Generation labels have been assigned to cohorts based on birth date spans. Supposedly, Baby Boomers, Gen X, Y (AKA millennials), and Z have specific lifestyles and personalities assigned to each. You can go back further to post-war and WWII but the more recent cohorts are discussed most often. Perhaps because those born in the earlier categories don’t care much for or rely on social media, the major source of the comparisons. Thanks to social media, generational warfare is becoming a thing where members of one cohort ridicule or generalize (negatively) another.
What are the Generational Cohorts?
research provided me with this chart:
Notice that the Boomers have two groups because the span of years is so large. Also, note that this cohort chart ends with those born in 2012. The most recent generation cohort has since been labeled with Alpha, spanning the years between 2012 and 2025.
This generational group was so labelled thanks to the explosive spike in babies born post WWII as men returned from war and countries recovered from the great depression. New found peace and prosperity resulted in a confident and strong economy. Companies and labour unions grew providing a bright future. Boomers grew up in a world full of wonderful possibilities where a strong work ethic and hard work could lead to success. Many started work young and continued to work throughout their school years.
They value family security, honesty, responsibility, skillfulness, and a sense of accomplishment. Baby boomers are often thrifty since they were raised by parents that lived through the depression and/or WWII. Others wanted to provide for their family the material things they never had or experienced when they were young.
We (both hubby and I are in the younger of the two Boomer groups) do sound boring on paper.
Gen X, Latchkey, or Post-Boomers
Gen Xers are great at maintaining a work-life balance, solving problems (resourceful), and being independent. They are known to be flexible, yet cynical. They are more ethnically diverse than their elders and tend to be more liberal regarding social issues.
Technologically, this group is the first generation to grow up with personal computers. Also labeled the “latchkey” generation, many grew up unsupervised after school as both parents worked outside the home. Perhaps that is why they are said to be so independent.
Another title for Gen Xs is the “in-between” generation, sandwiched between Millenials and Boomers. Apparently, this generation may be the first to be less prepared for retirement than their parents as their finances were affected by the dotcom (technology) bust in the late 90s, the 2008 financial crisis, and the subsequent recession.
Gen Y or Millenials
My two oldest sons are Millenials or Gen Ys. Although just five years separate the youngest of these two from their baby (gen Z) brother, I do recognize and agree with (most of) the generalizations within their respective cohorts.
Most Gen Ys or Millenials are self confident and ambitious, with high (sometimes too high) expectations, relying on rising up the ladder of employment quickly. If that doesn’t happen to their satisfaction, they are quick to move on.
Gen Ys strive for flexible work hours and know how to establish a good work/life balance. Opportunites for further development, company benefits, and great co-workers are important considerations when job seeking. They are comfortable in the digital world and make it work for them.
Gen Z or Zoomers
Gen Zs have never experienced days not immersed in technology. Technological advances such as the internet, social media, and cell phones rule their world. Digitally, they are well (globally) connected, often called the iGeneration.
Career goals are based on achieving a secure personal life. Most of them are well aware of the fact that their social and communication skills are deficient, and recognize the struggle to maintain successful and lasting personal relationships.
Their birth years are marked by the onset of climate change or global warning, the energy crisis, and a global economic slide. Most cannot afford to buy a home. That sounds so dismal.
The good news for gen Zs?
According to the Guardian, Gen Zs or post-Millenials:
drink less, take far fewer drugs, and have made teenage pregnancy a near anomaly.the Guardian
Why the Disrespect Between Generation Labels?
Generally, when one group of people is compared to another, a sense of superiority, as well as insecurities, ensue. Sports teams, political groups, and now generations are all guilty. Social media just takes it to a whole new level with memes (funny cartoon-like expressions spread via the internet) like “OK Boomer.”
“Ok, Boomer” has become Zoomer’s dismissive, eye-roll response to older people (Boomers), who just don’t get it. It’s Zoomer’s (and maybe the Millennials’) way of releasing their frustrations on a previous generation who doesn’t see the world and what’s wrong with it as they do.Karen McCullough.com
Considering the younger generations are reportedly more inclusive than their elders, is it not sad that they cannot accept contributions to society made by each generation? Of course, the same applies the other way around. The older generations can learn so much from their younger counterparts. Inclusivity, acceptance, technology, and more!
Who is Next? Generation Alpha
According to AIHR (Academy to Innovate HR),
by 2025, Generation Alpha is expected to be the wealthiest, most educated and technologically literate generation in history.AIHR
Wow, no pressure there. Although after seeing how quickly my now nine-year-old granddaughter adapted to online learning during the pandemic, I’m not surprised! She is at the eldest edge of the Alpha cohort with her siblings and cousins (the ones that are also my grandchildren) right behind her.
photo credit: pexels-photo-3845458.