I recently read an article by Deloitte and something really caught my attention: voicemail.

According to this article, if you were born any time after 1980, you probably don’t check your voicemail for messages from your boss and colleagues. Our younger colleagues are conditioned to tune out unsolicited communication. After all, these are the children raised on terms like spam and malware. Reading this made me feel strangely out of the loop. And it made me wonder about my own perspective towards younger colleagues.

We are living – and working – longer than ever before. According to Forbes (link to the right) five generations in the workplace will soon become the norm. This means that it’s completely conceivable that you will at some point be working shoulder to shoulder with someone old or young enough to be your grandparent or grandchild.

With this in mind I had a bit of a search around the Internet to see how we view each other as different generations and found data that surprised me: apparently a whopping 68% of my generation and “Baby Boomers” view younger colleagues as work-shy. We see their ability to multi-task, as lack of focus. They see us as out of touch.

But how different are we really?

Although it’s useful to be aware of generational differences and to bear them in mind, any generalisation about generation is just that: a generalisation. And although we can and do categorise each other in terms of age groups and general behaviour, it’s vital to remember that what distinguishes us as people is not our age, but our personality, skills set, and unique experience.

Let’s put this to the test: which generation do you think you most closely connect with? Try this short questionnaire. You might be surprised by the results.

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