I was born in the early 1970s – which I guess makes me “Generation X”. While the name sounds cool (Do I get Mutant Powers too?) – I hate the idea of generation labels like Bill Belichick hates reporters asking dumb questions – which is to say I hate them A LOT. I never understood how these labels a) help in any way and b) are in some way how I (and my fellow “Gen Xers”) are classified and studied like lab rats. With the latest “Millennial” infatuation BS blowing everyone’s minds (more on that in a bit) this whole concept of lumping giant swaths of people together and labeling them as “lazy” or “entitled” or “go -getters” is really nothing more than a giant piece of steaming crap. I have had it. Day after day of non-stop articles, talking heads and social posts about Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers and now “Nexters” – whatever the hell that crap means. I understand the need for us as humans to label and categorize everything – OK maybe I don’t – but we are forgetting one really important fact: we are all individuals too.
Here’s what “Generation X” is supposed to be (credit to http://www.marketingteacher.com/the-six-living-generations-in-america/ ) and my answers in honestly assessing myself in bold:
- The “latch-key kids” grew up street-smart but isolated, often with divorced or career-driven parents. Latch-Key came from the house key kids wore around their neck, because they would go home from school to an empty house. – NOPE – My parents have been married for 50+ years! Also – my Mom was home every day after school – with awesome snacks too!
- Entrepreneurial. – OK – got me here
- Very individualistic. – You bet your tuchas I am.
- Government and big business mean little to them. – Nope. I am interested in both.
- Want to save the neighborhood, not the world – I don’t want to save either – is that bad? Should I have the “Shame” lady from Game of Thrones ringing the bell behind me now?
- Feel misunderstood by other generations – What is this BS? Really? I could give two shits about how other generations view me.
- Cynical of many major institutions, which failed their parents, or them, during their formative years and are therefore eager to make marriage work and “be there” for their children – This is sooo off base. No major institutions (at least that I am aware of) failed my parents and I am “eager to make marriage work” because I love my wife – not because of any childhood parental dramas. Christ this shit pisses me off.
- Don’t “feel” like a generation, but they are – I guess accurate here (hence this post) – but don’t tell me what I am 🙂
- Raised in the transition phase of written based knowledge to digital knowledge archives; most remember being in school without computers and then after the introduction of computers in middle school or high school – Truth
- Desire a chance to learn, explore and make a contribution – C’mon now – couldn’t this be anyone in any generation? So only my generation is like this? Blood. Boiling.
- Tend to commit to self rather than an organization or specific career. This generation averages 7 career changes in their lifetime, it was not normal to work for a company for life, unlike previous generations. – OK – this could be true. But again, I strongly disagree that only Generation Mutants with Powers are like this. As a matter of fact – isn’t everyone these days? Isn’t that why I keep hearing about the latest “label” non-stop in my LinkedIn in feed – “the gig economy”? Puke forming in mouth….
- Society and thus individuals are envisioned as disposable. – Don’t even understand what they are trying to say here? Is this thing on?
- AIDS begins to spread and is first lethal infectious disease in the history of any culture on earth which was not subjected to any quarantine. True – but what does this have to do with defining me and my fellow X-Men and Women?
- Beginning obsession of individual rights prevailing over the common good, especially if it is applicable to any type of minority group. I love my individual rights, but I also love the common good too. I know a lot of my friends my age who are laser focused on the common good. So basically you are saying I am a selfish asshole?
- Raised by the career and money conscious Boomers amidst the societal disappointment over governmental authority and the Vietnam war. Both my parents had great careers – my dad is STILL working because he loves it. My parents were NEVER driven by career ambitions so much as providing a good home for me and my brothers. We were not a family that discussed politics and were raised to do what we love – money was not the focus – like ever.
- School problems were about drugs. – Nope. School problems were about school problems.
- Late to marry (after cohabitation) and quick to divorce…many single parents. I got married at age 29 after living with my wife for a year – is that late to marry? Still married too – with two great kids.
- Into labels and brand names. Clearly not into labels as I am writing this post about how much I hate them. So now I am superficial too?
- Want what they want and want it now but struggling to buy, and most are deeply in credit card debt. Proud to say have ZERO credit debt and am mostly budget conscious (except when it comes to Star Wars stuff).
- It is has been researched that they may be conversationally shallow because relating consists of shared time watching video movies, instead of previous generations. So I am shallow because I want to talk about the game or “The Force Awakens”? Shallow I am then.
- Short on loyalty & wary of commitment; all values are relative…must tolerate all peoples. Wow – they think we are a bunch assholes, huh? I consider myself loyal. Tolerant? I guess not as much as most, but I really am only intolerant of stupidity.
- Self-absorbed and suspicious of all organization. – Suspicious of organization? I guess I don’t know what that really means? As for self absorbed, sure – a little bit if I am being honest. But who the hell isn’t? Really?
- Cautious, skeptical, unimpressed with authority, self-reliant. Cautious? Ask anyone who knows me and that will never be a way any of them would describe me. Skeptical? Sure. Unimpressed with authority? You bet. Self -reliant? Yes.
What a load of crap – really and truly. Sure – some of the descriptions were accurate, but couldn’t they be about ANY generation, or more importantly here – person? You could read your Horoscope any day and find SOME relevance to you if you really want to. Same BS here in actuality. Yet we, as a society, seem to embrace these generational labels as fact? The latest craze in business and HR is discussing this new form of human life – Millennials. Who are these creatures? How do we understand them? How do we retain them? For the love of God they are PEOPLE – and just like any other person they have their own unique backgrounds, personalities and drivers. They are NOT some new human life form that we need to research and study. Labeling anyone as this or that is, in my opinion, incredibly insulting and demeaning. It is my belief the more we look at, digest and accept these labels the more we end up moving away from treating people the way any person would like to be treated – as an individual. Thinking about this even further, this labeling has fragmented us more than ever before. The current political climate has resulted in more labeling too – based on your own political preferences which has fractured us greatly. I never discuss my own politics publicly because who the hell cares what my politics are, but what I see among my friends is the “you are either with me or against me” Annakin in Revenge of The Sith mentality – and it is all because we label people as pro or against Trump. I am willing to bet there are Trump and Hillary voters who aren’t 100% evil, and that there are some things each side actually might agree on too. Labels suck. They divide us and are never really accurate either. Please, I beg all of you “How to understand Millennials” post writers and speakers to give it up – because they, and everyone else, are much more than a label.