Posts Tagged aarp

Gen-X vs. Millennials: I Don’t Think So

My Brother Aram sent me this video:

This is a powerful statement about the marketing of the Millennials generation as the anti-Generation-X kids. The generation they are referring to as “Lost” is probably not the true Lost Generation (born 1883-1900) but the next generation that followed in a similar vein (Generation X, my generation). We actually have a lot in common with the Lost generation. The Lost were ignored as children (adults were busy with adult issues like Suffragettes), alienated in our youth (think “roaring 20’s” young adults) and pretty pragmatic by the time they hit midlife (on the way through the Depression and leading up to WWII). In general we are viewed as pessimists (I would call us pragmatists, but then, I am an optimist :-)

The Millennials can be seen as the polar opposite. Raised with careful attention (starting with “babies on board” in 1981) and strong values as well as high expectations, they are set to be the next “Hero” generation (much like the GI’s born 1901-1924). So that “can do” attitude is more than marketing, it is the real hopes and aspirations for an entire generation. That is the vibe that Obama (a pragmatic X’er) struck upon in his campaign so successfully. Optimism is in. Yes we can, yes we can. My kids are part of this generation.

If you wait until the end of the video you will see the organization responsible for this message is the AARP, which is primarily focused on issues concerning a different generation, The Boomers. The older Millennials are the kids of Boomers (while much of the younger portion is parented by Gen-X). This is the same generation that has given us ideological and culture wars for the last 20 years or so (Bush and Clinton were both Boomers).

On the surface, the message in the video is very true to each generation

  • The pessimistic Gen-X’ers and the optimistic Millennials
  • The individualistic Gen-X’ers and the team-oriented Millennials
  • The pragmatic Gen-X’ers and the idealistic Millennials

But the idea that somehow the Gen-X’ers failed and the Millennials will succeed is a fallacy. Comparing these generations attitudes during their youth is not as important as seeing how they will work together to change the world. Having the tough, capable and pragmatic Gen-X’ers working alongside the idealistic, team-oriented and enthusiastic Millennials is just the right recipe. We both have lots to teach each other.

, , , , ,

19 Comments