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.