builds relationships. Without visual and auditory cues, people often misinterpret the intent and message of e-mails, even if you use those perky emoticons :-) (which is why they were invented). Face-to-face rules; voice is good; e-mail is third choice.


Sleep isn’t overrated. Insomniacs need to resist the temptation to reply to e-mail in the wee hours or they risk creating a work force that never sleeps.

2. The generation gap between Boomer bosses and Millennial workers hampers productivity and the pursuit of workplace happiness.

Maybe yes, maybe no. Although there is clearly an age difference, we argue strongly that it’s not a gap but a mash-up, a potential fusion and co-generational melding that leverages skills, attributes, and perspectives. If we focus on the gap, we impede the possibilities. Clearly people of different age groups see the world in different ways and bring different experience and skills to the table. Lassoing those skills to get that bronco moving forward with all of its energy intact is the goal. It’s like any other relationship issue: If you ignore it, the relationship will fail. As research scientist Jennifer Deal notes, “The so-called generation gap is, in large part, the result of miscommunication and misunderstanding, fuelled by common insecurities and the desire for clout.”

1. You can have it all.

Absolutely not. This is the biggest myth of all. Here’s how it works in real life: You can have the things you want most only intermittently. That means sometimes your job comes first. Sometimes your family. Sometimes you. Your priorities will never line up like bars on a slot machine. Chasing this dream will ruin you. But the clearer you are about your priorities and setting boundaries, the better your chances of striking your personal balance. At least on some days! This truth about not having it all is universal, not generational.

As the philosopher and psychologist William James said, “Happiness is reflected in the ratio of one’s accomplishments to one’s aspirations. This suggests, of course, that when it comes to feeling happy in our lives, we can choose one of two paths: continually add to our list of accomplishments – or lower our expectations.” We would add a third path: a career path free of illusion. Myths are by definition illusions, widely held cultural beliefs that live at the intersection of imagination and reality. They often inspire us to greater efforts. An uncritical belief in them, however, skews our understanding of reality. Better to be myth-busters than misanthropes.


The most likable people get promoted, not the hardest workers.

Broadcast the work you’re doing, especially to your managers.

Be yourself. Really.

Without visual and auditory cues, people often misinterpret an email’s intent and message.

You cannot have it all. You can have the things you want most only intermittently.

Full title: Fuse: Making Sense of the New Cogenerational Workplace™

Copyright 2012 Jim Finkelstein and Mary Gavin. All Rights Reserved.

Website: www.fusethebook.com

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