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#1 futuretalk

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 11:45 AM

Generations: groups approach life and work differently
By Dick Pelletier

Today, people grow up faster and stay young longer. Most of us feel wise beyond our years and look great for our age. Although we haven’t found the fountain of youth yet, we’re learning to drastically slow the aging clock. Age is becoming more of an attitude than a number.

As a result, preschool parents can range from 25 to 60; a newlywed can be 20 or 70; and college students now include teens to seniors. According to the Internet data source, Wikipedia, and the best-selling book, Generations: the History of America’s Future, by Neil Howe and William Strauss, today’s living generations fall into 7 groups, described below from oldest to youngest:

Lost, 1883-1900 – This proud group whose members once ruled the world, has dwindled to just 76 “Super-Centenarians” (110 years and older). Famous Lost members include Dwight Eisenhower, Babe Ruth, Humphrey Bogart and Al Capone.

G.I., 1901-1924 – G.I.s have become the world’s fastest-growing age group. Most are nonagenarians, but many are among the world’s 76,000 centenarians. Celebrities include Bob Hope, Lucille Ball, Frank Sinatra and Walt Disney.

Silent, 1925-1945 – This bunch (which includes yours truly) grew up as children of war and depression. We were too late to be war heroes (we fought the Korean War to a tie) and too early to be free spirits. Instead, we became risk-averse techies, rock-n-rollers, and civil rights advocates in an era where conformity seemed a sure ticket to success. We are now entering elderhood with unprecedented affluence, a hip style, and a get-it-done reputation. Famous Silents include Marilyn Monroe, Carl Sagan, Elvis Presley and Barbra Streisand.

Boomer, 1946-1964 – Born during a 14-year increase in birthrate, these carefree souls lived through both good and bad times and participated in the 1960s counterculture. Comprising 40% of the U.S. population, this group is now beginning to draw Social Security. Celebs include Dustin Hoffman, Goldie Hahn, Ron Howard, and three who just left us: Farrah, Michael and Billy.

Gen X, 1965-1980 – Mostly children of Boomers and Silents, these rebels grew up with video games and MTV. The famous include Julia Roberts, Jennifer Anniston, Tiger Woods and Reese Witherspoon.

Millennial, or Gen Y’er, 1981-2000 – Born into a computer-dominated world, these “electronic smarties” have carried cell phones since age six, and are more Internet-savvy than their parents. Famous Millennials include: LeBron James, the Olsen twins, Paris Hilton and Britney Spears.

Z, or Zog, 2001-2021 – This group, also called iGeneration (for Internet), face the Iraq war aftermath, increasing world secularism, and will be at the forefront of the greatest revolution predicted for human history – the elimination of aging. Though the oldest are only approaching nine, Zogs scream for Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers – and blog at MySpace, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Unlike Millennials, they embrace technology with their parents.

How do generations approach the workplace? Silents seek loyalty and responsibility; Boomers want money, respect and peer recognition; Gen Xers love appreciation from the boss and stock options; Millennials value time-off and mentoring; and in a future where most human jobs will be lost to automation, Zogs could become tomorrow’s wealthiest entrepreneurs.

Can radically different generations deliver tomorrow’s “magical future?” Positive Futurists believe they can. Comments welcome.

#2 lemit

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 02:21 PM

How do generations approach the workplace? Silents seek loyalty and responsibility; Boomers want money, respect and peer recognition; Gen Xers love appreciation from the boss and stock options; Millennials value time-off and mentoring; and in a future where most human jobs will be lost to automation, Zogs could become tomorrow’s wealthiest entrepreneurs.

Can radically different generations deliver tomorrow’s “magical future?” Positive Futurists believe they can. Comments welcome.


Up until this part of your very interesting dissection of culture, you had me. I thought it was the best such summation of generations I'd seen in a long time.

I was born in 1946, an early but quintessential baby boomer.

The people running seminars and doing supervisor training at the university where I worked told my supervisors I would be more interested in time than in money, much more interested in my life outside work than my life at work, wouldn't care that much about what co-workers thought about me, and anything that could be done to give me more flexibility in my schedule would make me a more loyal worker.

My supervisors didn't care about providing flexibility, so I provided it for myself. I retired at 55, after years of thinking how I coiuld survive on practically nothing. I love my life with no alarm clocks, no bosses, and no money--as the training people said I would. I'm surrounded by pets, plants, books, art, and memories. Although I've lost my parents, who were central to my existence, I'm still somehow happier than I've ever been in my life. Again, those training people were exactly right.

I'm curious about your sources, since you cite none. I'm sure you were relying on good information, but I'd like to know who said I'd "want money, respect and peer recognition." That isn't me, and in fact it's someone I don't recognize at all.

Over the years, being in the first wave of the baby boom has had its advantages. It has always seemed that if I started to want something, no matter how bizarre, within six months it would be available for me. The future purchasing power I represented would dictate a change in manufacturing to satisfy my whims. That's why I have the confidence to challenge that one minor part of your otherwise fascinating post.

--lemit

#3 futuretalk

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Posted 02 July 2009 - 04:36 PM

Lemit, most of the data for this piece came from Wikipedia and Generations: the History of America’s Future, by Neil Howe and William Strauss. The authors admit that the definition of how generations respond to the workplace was taken in a broad sense.

There is just not a one-size-fits-all when it comes to classifying these groups.

Sorry, that you did not fit into the description.

Dick

#4 klenole

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Posted 27 July 2009 - 09:23 AM

I must disagree with what you say in the Millennial part. I have only carried a cell phone since age 13. (Sadly.) Haha, but anyway, that was pretty interesting. Generation X... heard it in several songs I listen to, so I was wondering about what that was. And... OHYES. Time off. You had it right on that one for the Millenials.