by Bruce Yernberg
For some time I have wondered what generation I belong to. I am curious because many people don’t think like I do any more. I have socks dating back to the Carter inauguration. I served in the military (50% of ‘traditionalist’ men did, only 1% today). I believe in structure. I shine my shoes. I own pens. I know cursive and am proud of my signature. I am smart-phone-less.
I have a friend I recently talked to. She is wise and worked her life helping people. Sometimes she helped thousands…sometimes she gave as much effort to an individual; but help she did. I asked her why I don’t connect like I used to. She said understanding our generations might be a start. I have paraphrased what she shared with me about generations:
TRADITIONALISTS (BORN IN THE U.S. APPROXIMATELY FROM 1922 TO 1945)
About 50 million. Common characteristics: loyal, wise, cautious, formal, proud, volunteers
BABY BOOMERS (BORN IN THE U.S. APPROXIMATELY FROM 1946 TO 1964)
About 76 million. Common characteristics: optimistic, self-focused, competitive, forever young, seek face-to-face
GENERATION X (BORN IN THE U.S. APPROXIMATELY FROM 1965 TO 1980)
About 55 million. Common characteristics: independent, skeptical, tech pioneers, entrepreneurial, merit based rewards
MILLENNIALS/GENERATION Y (BORN IN THE U.S. APPROXMATETLY FROM 1981 to 1998)
About 80 million. Common characteristics: self-expressive, group orientated, global, tech dependent, looking to advance
GEN Z (BORN IN THE U.S. SINCE 1998)
Currently about 75 million but growing. Common characteristics: entrepreneurial, diverse, risk averse, pragmatic, technologically advanced
Not included in the ‘Generations’ listed above are the undocumented.
Retired union seniors must find some commonality among the generational characteristics above. Our political values are at risk if we don’t. Of course, we could use a bit of understanding from the ‘Millennials’. Some day they will be seniors.