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author's profile photo Colleen Hebbert

[Discussion] When you Hear "Generation " what do you picture?

One too many Gen Y and Millennial articles has got my goat

But it makes me wonder with generalisations, when you hear Baby Boomer, Gen X, Gen Y, etc what do you image that person to be? Age range, skills, strengths, weakenesses, etc?

This is what pops into your head. Not what you know it to be, what you wish it wasn't or any conscious effort to avoid stereotyping

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  • May 09, 2018 at 04:11 PM

    Compartmentalizing people into buckets based upon their birth year may work well in sports for equal and fair competition levels, but even something like a U12 or U14 soccer team will have a huge range of skill levels, physical maturation, and variables of contrast between boys and girls. Consider when kids get their growth spurts, puberty, and all that -- you can have the same age kid who is head and shoulders taller than another kid, but by season's end the team can look entirely different.

    When it comes to the son of Baby Boomers, I fall into the Gen X category, and am proud father to three Gen Z children (shameless plug for my MoM article - lol). My wife and I are different in many ways (22 years and counting), and the kids also have different interests and personalities.

    What do these sports and family experiences tell me? We are who we are, and are influenced by our environment, upbringing, friends around us, career path, choices, and inborn personalities far more than a containerized label could ever have. Stereotypes are unavoidable, and something we will always be subject to >> both ones applied to us, and ones we apply to others.

    Especially in the polarized and social media fueled world we are living in, I think videos like these video 1, video 2, do a nice job talking about putting people in boxes, and highlight that we share more similarities than we can sometimes think when we judge people with first impressions, stereotypes, or generational labels.

    I'm of the opinion that we are better together, and in spite of certain tendencies that may be influenced by our birth year and generational labels, I find them largely irrelevant, but what do I know...I'm just a Gen X'er who happens to have been born the same year as my employer was founded (along with many other notable companies who also happen to be SAP customers)...

  • May 10, 2018 at 03:25 AM


    gen.jpg (19.3 kB)
  • May 11, 2018 at 09:55 AM

    Only ABAP exists in my life so this is the only generation i recognize!

    generated.png (1.7 kB)
  • May 11, 2018 at 06:12 PM

    To identify what generation has a best fit with someone, I need to see how quickly the person can write a phrase in cell phone.

    When I see how quickly my daughters write a message in yours iPhone... I discover that she is some generations ahead than I. Did you see that this new generation is absolutely fast to write a message in cellphone´s small keyboard?

    On time, probably the next generation will stop to use keyboard and only will speak with machines... and my curiosity is to know how the next generation will be named.

    • May 14, 2018 at 01:12 PM

      interesting.... do we really need the QWERTY keyboard today? Is it really the best design

      on a tangent but you raise a valid point as to how technology is used by someone younger.

  • May 14, 2018 at 03:05 PM

    Nothing is cut and dried, naturally. I am able to see differences, however, when I look across the range of my own siblings. There are seven of us, spread across a range of twenty-three years. The eldest was born in 1947, and today he exhibits classic baby-boomer characteristics. He's practically a stereotype! He will send emails and texts, but usually they are just to say "Call me." On a side note, on his birthday last year, nothing made me think I'm getting older more than to realize that I now have a brother who is 70. That hit me harder than my own 50th birthday.

    The youngest was born in 1969, and she is a classic Gen-X'er in so many ways. Another stereotype! From the texting to the yoga classes to the "green drink" shakes to the way she raises her kids; but it's more than that, it's just a sort of attitude toward society.

    Myself, according to the "official" charts, I'm right on the line. Technically, I was born six weeks before the cutoff between boomers and Gen-X'ers (#6 out of the 7, in case you're wondering). Temperamentally, I think I fit the GenX mold far better than the boomer mold. On the other hand, I find in myself some boomer tendencies, and even some "millennial" tendencies. I love adopting new technology into my life, I prefer to use digital or online tools vs talking to someone on the phone or going into an office, I'm all over social media, and I live on my phone. On the other hand, I do actually still use email more than texting, I abhor "textspeak" writing, I don't constantly check my messages all night (I like to sleep instead), and I still like to get a receipt for purchases (but an emailed receipt is just fine, it doesn't have to be printed).

    My daughter, on the other hand, exhibits some classic stereotypical Gen-Z tendencies (she is 19). Email, for her, is as obsolete as the written letter is to me -- she'll use it grudgingly, but it's not a reliable way to get her attention, as she might not check it for days. Texting is better, but even that is old-school -- real communication happens via various Instant Message programs that are tied in to her social media accounts... and Facebook is far too old-school to be one of them! And so on.

    The counter-example is my Pilates instructor: age-wise, she should be a classic Millennial, but she has more boomer tendencies than I do! She prefers to be paid by handwritten check (though I did get her to grudgingly accept Apply Pay cash recently), she deals with finances and correspondence via the US mail with online being a backup to that, and she's a big proponent of word-of-mouth advertising for her business: she is very rarely on any social media. She does like to text, however: that's probably her primary means of communication. And she does her business taxes on her phone.

    None of the above are cookie-cutters, all of us have some crossover traits, but there are generational differences to be observed. However, some people will "identify" with a different generation than their biological age.

  • May 15, 2018 at 04:22 PM

    Baby Boomers = former hippies that turned total conformists and are going to deplete all Social Security. Gen Xers = greedy, cynical, and overall useless (aka "lost generation"). Gen Z / Millenials = nose-in-the-phone entitled whiny snowflakes.

    One of the advantages of being a Gen Xer: we don't really care what others think of our generation. :) So I usually just chuckle when I see such generalizations. Whatevs.

    Of course, the stereotypes are ridiculous. However, we can't deny that a generation that don't remember the word without Internet will likely be very different from the previous generations. Just like the generations that don't remember any of the world wars were different from their parents. There are major events that can affect and shape the whole generation. But, of course, it reflects differently on each specific individual.

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