I am entering 2017 with a bit of apprehension and dismay, courtesy of the media circus that our election year produced. The whole election fiasco wore me out. There was nowhere to run and hide from pre- or post-election polls, opinions, and results. To top it off, we had to hear about the countless number of protests happening, whether they had anything to do with the election choice or were a random march disputing the rights of the oppressed.
I would like to put all of the malicious actions, the he said/she said rhetoric, and the excuses behind. Instead, let’s focus on having more respect for others and their beliefs, cultures, and ages. All three of those played a key role in the election and what happened afterwards. Although the presidential race was far from predictable, there were moments of sheer clarity. Apparently, we have entered a new era of generational diversity and culture clashes. The conflict is real. The largest generation is aging and taking their “Team Player” mindset and leaving the work force. At the same time, younger cohorts are trying to validate their own importance with a tech-savvy mentality and a push for obscure cultural changes.
As a parent, I see the limit-pushing and electronic-loving temperament in my kids, but what better way to witness age variance and character contrasts than within our own family businesses? I, for one, work with my parents from the “Traditionalist” generation, our long-time employees from the “Boomer” and “Generation X” eras, and just a few “Y” (Millennials) who round out our staff. These four generations cover seventy-six years of knowledge and experience, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, and each aging just the same.
Now that I’m in the Boomer category and no longer just the bosses’ daughter, I’m in denial that my “out on a limb” attitude has curved more towards the “better safe than sorry” territory. A few years ago, my sense of invincibility would allow me to gravitate to the scariest ride at the fair, to crawl onto a roof to stage the best Christmas light display, or to look risk straight in the eye and know that—no matter how this turns out—there would be someone to pick up the pieces. Now, instead of jumping first and asking questions later, I’ve become more concerned about the bigger picture: is my choice going to affect someone else?
It’s crazy business becoming responsible, and it is quite clear that everyone does it on their own time. Maybe, though, that mix of generations and sensibilities is a good thing. Being president of this fine organization has challenged me to think out of the box and to step out of my comfort zone to try something new. The Oregon Aglink Board and the wonderful staff is made up of very progressive and knowledgeable people all stemming from different generations; I see this and am excited for a coming year that promises to be one hell of a ride.
Lori Pavlicek, President