I’m reading the cover story of the May 20th issue of Time, about the Millennial generation. It’s interesting, but I’m not quite done with it yet, so can’t really comment on it.
What surprised me was that one of the graphics included says that rather than being a tail-end Baby Boomer, as I’ve always thought I am, I’m Generation X.
This changes everything.
Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, because it changes...well...nothing, actually.
I wonder about their year ranges...everything I’ve read says that Baby Boomers ran through 1964, although a Facebook friend informs me that a couple of people have said that it ended in 1960. I’m a little fascinated by this, though. I’ve always felt that I had characteristics of both generations. I was born in ‘62, so I’m on the cusp. Here are Boomer characteristics:
I share with Baby Boomers the influence of TV, I remember Watergate, and I have an activist mentality, advocating for equal rights for women, minorities, and LGBT. As for the sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll part, I won’t speak to all of that, but you all know how much I love my music. [wink] I believe it’s not just fun, it can be an agent of social change. I am absolutely idealistic, optimistic, and one of my mottos in college was “Question Authority”! I am totally not kidding! I’ve gotten a little less rebellious as I’ve gotten older, but I’ve always had that “Who are YOU to tell me what to do?” attitude. These are Gen X characteristics:
With Gen X, I share somewhat the influence of shows like “Sesame Street,” but I was absolutely influenced by MTV. I had a PC very early on, back in the mid-’80s, and I had a web page before blogging became common and easier to publish. (Imagine posting pictures via dial-up!) I think most people would say that I’m somewhat eclectic, I have been self-reliant at times in my life (I lived on my own and supported myself for over a decade), and I think it’s pretty obvious that I can be skeptical about both institutions and people. (Another way to put it: I can spot a bullshitter a mile away.) But I definitely was not a latch-key kid; my parents were together for over 60 years, and my Mom didn’t work when I was growing up. Although in my early career, I was highly motivated by work and got some of my ya-yas out that way, by the time I reached the end of my career, I had the attitude that there was more to life than work and began to embrace the Gen X view of “work to live.” I don’t miss the daily grind of working, not at all.
There is a significant gap between me and my older sisters. Thirteen and nine years. My friend Chris tells me that the guy who says Gen X started in 1960 was trying to make the point that there is a distinct cultural difference between early Boomers and late Boomers. I think this is true. I share many traits with both of my sisters, but they embraced technology quite a bit later than I did, and although there is plenty of music from decades ago that I love, I still enjoy hearing new bands and being exposed to new things (as long as they aren’t infectious in nature!).
My post about this on Facebook generated a lively discussion, and I thank my friends for their input and information.
I think it’s very easy to say that a younger generation doesn’t “get it,” or to fall into the “back in my day” trap. I’ve been guilty of it myself. But technology changes, as do attitudes. My Mom thinks I spend too much time online, but that is where I get the bulk of my news. I don’t think it’s reasonable to expect to get four weeks of vacation in your starter job, but I do think it’s reasonable to expect to have a life outside of your job and not be at the complete beck and call of the company. Depending on the job, there is an opportunity for telecommuting. (That wouldn’t have really worked with my job, but for many, it would.)
Every generation has its talents and weaknesses. It’s important for workplaces and employees to recognize that and work together to maximize every person’s strengths and abilities, no matter what age they are.
I’m not sure if that was a Baby Boomer thing to say, or a Gen X remark.
Source (Incidentally, this source puts Boomers at 1946-1960, and Generation X at 1961-1980.)
Hey, how about a little Generation X, featuring a very young and very beautiful Billy Idol? Yeah!