Listen to Jessica Kriegel on Comstock's Update the State (Worker)

On this episode of Action ItemsDr. Jessica Kriegel, an organizational development consultant at Oracle and author of the book “Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes,” and Angélica Quirarte, a government innovations strategist for the California Government Operations Agency, and join host Tre Borden to discuss how the State — and private organizations — can address an aging workforce and prepare for a younger generation of workers.

Taking stock of a generation: the millennials are all right

“It’s imperative that you get to know the person in front of you and you don’t assign all these stereotypes to them because of this 20-year-wide age bracket that they happen to fall within,” writes Jessica Kriegel, author of Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit From Ditching Generational Stereotypes.

Lumping an entire generation of people together and ascribing them with broad personality traits doesn’t really make a lot of sense, Kriegel writes, issuing a caution about the “generational snake oil” you find in every other magazine and on a growing number of shelves in the business book section.

The malignant myth of the millennial featuring Jessica Kriegel

Despite the fuzzy definition, "our culture is currently obsessed with generational labels and the stereotypes that go with them," said Jessica Kriegel, author of Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit from Ditching Generational Stereotypes. "Although I would say that this trend of thinking differently about the younger people in our world has been prevalent for thousands of years," she added.

Kriegel said her research found most books, articles and consultants focused on Millennials rely on "an oversimplification of human behavior." She also found that they frequently contradict each other.

Those contradictions are inevitable because of the diversity within the demographic group, she said.

We need to stop our obsession with generational differences

y all accounts, Amanda Blackwood is a successful millennial in the corporate world. At age 33, the Sacramento resident is vice president of operations at Kings Casino Management Corporation and a partner in OE Consulting Group, an organizational effectiveness consulting firm. She was previously the chief financial officer for a multi-million dollar real estate development company and has 13 years of experience in both the nonprofit and for-profit sectors. Yet, she still hears the words “your lack of experience” every couple of months in professional settings.

How can someone so accomplished be perceived as unseasoned? The answer lies in society’s obsession with generational differences.

Comstocks reflects on Jessica's All Male Panel article

Back in mid-January, Jessica Kriegel wrote an op-ed for the Sacramento Bee calling out the Sacramento Business Review’s refusal to diversify the all-male panel presenting the organization’s 2017 economic forecast. The response was swift and brutal: Kriegel’s name and photo were removed from all digital materials for the review — of which she was one of 17 authors — and the organization’s account blocked her on Twitter.

All-male panels lack diverse perspectives, limit quality of message

The words “yield politely” are seared in my mind ever since the director of the Sacramento Business Review responded to my objections to an all-male panel of experts at the annual business forecast scheduled Tuesday at Sacramento State.

Two years ago, I was asked to lead the development of a human resources section for the forecast. The theme was gender diversity in the corporate world. Our findings, which I presented at last year’s event, were not surprising: Women are greatly underrepresented in upper management levels in Sacramento...

 

Why We Must Challenge Generational Stereotypes

Prior to 1970, California labor laws prevented women from working more than eight hours a day or 40 hours a week. Why? There was a faulty assumption on the part of lawmakers that the “weaker sex” needed protection from the rigors of overtime work. 

An assumption is a belief based on little or no evidence. Assumptions lead to stereotypes. This stereotype about women was so generally accepted, it took years of feminist consciousness-raising to overcome.

Though of lesser social impact, perhaps, the same thinking is today falsely categorizing a different group of workers. This time, false assumptions are stereotyping generations, most egregiously, the Millennial generation.

Why you should ditch generational stereotypes

Diversity in the workplace has been proven time and again to be a good thing, and countless publications these days devote digital and real ink to how a new generation of workers, the Millennials, are shaking things up at the office—for better or for worse. But assuming that a particular generation will bring certain strengths and weaknesses to the work environment is falling into a dangerous trap, says Jessica Kriegel, whose book Unfairly Labeled: How Your Workplace Can Benefit from Ditching Generational Stereotypes was published earlier this year.