Hey Gen Y’er, want a promotion? Communicate like an old guy


Return email etiquette: When you receive an email from a Baby Boomer, reply using a similar format. If they begin with “Hi Joe” in every email, then you return every email with “Hello Eric”. If they end every email with a letter-like ending such as “Best wishes”, “Best”, “Thanks”, or another equivalent, return your emails with the same courtesy. The reason is that Baby Boomers grew up writing letters (dare I say) using pen and paper, putting them in envelopes, and dropping them in the mailbox. Letters of this type always had a salutation and an ending signature.

Spell out full words: When I see an email like “R U going today?” I think to myself that my kids write this way. They write that way because they are your age. That’s great, but in the workplace you don’t want people associating you with their kids, you want to be thought of as a business peer ready to be promoted.

Discuss technology at an appropriate level: As you read this, note that it’s coming from a life-long techie, former CIO and current CTO of a company I started. It’s easy for Gen X’ers and Gen Y’ers that grew up using technology to technically overpower those who did not grow up on technology. We are digital immigrants and you are digital natives. There is a difference.

Work hard: Baby Boomers have an extremely strong work ethic. As an example, when we graduated college, our rite of passage into the accounting, law, consulting, engineering, and other similar professions was to work eighty hours a week for the first three or four years to prove our worth, learn the ropes, and gain the experience needed to move up professionally. Baby Boomers like people with strong work ethics because it reminds you of us and everyone likes a “mini-me”, or should I say a “mini-them”.

If you have any questions about your career in IT, please email me at
or find me on Twitter at @EricPBloom.

Until next time, work hard, work smart, and continue to build your professional brand.

Read more of Eric Bloom's Your IT Career blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Eric on Twitter at @EricPBloom. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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