Monday, August 09, 2010

Generation Gap : Are cookies enough to bring us together?

Here's a question for the masses. We all know that there are several distinct generations fully entrenched in the workforce these days. We have the millenials, Generation X, Baby Boomers... And we all have to work together. Even though we all very different ways and approaches of working. And sometimes, though we may have a common interest, there is conflict.

Here is an example of one such situation.

The setting: A boardroom at an advertising agency in NYC. The room is floor to ceiling glass walls with a sliding door.

The Background: A big work session to develop a 2011 digital strategy with a few senior members of the team. Lunch was brought in so that work could progress through the lunch hour and be efficient/productive etc....

Once the work session ended two members of the team decided to stay in the room and continue working on another project.

The story:

Betty and Harold (not their real names) were sitting at the boardroom hunched over papers deliberating all the intricacies of mayo communication. They are surrounded by the remnants of lunch and have papers spread out everywhere.

The door slides open.

Kip, the intern, pops his head in.

Kip: Hey there! I'm Kip. I just started working here as an intern. I work on x. Who are you and what do you do?

Betty & Harold stop working and look at each other puzzedly before responding.

Harold: Um... I'm a senior planner working on mayo
Betty: And I'm a client. *full stop*

Kip doesn't miss a beat: Oh that's great. Well listen- I'm just going to grab a cookie here. You guys aren't going to eat it are you??

Betty: Uh... no. Help yourself.

Kip: Thanks! Nice to meet you both!

Kip takes his cookie and leaves.

End scene.

Now... Let's debate this. IS THIS APPROPRIATE?!?! Is it suitable for an intern to barge in on a closed door meeting with people he doesn't know so that he can help himself to an afternoon snack?!??!

I I say I would like to find Kip and teach him what's appropriate and what's not in a professional workplace. But I suspect that Kip would tell me to relax and it's just a cookie.

What say you- good folks of the interweb??


RDF said...

That is ridiculous! I would kick the intern's ass. I think I would have been following him out of the room for a little discussion. He had no idea who was in the conference room (eg. client) and who or what he might be interrupting. Its not a generational thing, its called common sense and business professionalism.

Jimmy Tie Dyes said...

I agree. Kick the bum out. Make him really temporary. I run my own company. I make tie dyes. It's very laid back. But, a closed door means stay out if you were not in before the door closes. Take it from Jimmy Tie Dyes...get rid of the bum before he really does something bad. If you keep someone like him around then his mess ups are on you. Peace...

Young Werther said...

Interns are not meant to be seen nor heard!

You're right in that managing the generation gap poses a real problem. What the intern did is probably ok at Google but not at some staid establishment ....