Over the last 100 years we have seen major socio-cultural changes as different generations have influenced and affected how society works. The following is primarily related to the Western world.
As a result of the differences between generations, we can find ourselves stuck with different expectations and conditioning and sometimes I wonder if they are just generalizations and descriptions not reality.
The next generation is the Greatest Generation, also known as the G.I. Generation. This generation were born between 1901 and 1924 and survived two World Wars and the Great Depression. Those still alive are living in rest homes and with their children.
Then came the freest and most fortunate generation – the Baby Boom Generation. Born following World War II, from 1946 up to 1964. This generation enjoyed full FREE education. They saw the development and advancement of technology and the growth in family numbers led to entirely different socio-cultural expectations and demands. Boomers thought themselves special and privileged. They worked hard and amassed much. They wanted a better future but they did not always care for themselves well and smoking, drugs and alcohol abuse was matched with promiscuity and an increase in sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. They rejected the old ways and sought new ways forward until they came to power and suddenly they reverted to old patterns. Many Baby Boomers have experienced 2 major financial crisi that have totally wiped them out.
Generation X includes those born after the baby boom ended.It generally started sometime mid 1960s through to the about 1982 (depending on the source of your information). This generation have experienced HUGE change – change in education, expectations, work history and technology. They have developed resiliency but also major health problems due to increased stress and related diseases.
Generation Y are often called many different names – the Millennial Generation (or Millennials), Generation Next, Net Generation, and Echo Boomers. Commentators vary on the period when this generation actually starts and some think that the earliest were born in the 1970s while most agree that this generation started in the 1980s to the turn of the century. These children have been bombarded with massive information every day and therefore process that information very differently than any other generation. They can be seen as lazy or easily bored but they have experienced instant information and learn knowledge differently because of technology. However their socialization skills and ability to interact with others is different. Everything is in soundbites. They are consummate flutterbyes ( a term meaning that they flit from one task to another depending on the interest factor).
And the children born in this century are Generation Z, or Generation I, or Internet Generation, and Generation Text. How they will integrate and work is not yet known but some of the problems seen in school reflect the problems seen with the Baby Boomers born prior to 1955. Bullying, a sense of entitlement and a desire for social justice. What this will mean to the work force and to the future economic conditions is yet to be seen but as children who have experienced an economic correction not seen for over 50 years, they will definitely come into adulthood with very different expectations.
So how do the different generations get us stuck?
Stuck generalizing how a different generation thinks and will react. Stuck judging different generations. Stuck trying to categorize and label people based on their age not their uniqueness.
We need to recognize that people matter not the generation they belong to. When we label people by their generation we can easily get stuck with preconceived ideas and miss understanding and enjoying interaction with the person.
Depending on your experiences this affects how you treat others. But generalizations about any generation will keep us stuck and set up expectations about behavior that may not be true.
What are your thoughts on the different generations and their expectations?
Simplifier, Presenter, Mentor