This week I thought we would focus on “the Generations.” Is it just me or are we all talking about “the generations” lately? I keep hearing complaints about “Millennials,” and then there’s the “OK Boomer” thing…
Given this cultural discourse, I thought we could all use a generational primer….
Let’s do this!
To Which GENERATION Do YOU Belong?
The Generations (or “generational cohorts”) are defined not by age, but rather by birth year. Here are the generally accepted definitions:
- Born 1944-1964 (currently at least 56 years old). As in Meryl Streep and Bill Clinton.
- Think “TV generation,” post WWII optimism, and “grey”!
- (If you were born after 1964, don’t forget: you may never be a Boomer, but you will get old – if you’re lucky! ?)
???? GEN “X”
- Born 1965-1979 (currently 41-55 years old). As in J. Lo and Elon Musk.
- Think MTV, middle-age+, sandwich generation, and Facebook!
- (Yes, this is me. Any of you remember the book GENERATION X by Douglas Coupland?)
???? GEN “Y” = “MILLENNIALS”
- Born 1980-1994 (currently 26-40 years old). As in Serena Wiliams and Mark Zuckerberg.
- Think those who “came of age” in the new millennium, younger workers in our economy.
- (These are the folks many are complaining about – keep reading!)
?? GEN “Z”
- Born 1995-2015 (currently 5-25 years old). As in Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thurnberg
- Think “digital natives,” young people who are in school or just entering the workforce.
Question for you:
How closely do you match your generational stereotype?
In a society that generally values youth, what does it mean to “act your age“? Here’s a summary of communication styles and stereotypes:
(Unsplash | @lulusphotography)
BOOMERS – b.1944-1964
Communication is diplomatic:
- ✅Hard working, Principled, Value experience & merit
- ⛔️Fear-driven, Tech-phobic, Stubborn
(Unsplash | @apsprudente)
GEN X – 1965-1979
Communication is direct:
- ✅Self-sufficient (latchkey kids!), Ambitious, Family-centric
- ⛔️Cynical, Disaffected, Negative
(Unsplash | @austindistel)
GEN Y, MILLENNIALS – 1980-1994
Communication is “polite”:
- ✅Focus on work-life balance, Tech-savvy, Seek to improve the world
- ⛔️Slackers, Entitled, Narcissistic, Disloyal
GEN Z – 1995-2015
Communication is online:
- ✅Creative, Individual, Expressive
- ⛔️Tech-obsessed, Gamers, Spoiled
They’re STEREOTYPES! ?
Talking Across GENERATIONS
Two videos that I recommend…
1️⃣ A few months ago I stumbled upon this “OK Boomer” video:
Literally the next day, one of my kids said, “OK Boomer” to me, and now we’re hearing “OK Boomer” everywhere. (I’m not sure whether my kids think I was born after 1964 [I wasn’t!], but I do know that they think I’m old!)
2️⃣ One of the amazing guest experts that I interviewed for an upcoming podcast referenced this video. Ellen DeGeneres challenges a Millennial to try a few “pre-Millennial skills” (like using a rotary phone)…
Speaking of Generations
I had the PRIVILEGE last week to be invited to share my podcast learnings with my daughter’s English class. They are studying “media” and they are even recording their own podcasts! It was a wonderful opportunity to see my daughter with her classmates – and to steal a public ❤️hug from her! ?
Have you had a chance to hear my conversations with Norman Bacal yet? What a PRIVILEGE it was to sit down with this best-selling author & legal veteran and talk about career advice, how to thrive at small talk, how to build a professional services firm, the importance of ?listening (ep.41)(and not interrupting!) and how to ?tell your story (ep.42).
That’s it for this week! I hope you learned something new from this summary of the generational cohorts. Please let me know what you think.
Have a great week!
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki
Chief Talker & Communication Coach
Most Recent ?Podcast Episodes:
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