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Inside Dental Technology
May 2023
Volume 14, Issue 5


I had an interesting conversation at a recent family holiday dinner. No, it was not about politics; instead, we were discussing some of our favorite movies. Some older films that were noteworthy favorites of my generation were topics of discussion. And, similar to the scene in The White Lotus in which a father, son, and grandson discuss The Godfather, our conversation reflected generational differences. I opined that The Godfather was most likely the greatest movie of all time, an opinion that was met with much disdain by the younger members of my family. This sharp discrepancy in our perceptions caused me to question the nature of our differences and how we have come to view things so differently. Is it just generational?

No one generation is better or worse than any other, yet we have our differences. How we were raised, how we see things, and how we communicate has changed through the years. These generational differences are also obvious in the workforce. Daniel Alter's cover story, "Managing Critical Labor Shortages," discusses many options on how to attract prospects, create a career trajectory, and retain valuable people. Over the years, I have successfully used most of these well-written concepts, but one challenge I still struggle with seems generational. How can I hire someone who doesn't know that The Godfather is the greatest movie of all time? I'm joking about that, but seriously, even though we are all individuals, we are also products of our generations, and our values and interests often reflect those differences. The Baby Boomer generation was born from 1946-1964, followed by Generation X (1965-1979), Millennials (1980-1994), Gen Z (1996-2012), and Gen Alpha (2013-2025), plus or minus a few years depending on whom you ask. Since most of the future work pool will come from Gen Z, the older generations must understand and adapt to help the future of our profession. Many articles describe Gen Z as "re-writing the rulebook when it comes to the work world." Having a work-life balance is paramount for Gen Z, and while that priority may sometimes clash with the values of previous generations, maybe it is something from which we can learn. They also learn and communicate differently, because they are more accustomed to using social media and text messages, often instead of face-to-face interactions. We can learn from this, too, by incorporating more technology and virtual communication.

We have a great profession, and attracting new people will be easier if we share the value of what we do as healthcare workers, learning from and expanding upon our own generational values and skillsets. Hopefully, by enhancing our communication skills generationally, we can strive to improve peoples' lives both esthetically and functionally through a better understanding of the needs and desires of our patients and our profession. Whether through photography, artistry, diagnostics value, computer skills, and/or the value of working closely in an interdisciplinary approach, the benefits of what we create need to be shared to attract all generations, and expanding our definition of what is needed to be a successful technician can help inspire our profession.

Peter Pizzi, MDT, CDT

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