Wed. Nov 29th, 2023
    Lessons from a Lifelong Engineer: Navigating Success in a Multigenerational Workplace

    Kip Turner, a seasoned engineer with a remarkable 50-year career at AT&T, offers valuable insights on thriving in a multigenerational workplace. Despite starting at the age of 18, Turner often found himself as the youngest member of his team—a position that presented both advantages and challenges.

    Turner vividly recalls a time when he was assigned to a critical project aimed at safeguarding telephone facilities in anticipation of an impending earthquake. During a meeting with senior leaders, Turner made a remark that unintentionally embarrassed a project leader by insinuating a lack of preparedness. Reflecting on this incident, Turner recognizes the importance of not using embarrassment as a means of communication. He acknowledges that such an approach only exacerbates tensions and hampers collaboration.

    Instead, Turner emphasizes the significance of learning one’s job well and confidently challenging others, even those with decades more experience. However, he advises against arrogance and recommends demonstrating respect while offering an alternative perspective. By providing examples rather than resorting to embarrassing tactics, individuals can foster productive and positive interactions.

    Furthermore, Turner urges professionals to overcome age-related barriers by focusing on making meaningful contributions within their departments. Although initially surrounded by older and more assertive colleagues, Turner recognized that respect and confidence in one’s knowledge can bridge generational gaps.

    In navigating a multigenerational workplace, respect, effective communication, and self-assuredness are paramount. By embracing these principles, individuals can forge strong professional relationships, driving innovation and success within their teams.


    1. How can I succeed in a multigenerational workplace?

    To succeed in a multigenerational workplace, it is crucial to prioritize respect, effective communication, and self-assuredness. Learn your job well, be confident in challenging others respectfully, and provide examples instead of resorting to embarrassing tactics.

    2. How can I bridge the generational gap in the workplace?

    To bridge the generational gap, focus on making meaningful contributions within your department and fostering positive professional relationships. Embrace respect, actively listen to others, and demonstrate confidence in your knowledge and abilities.

    3. How can I communicate effectively with older colleagues?

    When communicating with older colleagues, strike a balance between confidence and respect. Challenge their ideas or offer alternative perspectives, but do so in a manner that acknowledges their experience. Avoid arrogance and prioritize constructive dialogue.

    4. How can I overcome age-related barriers at work?

    To overcome age-related barriers, concentrate on making valuable contributions within your department. Focus on demonstrating your knowledge, skills, and expertise rather than your age. Building confidence in your abilities will help bridge the gap and earn the respect of your colleagues.