book The Mature Mind and is another reason why an intergenerational crew should be
appreciated especially given the nature of a deadline-driven business where tempers have
a tendency to flare.
Older adults experience less negative emotion, come to pay less attention to
negative than to positive emotional stimuli, and are less likely to remember negative
than positive emotional experiences. This maturation is associated with changes in
the brain’s key emotional center, the amygdalae. Our neurological development lays
the foundation for better control of anger with aging and improved conflict resolution
capabilities. (Cohen, 2005, p. 45-46)
Sheryl White, an advertising copywriter on national accounts, “Age is not valued. In fact, it
hurts you. Experience can help or hurt you. Sometimes they think you are too jaded. They
want fresh ideas.” Sheryl notes that during the recession she was in more demand, “They
are now looking to the more experienced to handle work in less time,” but is also quick to
point out “It can change tomorrow. Nothing is for any length of time in this business. It
always changes.” Sheryl is a straight shooter and has learned to deal with getting older in
a youth-focused advertising industry:
It hasn’t been a problem for me so far when I walk into an agency I’m seeing 12
year olds. I walk in and they’re like oh oh. They think they know more than you.
They think that if you’re in the business as long as me you have to be a hack by
now. If someone hires me on the recommendation of somebody and it’s a very
young shop then I walk in there and I can hear an old lady hack.
When I ask Sheryl how quickly the “hack” label leaves, she says, “It doesn’t last long a
few days or a week.” She then adds, “I think one of the things I’m best at in this business is
being a mentor. The kids that I mentor grow up to be heads of agencies.” I ask Sheryl if
her protégés call her for work and without a beat she responds, “All the time.”
This calls to mind a trend that is gaining momentum and that is Boomers teaming with
Millennials and this “reciprocal mentoring” works because the common ground is that both
groups have a strong social conscience. The group Hacks and Hackers is an example of
an intergenerational, international coalition of journalists and websites developers getting
together for technological advice and support. Click to visit the Hacks and Hackers site
(http://hackshackers.com/about/organizers/). Reciprocal mentoring, a program initiated by
Jack Welch at General Electric in the 1970s, teamed experienced veterans with new
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