baby boomers and millennials are better together

Ageism in UX: Baby Boomers and Millennials, Let’s Get Along

Why your Workstream/Team/Company should read this
While I LOVE the fact that Companies are down with the importance of Human Interaction within the Digital Ecosystem; there is also the precipice of growing pains our industry is going through, and it is between Baby Boomers and Millennials.


The growing pains shared between Millennials and Baby Boomers, are causing resignations, lawsuits, bullying and WORSE in some environments.  So yes, UX is the glittering solution that is vibeing out Digital to a really really cool place. But if we keep up with the biases below, we won’t get there VALIANTLY. As my Pop and first real-life Superhero and Mentor says, “Son, its the journey, not the Destination.”

This in mind, below are statements, that should NEVER be repeated, as they promote a DIVIDE between Baby Boomers and Millennials, while profits, morale and unity suffer:

“We don’t do dated things like this anymore within UX..”
confused really jerry seinfeld

(TIP: when suggesting NEWER ways of doing things within UX, try to study the PROVEN method and WHY that method CONVERTED IN THE FIRST PLACE. As Millennials, we love discovery, autonomy and innovation; however, Baby Boomers have a Treasury Chest full of strategies and principles that we can get better at curating, templating and learning from. The WHY’s of what we do)

“This isn’t the 90’s, that thinking is kind of Old School”
oldfilmsflicker watching staring judging denzel washington

(this was actually said to a Senior UXer by a rookie level novice UXer.  While the statement is true, saying it in the middle of a touch point meeting, was NOT a wise move; eventually this persons work became a focal point within design critiques as he actually didn’t understand KEY Information Architect principals which have driven successful Products to be used over and over and over again. Asides from that, “this isn’t the 90s” is a rude thing to say and lucky I was just a consultant and not your boss else you woulda been sent home and taught a lesson a two in humility from half a days docked pay. Word up. because I am also a Millennial doesn’t excuse me or US from respecting the Guiding Principles of this Profession.)

“I’ve been at this for over 30 Years..”
ABC Network bored yawn clark gregg tca16
(then you should KNOW better than to even SAY this, at every meeting, every huddle, every phone call, every chat session, every Hackathon, every happy hour. Also, when Googling your first and last name; in the last 30 years, you have no written Articles, Awards, past team performance callouts in trade magazines? Saying you have THREE DECADES is a big statement to promote, you should have the Thought Leadership articles, posts, podcasts or white-paper docs to prove it. I myself have STOPPED promoting Experience and instead promoted Solutions-in a tactful COLLABORATIVE way)

“Back in my day, we didn’t have it so easy, nowadays, you just go to Dribbble and Google a few articles and boom, you’re a UX superstar..”
what david bowie annoyed bowie wut(I actually agree with the sentiment but NOT the context, this should have been said over beers to your buddy, not a room full of your colleagues and team mates).

“Using Templates are cheating..”
EditingAndLayout tv no scared awkward
(yep, if you work in Mommy and Daddy’s basement, cruising Craigslist, in-between UX jobs and have mad time to design for the fun of it–like we ALL did when we first began. But in REAL WORLD UX JOBS/ENGAGEMENTS,  nobody cares rather that email was from a template or not, PRODUCT and BUSINESS wants to know:
-is it mobile-ready?
-meet the Business Requirements (rather the reqs make sense to YOU or not)
-give salient points that help the CTA?
Does it?? Yes? If so, then Template it up! Sprint closes Monday and its Thursday, homey.)

“That’s too old-school for Digital, no Offense”
TV Land wow okay younger youngertv
(Yes, this was said. And Yes, it was too late. Jerkface. You have offended me and US if any other colleague of mine who were trained in Paper-prototyping. By the way, like Pokemon, Pringles and the Patriots have proven;  there is ALWAYS a coming back. Jsut also want to say I am a GIANTS fan and supremely supported Atlanta Falcons during that bowl game. Still, a strong show of Determination by those New England Lugs.)

It isn’t said or discussed enough, because it can cause people their job:

Folks, this Ageism stuff needs to stop. SERIOUSLY.

The fact is, when the Sprint is heavy and the due dates 48 hours away and Product Team is down your neck, nobody gives a shiny damn how long you in fact been at something. JUST DELIVER. Don’t TELL me your experience, the new “world-is-flat-level-up-UX-philosophic outlook, JUST DELIVER.  

It is absolutely, without a doubt frustrating, working with AGEISTS. Won an award? Awesome, you don’t need to mention it 10x a day to justify why the accordion should be a drop-down (depending on use-case, CSAT/USAT metrics, and other factors).  Also on other side, to the rude rookie UX Designer, that Baby-Boomer that you just offended and was trying to give you some much needed pointers, is a PIONEER and BEEN THERE DONE THAT, SO TRY TO LISTEN. Stop throwing your achievements, ego and schooling, or Practical Experience, in her/his face. Shut the fuck up, research Nielson Norman case studies and LEARN. Here is the link to where ANYONE passionate about UX should BEGIN. And notice it ISN’T in a course, or classroom.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t intend to be MEAN, or a jerk but this article needed to be said, so we can get to this solution. Good, talented UX practitioners are not only hard to find, but expensive to replace and causes gaps in the Product Road-map as the architecture and design now changes to a new ethos that may or may not get those Sprint Numbers reduced to encourage velocity that is comfortable rapid, sensible, and meets a business goal that is LOVED BY CUSTOMERS. Baby boomers and Millennials, we need to get along. We have to. We need each other. I give an action plan below have experienced AMAZING Results. Follow it. It is FREE but the cost is EGO and SWEAT.

The ROI is a united company, paired with the passion to help innovate on improvements of Human life. Baby Boomers and fellow Millennials, we are all better, together.

baby boomers and millennials are better together

Baby Boomers and Millennials are better, Together

So Here is how I think we can we can get there, Baby Boomers and Fellow Millennials:

Treat other people (fellow Baby Boomers/ Millennials) how you yourself, your family, or anyone you love, would like to be treated. 
Treat people with respect, rather its a Pioneer which also is your Manager most likely, or a Junior UXer. While I am cussing alot, in this article, I am getting joy as the principle of treating others with RESPECT is a basic principle lost upon, honestly, newer generations. I myself can treat others better as well. As a Milly, (Millennial), this is something I have been getting success on when practiced for the past 5 years.

Stop bragging about Experience or Awards. Show it. Don’t just TELL IT.
Lets keep it real here, if your designs were such an award-winner, why are you even here? You should be at HUGE leading their digital innovation team or something, as President, and hosting Webbys, dominating SXSW, winning every DRibbble contest, while sharing a pint with Don Norman. Really, this is what we think when the ego comes out. Same for Baby Boomers, telling us you have 20 years experience but NO thought leadership articles, documented victories OR junior designers who actually LIKE YOU, AS A PERSON, makes us roll our eyes and keep Axuring it up. While years of experience are certainly NOT to be glossed upon, and very much an achievement, its being used as a way to one-up others who actually may have better ideas than you. I do believe all humans are simply students who go through emotional lessons with the hopes of graduating and paying it forward to other generations. By alienating younger generations who perhaps does NOT have the same experience you have, you aren’t paying it forward at all, instead you are clogging up the knowledge funnel with biases and dated social methods that just won’t cut it in future environments.

Forgot who said this quote and I won’t research it because its in the Bible and other religious books of mass influence. When PERSONAL issues come up within a team, its NOT a good idea to CC the ENTIRE fucking Department an email on the fuckup committed. It is EMBARRASSING. Aside from that, it shows you have no tact as a Leader nor do you have any type of Empathy to others. I admire my class of 76’s and Eagle Listeners, Woodstock attenders, first Apple computer purchasers. But the days of making people feel like idiots to flex your power is OVER. Millennial will NOT react favorably to this type of Corporate Embarrassment and you also run the risk of DEFAMATION. I hate typing this shit, but it is true and I have seen actual Civil Cases surrounding this issue. Instead, you need to Praise Loudly. I am not saying some Uxers that are new to the game don’t need to have their helmet smacked, or ego-gut checked, I am saying that using TACT is always best. I am NOT using Tact by cussing all over this article (sorry Mama if you are reading), but the context is Joncreative thoughts, so again, when criticizing these callouts, understand I am giving this from a personal perspective of things actually DONE. This stuff happens and will continue to do so if we do not TRY to at least change.

Long article and risky too. I am criticizing myself and my future clients/colleagues, but it is NEEDED. As User Experience Professionals, we are in the business of bettering HUMANS. As Both Millennials and Baby Boomers, let us unite and respect one another.

Thanks for Reading
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