Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Which Generation and Y?

vavo,teresaI was listening to the radio this morning; it was an interview on the CBC with David Foot, a Canadian economist and demographer, famous for his book Boom, Bust and Echo (1996).

The general bent to the discussion was the lamentation of missed milestones for Gen X; that is, the celebration of the first wave of Gen Xers to begin turning 50.
It was noted that no such oversight happened for the Boomers.
And of course, there's more boomers than Xers, etc, etc, etc...

(picture contains Gen Y and the "Greatest"/"Silent" generation. That is, me and me grandma.)

Interesting tid-bit: the passage of power (at least, voting power) won't shift from the Boomers-as-majority to us younger generations until 2014 (as I recall... I did hear this interview in my pre-coffee stage).

My interest was piqued, of course, when they had a wee bit of talk regarding my supposed generation, the Millennials, Echo Generation, or Gen Y (all interchangeable, I believe).

Apparently, we're:
-trusting of authority
-getting married in our late 20s
-able to multi-task (traced to our familiarity with and constant use of technology)
-perceived by some (ahem, Boomers...) as undedicated and lazy. This, so I've heard, is connected to the job market, and the (sad?) reality that it's highly unlikely anymore that a person will keep the same job throughout their working life.
-and yet, were able to get jobs "easily"

I wonder, for all you fellow Gen Y people:
Does any of that make sense? I have to admit I've read conflicting descriptions of our demographic.

I have noticed that I can process information (be that a quick scan through radio stations, channel surfing, sorting through the constant bombardment of images and sounds) much more efficiently than some of my older friends and family.
Perhaps multi-tasking at work?

This is an old (from 1996) but interesting video. Talking about us Gen Y kids, as kids. It's like looking into history.


kingshearte said...

The descriptions vary so much that I don't even know if I'm part of it. Gen X is more or less accepted as ending around 1980, but a lot of people don't start Gen Y until several years later. Those of us born in the little gap don't really fit anywhere.

As for the characteristics of the demographic, I don't know. I find the attempts to describe a segment of the population that substantial with one set of characteristics are a little misguided anyway. I don't want to descend into some kind of "we're all special, unique snowflakes" idiocy or anything, but really, we are all different. If we weren't, maybe we'd be able to get along better and stop bombing the crap out of each other.

Hilary said...

I've always been a little confused about which generation I belong to, having been born in 1980. Sometimes I see that year included in Gen X (and I *do* love grunge music), sometimes in Gen Y, sometimes in both, sometimes in neither. So I don't really know who I am. :)

But the description of Gen Y'ers was interesting to read in the context of my own life and that of my friends/peers. I think the job thing (not having one for ones entire life) is less to do with ability/education/laziness and more to do with choice. If Millenials are fast-paced and multi-tasking (which I think we/they are), that means we don't like to sit still for very long. I personally have worked for the same project since I graduated college (just in different locations), but (possibly also because I work in Silicon Valley) I know people who have never worked in the same place for more than two years. It will be very interesting to see how things are when the Boomers start retiring.

Carol said...

The Boomers seem to have a skewed view of the following generations. Gen X (me) were called 'Slackers'. Gen Y are being called "the me generation' ..We were called slackers cause we weren't getting management positions and basically slouched around, lazily, supposedly. The reality was that the Boomers had the management positions etc all sewed up and weren't going anywhere. The amusing part of 'Generation Me' is two-fold. Firstly, they are the children of the boomers, so the Boomers raised them like this. they have no one to blame but themselves. Secondly, in the 70's (yes when the yuppies were they youngsters) they were called the "me generation. Not very imaginative are they?