Things Gen Xers Don’t Remember


Drinking the same Kool-Aid?

This month I’ve read more than one article that mistakenly lumped Gen Xers in with the Baby Boomers in the “old” category.  These two generations are very different, and old is relative.

One article was about how companies are adapting to retain Millennial / Gen Y workers who job jump every 2-3 years, and mentioned that older workers were “comfortably entrenched in upper management.”  Um not really the case for Gen X.  We’ve NEVER been comfortable.  We’re under no pretense that we’ll ever get a gold watch because we’ve gotten too many pink slips over the years.  We are skeptical that our retirement will be at par or better than our parents.  We’re realists.  Boomers still hold the majority of upper management positions for now.

And when Whitney Houston died this month, some news outlets were calling us the “older generation” who remember Whiney in her prime.  Really?  Gen Xers get to claim Whitney, the good and the bad, but there are two generations older than us still on the planet and they most likely didn’t adore Whitney in her prime, they perhaps preferred to pull out their LPs of Sonny and Cher or Tom Jones during the 1980’s and 90’s.

So just a bit of a refresher, for you crackerjack newspeople who have struggled recently to get the generations straight… here’s a chart sketching out some of the cultural influences of the three generations when they were growing up, which separates the Gen Xers from the Boomers that are older and Gen Y that are younger.  Enjoy the clarity 🙂  Chart courtesy of  LD Buschmann.

Culture Comparison- 3 Generations                                    by LD Buschmann
Categoy Gen X Missed or Was Too Young to Remember:pre 1970Era of Baby Boomers Gen X Saw Growing Up: born: 1965-1976 Gen Y Have Seen So Far Growing Up: born: 1977-1994?
Economy GI Bill,Booming Economy, Suburbia Gas Shortages, Savings & Loan Crisis, Dot Com Boom, Dot Com Bust, Real Estate Bust
War Korea and Viet Nam Afghanistan I Iraq and Afghanistan II
Disaster JFK’s asassination Oklahoma City Bombing 9/11
Musicians The Beatles / Elvis Madonna / Michael Jackson Backstreet Boys / Britney Spears
Game Changer Civil Rights Acts AIDS Columbine HS Massacre
World Event Cuban Missle Crisis Berlin Wall Falling Rwanda and Bosnian Genocides
Toys Board Games Legos, GI Joe, Barbie Console Video Games, GameBoy
Sports Hero Muhammad Ali Walter Payton Michael Jordon
Drug Acid (Turn In, Tune On, Drop Out) Speed and Coke (Living 24 Hours a Day) Ecstasy and Meth (Take a Chill Pill)
Group Party Woodstock We Are The World and Farm Aid Million Man March
Technology Man on the Moon The PC and Cell Phones World Wide Web, eBay, Yahoo!
Politics Nixon / Watergate Reagan / Iran Contra Clinton and Lewinsky
Mass Communication Black and White TV MTV / Cable CDs and MP3s
Late Night Johnny Carson David Letterman Conan O’Brien
The Fourth Turning’s Generation Type* Prophet (known for vision, values, religion) Nomad (known for liberty, survival, honor) Hero (known for community, affluence, technology)

* ”The Fourth Turning” by William Strauss and Neil Howe, 1997.

Musical pairing: “My Generation,” The Who, 1965.

One response to “Things Gen Xers Don’t Remember

  1. Pingback: Things Gen Xers Don’t Remember « Gen X Says

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