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20-40-60 Etiquette: How can I keep my office drama free among different generations?

Yvette Walker joins the 20-40-60 Etiquette panel as guest in discussing problems between generations in an office.
by Helen Ford Wallace and Lillie-Beth Brinkman and Callie Athey Published: April 21, 2013

The ones who have been there awhile can provide company information about the past and can share long-term views.

Sometimes they are invaluable in working with longtime clients.

The younger workers have great ideas too and are smart and darling!

You sound like someone who gets along with everyone and are probably in the younger age bracket.

Just do your job with the best of your ability.

If you are in charge of some of the people who are not being productive, by all means involve the supervisor.

GUEST'S ANSWER: Yvette Walker, The Oklahoman night news editor and Media Ethics Chair, University of Central Oklahoma: This is a tough one, and a long answer.

You don't say if you are a manager with supervisory duties over any of the employees in your group.

Assuming you do not have such duties, the real questions are, do you get involved with the management of people who do not report to you?

And could this jeopardize YOUR job?

Answering a few questions might help you make an ethical decision whether to report the young managers to your supervisor:

Is the supervisor violating any employment laws with these employees?

Is the supervisor creating a hostile work environment by singling out these employees?

Is the supervisor discriminating against them based on age?

If the answer is no, and feelings are hurt solely based on the fact that young people are supervising older employees, I'd say that's something for them to work out, not you.

Also, if the young person is new to the position, he or she might have difficulty managing newfound power.

You appear to be the peacemaker, and that's a fine role.

Your ability to get along with everyone could go a long way toward keeping your workplace drama-free.

Callie Gordon is twenty-something, Lillie-Beth Brinkman is in her 40s, and social columnist Helen Ford Wallace is 60-plus. To ask an etiquette question, email helen. For more 20-40-60 etiquette, go to

by Helen Ford Wallace
Society Editor
Helen Ford Wallace is a columnist covering society-related events/news for The Oklahoman. She puts local parties online with daily updates. She creates, maintains and runs a Parties blog which includes web casts. She is an online web editor for...
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by Lillie-Beth Brinkman
Lillie-Beth Brinkman is a Content Marketing Manager for the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce. She was previously an assistant editor of The Oklahoman
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by Callie Athey
Freelance Writer
Callie Athey is 20-something and is a graduate from the University of Oklahoma. She has worked in various positions, ranging from Event Coordinator to Environmental Health and Safety Assistant. Currently, Callie is an Executive Assistant to a...
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