If you’re like me, you are not really sure where you fall in the generational name calling. Baby Boomers know who they are and will proudly tell you, “I’m a Baby Boomer!” But for the younger age group, we don’t put a name on our generation, even though our elders are trying to categorize us in some form or fashion.
I did a little bit of research and here’s what I learned about “my people.”
Bristow, Castleberry, and Cochran classify Generation X as individuals born between 1965 and 1980. We were the products of workaholic parents who often came home to an empty house. Did you wear your house key as a necklace like me?!? Latchkey kids could be trusted to be home alone since our parents were always working. Because of this, we raised ourselves. Mac’n’cheese and hot dogs for dinner? You bet! We know how to be self-reliant and original, but we didn’t want our future children to grow-up without a family unit. Therefore, it’s very important to us that we strive for a balance between work and family. We find it difficult to network because we remember what life was like before cell phones and social media. We do embrace change because we bared witness to Watergate, the fall of the Soviet Union, and the beginning of the first Gulf War.
But what about those Gen Xers that were born in the early part of the 1980s like myself? I see traits from both categories present in my overall demeanor.
According to Bristow, Castleberry, and Cochran, Generation Y was born 1981-2000. We (since I think I’m both an X and a Y) were raised during economic growth and technology progress. I totally remember seeing a computer for the first time and thinking it was the coolest thing ever! We are literate in various trades, cultured, and one of the most ethnically diverse generations in US history. We focus on practical results and our individual income is less important than community involvement. Having a balanced life of work and play is important, but on most occasions, the scale tips a little heavier towards play. We believe we can do anything, be anything, and we are all superstars. Thus we have high self-confidence and have set high standards for how we should be viewed by others. We don’t believe strongly in big-business institutions because we have seen them fail more than they have succeeded. We witnessed the birth of the Internet and the tragedies of 9-11. We know life is short and thus want instant gratification.
So, where do you fit in? Do you see a bit of yourself in each of the categories? If so, welcome to adulthood (GASP!)…. But for the time being, let’s call ourselves Young Adults. We are NO WHERE near the age of the Baby Boomers!