thought is that work is something you do, not a place that you go. (Salkowitz, 2008,
It is interesting that many of the freelancers associated with this study take on a workstyle
remarkably similar to the attitude of the “working from wherever, whenever” entrepreneurial
and technological mindset of the Millennials but also have the hard driving, take charge
work ethic of the Boomers. In Generation Blend: Managing Across the Technology Age
Gap, the author suggests that the Millennials and Boomers are primed for mutually
beneficial mentoring because “Millennials get along with their elders, believe in volunteering
their time, are hungry for knowledge, and are actively shopping for mentors” (Salkowitz, p.
2008, p. 235), while the Boomers can update or learn some new technical skills from
respectful younger mentors. There is a generational divide but they have learned to coexist
and adapt although there are some gripes.
Carol Beck, a video producer and documentary filmmaker, is quick to point out that she
does not think colleges are preparing students very well and suggests that students have a
sense of entitlement that diminishes the work quality:
I’m not mentoring a lot of students anymore. It requires a tremendous amount of
maturity and independence to be a freelancer. I think students are becoming less
mature by the time they graduate from college. I can tell a difference between my
generation and younger students. My generation was less mature than my parent’s
generation. When people were going in wagon trains across North America, what
was expected of an eight or nine year old to do was huge. Now people are 28 and
still living in their parent’s basement and mommy is doing their laundry and making
dinner for them. That’s not preparing people.
Carol also notes that she found the same sense of entitlement with students even in India:
I have experienced that with college students in India. Their lack of self-awareness –
It’s not that they are bad kids or mean kids – they’re just selfish and they don’t know
it. They don’t have any self-awareness to know how their behavior affects others.
When you’re self-absorbed, it’s really hard to form relationships and have the maturity
to suck it up if someone criticizes you. That happens a lot to you as a freelancer both
legitimately and illegitimately.
This idea of greater emotional control associated with age is definitely a plus as noted in the