Expert: Young professionals need mentors

TUPELO – Baby boomers and young professionals should learn from each other in the office instead of letting their differences create friction, said a visiting business executive Thursday.
Kimberly Nastasi, CEO of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Chamber of Commerce, highlighted the generational differences at a Tupelo Young Professionals event at the BancorpSouth Arena on Thursday.
“If we understand the dynamics of what’s going on in our office and our jobs, we can continue to keep our jobs and market ourselves,” said Nastasi, 31, who is a Cusper – the name for the group that falls between Generation X and Y. “If we continue, when the economy picks up, we’ll be in the position to take over the world.”
Most offices, she said, can be divided into four generations: traditionalists, baby boomers, Generation X and Generation Y.
Traditionalists, Nastasi said, are the grandparents of young professionals, which encompasses Gen X and Y.
They grew up during the Great Depression and are mostly retired. However, ones who are still in the work force like formality, memos and direct communication.
Baby boomers are the largest demographic. They are the parents of the young professionals and were expecting to retire before the economy tumbled and crippled many retirement funds.
Now many boomers are staying in the work force, and thus providing the biggest counterpoint to the young professionals.
Boomers, Nastasi said, enjoy group work, discussions and face-to-face meetings. They place emphasis on career advancement and don’t have problems sacrificing family time for work.

Dividing lines
Their children, however, see a clear line between work time and personal time.
“I will work for you and give you 150 percent while I’m there, but when I’m not, respect that boundary,” Nastasi said.
Young professionals also have a preference to use technology, such as e-mail, texting, Facebook and Twitter, as a communication alternative to meetings.
Boomers should be open to young professionals teaching the technology to them. In exchange, Nastasi said young professionals want career advice, life wisdom and business ettiquette tips.
“One of the greatest things about different generations is you can learn from them,” Nastasi said. “Find a mentor. Take time as YPs to find out where they are coming from.”

Contact Carlie Kollath at (662) 678-1598 or carlie.kollath@djournal.com.

Carlie Kollath/NEMS Daily Journal