|Three generations of Little People|
It’s been a couple weeks since I posted the last roundup of Generation X headlines, and I have a few interesting stories and links to share. Think of this post as a trip to the Hostess Store to buy day-old bread or Zingers with a really short shelf-life. It all still tastes just fine.
Last Sunday, a Unitarian church in Atlanta featured three guest speakers in a special program, Generation X Saves the World. All three were Gen X women and members of the congregation. All three took a different approach with their presentations. One delivered an Ode to Sassy magazine. While much of the information was a reiteration of the collective Gen X persona, which we’ve heard many times before from other sources, I really enjoyed their thoughtful deliveries. The audio of their presentations can be downloaded. If you haven’t read much about Generation X, these presentations serve as a great primer.
Speaking of primers, I recently published a static page on my site, Who Is Gen X? I included some fun images of vintage Fisher Price Little People. If you subscribe via RSS or email, you will not have received notification of this. This article covers a number of Generation X topics including characteristics of Gen X; Xers as parents and entrepreneurs; Xers as cynical; Divorce and Latchkey kids and more.
I really enjoyed a recent post from Neil Howe, the author of Generations. His blog is The Saeculum Decoded, and the post is Dear Graduation Class of 2012: You Are Not Special. He takes issue with a recent round of commencement speakers who were intent on telling graduates they were ordinary and not special despite what their parents have been telling them for two decades.
I saw these commencement addresses popping up in my Google Alerts about Gen Y and Generation Z. I thought they were awful, so it was great to see someone of Howe’s caliber address them historically and with compassion. Here’s an excerpt:
“At some level, I guess I’m baffled by the sudden popularity of this trope. Here we are at a time of historically high youth unemployment during the longest and most severe economic bust since the Great Depression. Why would anyone think Millennials need to be reminded by graybeards that history won’t give them a free pass? Just about everyone knows…Millennials are eventually going to have save more and bear higher taxes…to pay for their parents’ unfunded retirement liabilities. And, if those programs go bust, Millennials are conveniently situating themselves in or near their parents’ households so they can help out in person. Shouldn’t these older people want to be nicer to these kids in anticipation of what’s ahead? Shouldn’t they be at least hoping that this rising generation is indeed special enough to handle the challenges being handed to them?”
Jeff Edelstein, a columnist with the Trentonian (New Jersey) penned an interesting opinion piece recently that highlights some interesting statistics on politics and social issues. For starters, when compared to senior citizens, a slightly higher percentage of younger Americans believe abortion is morally wrong. He also breaks down the ages of Congress. Did you know nearly 50 percent of U.S Senators are over 65, and fewer than 10 percent are under 50? Read more at Marijuana, sex, abortion, immigration: Yawn.
I was toying with writing a blog post recently about smart bloggers, so I did an Internet search for the phrase. Guess what I got back? The phrase “smart bloggerz” with a Z and a bunch of articles on how to make money blogging. I’m thinking your average academician doesn’t generally substitute Z for S, but I’m just guessing. (ha.) Anyway, the smart blogger, ToB, who writes the blog Histories Of Things To Come, wrote a great post back in June, Recession, Apocalypse and Hipster Futures. This excerpt should make you want to read more:
“… And then he dropped a bomb.
The question was, What would trigger the DOW dropping to 500?
Nenner replied, “Well, I don’t want to depress you, but I should tell you that I also do war and peace cycles and it shows that were going to have a major war at the end of 2012, beginning of 2013. And I think that’s going to do it.”
Andi of Misadventures With Andi, reminded me this week via Twitter that Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners turned 30 recently. Thirty, Xers. Are you feeling your age? I re-posted it somewhere and someone replied (can’t find now who it was!) that it actually made them feel young because they’d just read an article about Atari turning 40. Egads.
I am starting to see a lot of articles about Generation Z including one from USA Today, High Maintenance Generation Z Heads To Work. This article cites the beginning year for Generation Z as 1990. I don’t know how this can be considered accurate as the typical years for Gen Y, the Millennial Generation, are (by broadest definition) 1980/82-1996/2000.
Bruce Tulgan who wrote Managing Generation X and Not Everyone Gets A Trophy wrote the article, so I really don’t know what to make of it. This is always the generational debate — when a generation begins and ends. In all my research, I have never seen anyone cite the beginning of Generation Z as earlier than 1997. Usually, it’s 2000.
|Gen Z: Wired Up|
All of these articles say pretty much the same thing. Generation Z is overly connected and wired up; were overly involved in extra-curricular activities as kids and teens, and have been overly indulged with parental praise. Here is an excerpt from the article that serves as a warning light:
“Gen Zers are much less likely to fall into recognized opinion categories and much more likely to mix and match various points of view. Don’t be surprised to find gun-toting vegans and religious fundamentalist feminists, political conflicts that would have isolated young people before the advent of social media.We’re about to find out just how worldly and precocious, but fragile and needy, Gen Zers really are. They’ll be America’s most high-maintenance workforce, a change for which we are unprepared.”
If you’re sick of working with Generation Y and looking for a cathartic experience, you might want to check out A Gen Xer’s Rant: What’s Wrong With My Millennial Employees? I don’t work with many members of Gen Y, and the ones I have worked with have been terrific, but I do know a lot of Gen Xers who feel this way about their Millennial counterparts. Xers who have been paying their dues a long time are generally offended by ambitious Gen Y taking on projects “above their pay grade” or trying to leap frog them into the corner office.
While I think it’s important for leaders and managers to gain sufficient experience, I actually think this is terrible of Gen Xers. For America to compete globally we need all hands on deck working together toward profit and innovation. But, the American workplace is not culturally wired for knowledge management and knowledge sharing or transfer. Look back on this post I wrote in April 2010 about the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and Boomers sharing information with Xers.
I routinely search “generations” on Pinterest. I never find much of anything worth re-pinning, but I did come across this funny doodle scrawled in a spiral notebook.
Think about it. If the cassette is father to the iPod then the 8-Track is grandpa and the big round licorice record is great grandpa. haha!
Another thing I’ve seen a few iterations of on Pinterest is a picture of a member of the Silent or Baby Boomer Generation holding a picture of Generation X holding a picture of Gen Y holding a picture of Generation Z. Instead of trying to wrap your brain around that sentence, just have a look at these examples.
|Four Generations and Holding Sources: Generations search on Pinterest|
This kind of makes me a little dizzy if I think about it too long.
My favorite site that pays homage to generations is Dear Photograph. Surely, by now, you’ve heard of this amazing project that’s now a book. I can’t read the posts on this site without crying. It’s more than nostalgia. It’s snapshot photography and highly personal memories, usually no more than a sentence or two in length. My favorite, which I’ve shared before, is from “Kevin.”
Finally, I’m working to build up the mailing list for my new photo newsletter, which will highlight in the coming months the launch of my new card and photography art line. To encourage people to sign up, I’m giving away a copy of Dear Photograph to one person on my mailing list. If you’re already signed up you’re already in the drawing. If not, sign up using the form below or click here to add your email address to the list, and then click “subscribe to the list.” Two clicks from here, 10 seconds, max.
Thanks! I’ll be announcing the winner on Friday, July 13, in the newsletter.