the 'generation gap' in the workplace
By ALLISON McCUTCHEON
Chairperson, Charleston Young Professionals
Special to CharlestonCurrents.com
5, 2009 -- For the first time in history, four distinct generations
- Generation Y, Generation X, Baby Boomers and Traditionalists -
are working side by side in the workforce. The members who make
up each of the four generations have distinct characteristics. Traditionalists,
though most are retired, account for less than 5 percent of the
total workforce. Baby Boomers are defined as those individuals born
between 1945 and 1960-64 and account for about 43 percent of the
Xers are defined as those who were born between 1961-64 and 1981,
and they account for about 42 percent of the current workforce.
Gen Xers are increasingly reluctant to trust the major corporation
model, due to the fact that many saw their parents get laid off
from the companies that they were loyal to for years. This generation,
often referred to as the first latchkey kids, was mostly raised
in a nontraditional family setting for the first time in America,
which has given the members of this group characteristics such as
Yers are those who were born between 1982 and 1993, and they account
for more than 10 percent of the workforce. They are just beginning
to penetrate the workforce and are optimistic and self-confident.
days when employees stay at companies forever are gone. While Boomers
spend most of their work life in the same job or industry, Gen Xers'
average "work lifespan" is approximately 3.8 years per
job. That number drops to 1.7 years per job for Gen Yers.
generation has its own defining characteristics and varying expectations
within the workforce. Because of the generational shift, employers
have to attempt to understand these generations and compete for
a Gen Xer who has been part of the professional world for eight
years, I realize I am no longer new to the workplace and am no longer
part of the new generation. Unlike many Boomers and Traditionalists,
I don't feel out of touch with this younger generation. Between
full-time employees, part-time employees and interns, our office
spans between Gen X and Gen Y, and those of us that are part of
the older generation embrace the knowledge, skills and behaviors
that come along with the younger generation.
ensure that our companies and communities remain sustainable, we
(the members of the older generations) have the responsibility to
motivate, train and engage the younger generation of leaders and
employees. Unfortunately, more times than not, the generational
lines are not explained or understood in the workplace, which often
causes a generation gap and communication barriers between generations.
order to better understand the characteristics, work and technology
behaviors of these different generations, the Charleston Young Professionals
organization is hosting a luncheon titled "Closing the Generation
Gap" on Wednesday, Nov. 18, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the
Cooper River Room at the Mount Pleasant Memorial Waterfront Park.
Panelists include Mac Burdette, administrator for the town of Mount
Pleasant; Chris Fraser, president and managing principal, Grubb
& Ellis|Barkley Fraser; and Amanda Ruth McSwain, professor at
the College of Charleston.
will learn how to adapt and understand these generational differences
and how each can add value to an organization and positively affect
cohesion and performance in the workplace.
cost of the luncheon is $15 for CYP members, or $25 for nonmembers.
Advance registration is required because seating is limited. If
you would like to register or get more information, go to http://www.charleston-yp.com.
addition to serving as chairperson of the Charleston Young Professionals,
Allison McCutcheon is creative executive for Obviouslee Marketing.
might be a way to help poor voter turnout
ANN THRASH, editor
5, 2009 -- A congressman from Minnesota introduced a bill in the
U.S. House of Representatives last month that would allow people
to register to vote at the polls on Election Day, rather than having
to register a few weeks or more in advance. After seeing the turnout
levels in our local elections earlier this week, same-day registration
sounds like a good idea to us.
Charleston County, turnout for Tuesday's vote was about 22.4 percent,
according to the Board of Elections and Voter Registration. That
might not sound too bad for off-year municipal elections with no
governor's race or controversial ballot questions to lure more people
to the polls. But when you look more closely at what the numbers
mean, it's eye-opening.
the Mount Pleasant mayoral race, which Billy Swails won after a
hard-fought contest. It was a winner-take-all vote, as were the
Town Council races - there will be no runoffs, and no candidate
had to get more than 50 percent of the vote to win. Swails won the
job with 5,935 votes. But there are 44,607 registered voters in
the town - so that means that just a little over 13 percent of registered
voters decided who the town's next mayor is going to be.
at the percentage of residents - as opposed to registered voters
- who voted for Swails, and it works out that only about 9 percent
of Mount Pleasant residents voted for the new leader of the town.
numbers look even worse when you consider the Town Council races.
The top vote getter, Linda Page, had 4,393 votes in the unofficial
tally. That means about 9.8 percent of registered voters chose her
- that's just 6.7 percent of all town residents.
misunderstand: This is not a commentary about the worthiness of
either of those candidates or anyone else running for office in
Mount Pleasant or elsewhere in the county. It's not a suggestion
that the winners don't deserve it after all their hard work. In
fact, even Swails himself bemoaned the low turnout in a Wednesday
article in The Post and Courier, telling the paper it was a
shame that 70 percent of the town's residents didn't come out and
cast their ballots.
back to the Minnesota congressman who's introduced the Same Day
Registration Act. Minnesota is one of nine states, plus the District
of Columbia, that allow same-day registration, and Rep. Keith Ellison,
the congressman who introduced the bill, says that having that law
on the books in Minnesota has helped his state consistently lead
the nation in turnout, with rates around 70 percent. Looks a little
better than the 22 percent turnout in Charleston County, doesn't
doubt, some of those who didn't vote Tuesday had reasons other than
the fact that they hadn't registered. But we have to believe that
the ease of being able to register and vote all at the same time
on Election Day would encourage people to get involved, cast their
ballots and participate in one of the most important parts of our
collective civic life.
Pleasant native Ann Thrash, editor of CharlestonCurrents.com, can
be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
us a letter
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say about leadership in South Carolina, the state of baseball
today, good barbecue or something about your community's government,
drop us a line to: email@example.com.
Please send no more than 200 words and include contact information
(phone number, hometown) so we can get in touch with you.
public spiritedness of our underwriters allows us to bring CharlestonCurrents
to you at no cost. With this issue, we welcome a new nonprofit partner,
Rural Mission on John's Island. The organization is many
things to man people: a hand up in times of crisis and need
a mission, service and faith volunteer experience for the young
a caregiver and advocate for young migrant children
and a support system for migrant families
a provider of a
warm, comfortable home in winter and
a greatly appreciated
giver of desperately needed home repairs to make low income homes
safe, healthy and decent. For all, Rural Mission is a source of
hope for low- and very low-income residents, the elderly and families
living in the rural underserved Sea Islands of Charleston County,
from Johns Island to Wadmalaw to Edisto and Yonges Islands. To learn
more about this extraordinary organization -- and its Nov. 15
benefit at Bowen's Island -- visit
Rural Mission online. To talk to someone about giving your time
or money to help, phone: 843.768-1720.
honored for education partnerships
businesses making an impact in local public schools were honored
at the recent Business Education Summit by the Education Foundation
and the College of Charleston School of Business and Economics and
School of Education. The annual Business Education Partnership Awards
were presented at the summit on Oct. 29.
schools had the opportunity to nominate either a business or community
group for the award. One winner was chosen for each of the four
local school districts -- Charleston, Berkeley, Dorchester Two and
Dorchester Four. The winners are:
County: The South Carolina Ports Authority, nominated by West
Ashley High School. The SCPA has worked with the high school and
its students to develop the first maritime curriculum. The Ports
Authority management group has hosted seminars, donated funds
and curriculum materials, hosted field trips and provided guest
lecturers in class to provide students with "soft skills"
for employability in the maritime industries or other industries
after high school graduation.
County: Hubner Manufacturing Corporation USA, nominated by
the Berkeley County School District. Hubner Chief Financial Officer
Ron Paquette has spearheaded the company's efforts, which include
Work Based Learning opportunities and helping students learn about
jobs in manufacturing. Paquette and the company's human-resources
staff, plant manager, engineering staff and others have visited
Berkeley County schools, interviewed students, and delivered metal
scraps, among other contributions.
Two: Patterson Printing & Graphics, nominated by Alston
Middle School. The company's Mike Patterson not only coaches the
Alston Middle School baseball team but also serves as a role model
and mentor for students. He demands that the players perform academically
and makes certain that they have the "soft skills" that
employers desire: Students are urged to be on time, be team players,
be courteous, look people in the eye, and be people who keep their
word. Patterson has also organized homework sites with business
partners and hosted golf tournaments to raise money for educational
4: Showa Denko Carbon, nominated by Harleyville-Ridgeville
Elementary School. Company employees have volunteered as roofers,
carpenters, painters and all-around handymen; funded projects
such as playground equipment installation and classroom mailboxes
to promote writing; and tutored students.
Education Foundation, an initiative of the Charleston Metro Chamber
of Commerce was founded in 1995 to build partnerships between the
business community and the schools, mobilize resources and advocate
for the changes necessary to prepare all students for the careers
of the future.
Local Goodwill office
earns statewide honor for diversity
Industries of Lower South Carolina won the 2009 Excellence in Workplace
Diversity Award for medium-sized companies in a competition sponsored
by the S.C. Chamber of Commerce. The awards were presented last
week at the Fifth Annual Diversity Appreciation Night in Columbia.
S.C. Chamber says companies were judged on diversity initiatives,
effectiveness and applicability. "Goodwill's positive environment
allows individuals to move beyond simple tolerance while embracing
and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within
each of us," says Peggy Smith, vice president of employment
services for Goodwill Industries of Lower South Carolina. "It
is important for our success that we bring into our programs and
workforce individuals who are open to acceptance of the differences
found within the Goodwill family."
mission is to help people achieve their full potential through the
dignity and power of work. The goal of the agency's programs is
to train, support and challenge individuals to overcome employment
barriers and achieve self-sufficiency through work.
card at Mt. Pleasant library to thank local veterans
recognize this month's Veterans Day and Thanksgiving holidays, the
Mount Pleasant Regional Library on Mathis Ferry Road is offering
the community a chance to thank veterans with a written message.
a show of support for the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Administration
Medical Center, library patrons can pick up a "thank you"
card at the Information Desk between now and Nov. 30 to sign or
add a note. The library is also collecting items for donation to
the center throughout the month.
details about what items are needed, call the branch at 849-6161.
your view to our readers
If you have a review of a book, movie, restaurant or local arts
endeavor, please send no more than 150 words to editor Ann
Thrash. Make sure to include your name and full contact information.
School in Mount Pleasant had been called by different names since
its establishment in an abandoned church in 1866. Cornelia Hancock,
a Civil War nurse and Quaker from New Jersey, is credited with founding
the school and served as its first principal. The school was named
for Henry M. Laing, treasurer of both the Friends Association for
the Aid and Elevation of the Freedmen of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania
Abolition Society, each of which supported the school financially.
Its mission was to educate former slaves and inspire them to strive
for high ideals and good citizenship and to make worthwhile contributions
school began with fifty pupils in the remains of the Mount Pleasant
Presbyterian Church. In October 1867 it moved to a brick mansion
provided by the Freedmen's Bureau. In 1868 the bureau built a two-story
school building on the corner of King Street and Royall Avenue,
on land donated by the town of Mount Pleasant. Enrollment at the
coeducational school soon grew to more than two hundred. Known as
the Laing Industrial School, the institution grew and offered seven
years of schooling along with courses in sewing, cooking, cobbling,
and manual training.
earthquake destroyed the school in 1886, but it was rebuilt on the
same site. In 1894 the Pennsylvania Abolition Society became trustee
of the school, which it deeded to Charleston County in 1940. It
became part of the public school system in 1938 and was the first
accredited school for African Americans in South Carolina. The building
was condemned and closed in 1953, but a new school, Laing High School,
opened that same year on U.S. Highway 17 north of Mount Pleasant.
1974 the institution has operated as Laing Middle School. A South
Carolina Highway Marker, which was erected by the Laing High School
Alumni Association, stands at the site of the original Laing School.
Excerpted from the entry by Dorothy Fludd Richardson. To
read more about this or 2,000 other entries about South Carolina,
check out The
South Carolina Encyclopedia by USC Press. (Information used
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The S.C. Department
of Natural Resources' State Climatology Office and the National
Weather Service are looking for volunteers to measure and report
the rain, snow, sleet or hail that falls on their property. "This
is a chance for people who have an interest in weather to be part
of a project that collects valuable weather and climate data,"
says state climatologist Hope Mizzell. The project's official name
is the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS.
Here are DNR's five requirements for being one of its weather watchers.
- You must
have access to the Internet and the ability to browse the CoCoRaHS
Web site, where you will enter your daily precipitation data.
- You need
a CoCoRaHS rain gauge, which can be purchased inexpensively at
the Web site.
- There should
be a site on your property with good exposure and as few trees
and obstructions as possible, where you can place the rain gauge
about five feet off the ground.
- You'll need
to take the online CoCoRaHS observer training course.
- You must
be willing to enter your precipitation data on a daily basis between
6 a.m. and 9 a.m. through the Web site.
or contact Joe Calderone by email
or 744-0303, ext. 422.
whole, human beings want to be good, but not too good, and not quite
all the time."
Orwell, English novelist and satirist (1903 - 1950)
Workshops: Nov. 7, Charleston Museum, 360 Meeting St.
As part of the new exhibit "Aisle Style:150 Years of Wedding
Fashion," the museum and professional calligrapher Natasha
Lawrence will offer two workshops on calligraphy: Introduction to
Calligraphy (10 a.m. to noon) and Wedding Calligraphy (1 p.m. to
3 p.m.). All materials are included: a calligraphy pen to keep,
a workbook, practice paper and more. Cost: $25 for museum members,
$30 nonmembers, per workshop; $5 discount if taking both workshops.
Registration (required): 722-2996, ext. 235, or online
Music on the Farm: Noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 8, Thornhill Farm,
10822 Highway 17 North, McClellanville. Family-friendly event benefits
Adaptive Gardens of the Lowcountry, which enrichs the lives of people
with disabilities by promoting healthy living, social bonding, and
vocational and recreational pursuits through horticultural activities.
Enjoy barbecue and oysters, hayrides, face-painting and a jump castle.
Music by the Holy City Sinners, Skye Paige and the Original Recipe,
the Hungry Monks, French Toast, and the Toasted Beets. Cost: $25
adults, $10 ages 5-15. Tickets
can be found online.
Lake Fall Festival: Noon to 5 p.m. Nov. 8, Colonial Lake
Park, Broad Street and Rutledge Avenue. Free "Sunday Funday"
event sponsored by the Charleston Parks Conservancy. Local businesses
and community groups will have displays, the Hank Marley Band will
provide music, and there will be raffles and games, including bocce
ball, a bean bag toss and a shrimp net toss. The public can also
learn more about the conservancy's revitalization plans for Colonial
Lake and Moultrie Playground. Bring a picnic and lawn chairs.
Harvest Dinner: 4 p.m. Nov. 8, Legare Farms. Legare Farms
Education Foundation will hold its annual harvest dinner beginning
with a "meet the farmer" reception at 4 p.m., followed
by dinner at 5 p.m. All the food will be Legare Farms' own and will
be prepared by ten of Charleston's top chefs, with beer from Coast
Brewery and Palmetto Brewery along with wine from Irvin House Vineyards.
Event benefits the foundation. Tickets: $50 per person. Call 559-0788
or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charleston Style: 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesdays, Sept. 30
through Nov. 18, Culinary Institute of Charleston's Palmer Campus,
66 Columbus St., Charleston. A series of short courses celebrating
the many facets of entertaining with a focus on Charleston style
and traditions. Guest presenters include hosts, event professionals,
authors, collectors, stylists and other specialists known for their
distinctive contributions to local hospitality and tourism. Light
beverage and cocktail samplings will be provided. Cost: $149. More
ONGOING AND SOON
Luncheon: Noon to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 12, Trident Technical
College Complex for Economic Development. The Charleston Regional
Development Alliance's annual luncheon will feature a talk by David
Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times and
the author of "The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and
the Challenges to American Power." Book signing will follow
the luncheon (copies will be available for purchase at the event).
Tickets: $60, available
Electronics Recycling Day: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 14,
Tanger Outlets parking lot (on the Tanger Outlet Boulevard side),
North Charleston. Sponsored by Charleston County's Environmental
Management Department, residents can bring electronic items (TVs,
computers, phones, fax machines, microwaves, VCRs, etc.) to the
event to be safely recycled. Open to county residents only; no businesses
or contractors. More info: 720-7111 or see
this Web site.
Trades and Harvest Day: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 14, Charles
Towne Landing, 1500 Old Towne Road. Costumed interpreters and craftspeople
will interpret what life was like for Charleston's first settlers
as the winter approached. Learn about open-hearth cooking, colonial
foodways, the deerskin trade and colonial medicine. Participants
can also dye an article of clothing with indigo dye and witness
the smoke and thunder of a militia drill. More info: 852-4200 or
Networking: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Nov. 16, Holliday Alumni
House at The Citadel, Hagood Ave. Sponsored by the Center for Women's
Entrepreneurial Woman Series, the event is expected to feature more
than 150 local businesswomen. Through "speed networking,"
participants can meet other entrepreneurs quickly and have the chance
to introduce themselves, their business and their interests to everyone
at each table. Light refreshments provided. Cost: $15 for Center
for Women members; $20 for nonmembers. Free parking at Johnson Hagood
Oyster Roast: 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nov. 22, Elks Lodge, 1113
Sam Rittenberg Blvd. Oyster roast and a silent auction will benefit
the Outreach Learning Center at St. Matthew's Lutheran Church in
Charleston (on King Street across from Marion Square). Oysters,
fish stew, hot dogs, cole slaw, dessert; bring your own beverages.
Live music by Wood & Steel. Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at
the door, $10 for children under 12; available at the center, 403
King St., or online
'A Spiritual Christmas': 6 p.m. Nov. 27, St. Stephen's
Episcopal Church, 67 Anson St., Charleston. The Charleston Symphony
Orchestra Spiritual Ensemble under the direction of Nathan L. Nelson
will perform African-American spirituals set to a holiday theme.
Tickets: $10 per person at the door.
Polar Plunge prep
Homes for Christmas
Enjoy holidays sans lbs.
Instruments of Hope
Armas: Latin biz expo
Be a principal
Women at Gibbes
new food show
on car tags
way of tithing?
over on Sanford
off a little
is time for courage
place for prejudice
fun at Halloween
to old clunker
to squeeze in
on holiday lights
a tourist here
lists of year