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Building Office Bonds: Rob Breakiron and Others Bridge Generational Gap with Taylor Swift Fandom

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Taylor Swift: Teen Vogue

At KPMG, Rob Breakiron, a 45-year-old managing director, has found a unique way to bond with his younger colleagues. Their shared love for Taylor Swift is creating unity in their KPMG office. Known around the office as the “Swiftie Dad,” Breakiron’s enthusiasm for the pop star has made him surprisingly popular among the entry-level staff.

Breakiron’s Swiftie status is hard to miss. He often appears on team calls sporting Taylor Swift merchandise or the friendship bracelets from her Eras tour. These visual cues don’t go unnoticed by the younger Swift fans in the office. It has helped to build bridges and foster mentorship.

“It really helps me connect with the younger generation,” Breakiron said. “You can’t underestimate the power of shared interests.”

After attending several of Swift’s concerts with his daughter, Breakiron has become the go-to person for concert tips and tour stories. This connection goes beyond just a shared music taste; it helps ease the generational divide in the workplace.

Have you ever bonded with coworkers over a mutual love for music or pop culture?

As companies adapt to post-remote work environments, common interests like music provide a neutral ground for colleagues to connect. This is a time when workplace culture is evolving, and debates over office norms and remote work are common. Pop icons like Taylor Swift and Beyoncé are helping people from different generations find common ground.

Angela Hall, a professor at Michigan State University, emphasizes the importance of these connections. “Shared interests are crucial for building bonds at work,” she said. “Whether it’s Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, baking, or pets, these connections can significantly improve workplace relationships.”

A survey by the Society for Human Resource Management revealed that 45% of workers feel “emotionally drained” by their jobs. More than another half feel “used up” at the end of the day. However, employees who feel a sense of belonging are much less likely to experience burnout.

Andrew Boyagi, another Taylor Swift fan and senior director at Atlassian, sees discussing personal interests as essential for forming beneficial relationships. “Knowing your colleagues personally can make all the difference when work gets tough,” he said.

Also, at Atlassian, updates on Swift’s music often spark conversations that bridge generational gaps. For example, a younger team member explained how the thumbs-up emoji could be interpreted as passive-aggressive, leading to new emoji preferences within the team.

Do you have unique ways of connecting with your team at work?

Consequently, even top executives are getting involved. Susan St. Ledger, president of worldwide field operations at HashiCorp, referenced Swift in a sales speech and received friendship bracelets from employees. These small gestures show how shared interests can create a sense of community.

Taylor Swift and Beyoncé provide non-controversial, enjoyable topics that help lighten the workplace atmosphere, making it easier for employees to connect and feel more engaged.

Do you think shared interests can improve workplace dynamics and morale? Please share your thoughts!

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