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The Boomer and the Millennial

One would expect this encounter to be a clash of working cultures. In Exodus 18:14, Moses’s father-in-law, Yitro, visiting him at the encampment, is astonished by his son-in-law’s work routine. Seeing Moses besieged by the hordes of people, Yitro clearly explains that this practice cannot continue.

In the words of Yitro himself:”Why do you sit alone while all the people stand about you from morning until evening?”

Moses suffers from the widespread syndrome of the young leader, unable to delegate responsibility, thinking that they are the only expert around. Delegating tasks is a complex art to master. It requires the building of trust and personal maturity.

As Sforno comments here, “…you cannot all by yourself listen to the problems of all the leaders and subsequently to all the problems of the individuals who feel they need your attention, believing that no one but you can deal with their specific problems.”

Yitro then directly tells Moses that “the thing you are doing is not right… the task is too heavy for you; you cannot do it alone.” These words might sound too harsh, but Yitro supplements them with excellent managerial advice of choosing the team leaders, and the rest is history.

The current work culture favors flexibility and creativity over experience, but we, the boomers, still have a couple of tricks up our sleeves, just like Yitro did.

About the Author
Nelly Shulman is a journalist and writer currently based in Berlin. She is an author of four popular historical novels in the Russian language. She is working on the fifth novel in this series and on her first English-language novel, a historical thriller set during the Siege of Leningrad. She a Hawthornden Fellow and an alumna of the Nachum Goldmann Fellowship.
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