And then there’s this:
The term was used in a 1964 study of British youth by Jane Deverson. Deverson was asked by Woman’s Own magazine to interview teenagers of the time. The study revealed a generation of teenagers who “sleep together before they are married, were not taught to believe in God as ‘much’, dislike the Queen, and don’t respect parents.” Because of these controversial findings, the piece was deemed unsuitable for the magazine. Deverson, in an attempt to save her research, worked with Hollywood correspondent Charles Hamblett to create a book about the study. Hamblett decided to name it Generation X. (Whatever happened to the original Generation X?. The Observer. January 23, 2005.)
That’s part of my generation’s namesake. A proud moment indeed, although I was taught to believe in God and I respected my parents. Just sayin’.
For us to better understand the generations around us, we’ve named, we’ve labeled, we’ve classified, we’ve categorized, we’ve stereotyped. We’ve taken date ranges and created generational groups and aligned specific traits with each, knowing that the long tail on either end will have fewer of those shared traits.
And as it applies to the workforce today, we’ve created a booming industry around how best to assess and place the generations in the workplace, because we all know how unmanageable those wily Millennials are (i.e., Gen Y, those born somewhere between the mid-1970′s and the mid 1990′s). Plus, there’s these Gen Z kids today with their digital nativism and hyper-connective collaboration while us Gen Xers and Boomers destroy the global economic engine.
Right, that last part is already in play unfortunately; it’s not just the younger generations that shred the societal fabric.
It’s been said that Millenials will have at least 7-8 careers in their lifetimes. Again, I’m a Gen Xer and I’ve already had 7 to date. Many of my peers can relate to the path of “I wanted to be this but I fell into that, and that, and that.” There are now five generations in the workplace who are scrambling to stay afloat in this post-apocalyptic economy, even with the hot spots in emerging economies such as Brasil, India and China.
Months ago I wrote that some of the most exciting business startup activity in over a decade is coming from a mixed generational group, young and old alike, all re-imaging the way and why of work within an emotional connectivity and cultural inclusivity. I still say that’s the trend, as well as the fact that contingent workers, consultants, and independent contractors of all ages will make up as much as 35% of the total U.S. workforce within a decade.
But it’s the bucket generalizations that bother me the most, because if we’re truly focused on getting the job engine started again, and hiring and promoting for the highest quality of fit and productivity, then each individual needs to be assessed on their own merits including experiences, skills, education, critical thinking, emotional intelligence, collaboration, adaptability and the like, not based on a broad-stroke labels that help sell books and create media soundbytes, but aren’t going to help businesses thrive.
Stop the name calling. Let’s just call us all Generation Now and get the world back to work.
Read Matt Charney’s precap here as well as the questions.
The #TChat Twitter chat and #TChat Radio are created and hosted by MeghanMBiro and KevinWGrossman, and powered by our friends and partners: TalentCulture, Monster_WORKS, MonsterCareers, HRmarketer, and of course Focus.