How do you define a generation?

IMAGE0087As people age they get more experienced handling the real world. So older people will tell stories about the younger generation throwing tantrums, crying and protesting over elections. However, riots over elections has occurred before. Ever hear of the Chicago eight? Or the Kent State riots? I recall a lot of Baby Boomers taking to the streets to protest what went on when they were young. In fact, we did a lot more protesting than the millennials have done.

So in review how do millennials really differ from earlier generations?

They know more about the culture of their parent’s generation, but less about the politics. When it comes to politics, the millennials have not paid as much attention to it as those age 18 to 35 did in the sixties and seventies. They often avoided involvement due to a growing distrust of politicians. But that seems to be changing.

Millennials have had a much more structured upbringing with less free time and less time spent with their parents than the previous generations. They face increasing pressure to spend more time working on a successful a career. And their attitude towards wealth shows that. Most didn’t go to college for broadening their minds. They went to college to get jobs that make more money.

However, making more money is not easy in the current economy. So they live at home longer, put off marriage and family longer and move from company to company hoping to move up sooner. Most still want to avoid becoming the “workaholic” type. They find building reputation and a following are as important for their career as gaining experience.

Millennials also flock to social media create this reputation for themselves. Even though the birthrate is slowing down in industrialized countries, the population still grows due to immigration  Millennials are more diverse than the last three generations. Over 50% of them have a parent that immigrated to the United States. Also, the older generations are simply not dying off as fast as they did a century ago. More people means the need to  distinguish themselves. Millennials tend to seek both unique ways to make their mark, while giving a token attention to conformity. They differ from each other as much as they differ from other generations.

Finally, they have grown up with technology and masses of data that must be handled with computers. However, not all of them are thrilled with technology, and there is a growing interest in the old crafts among some sectors. If changes in technology continue to increase exponentially, you can expect increasing problems with information overload. And this is the challenge that will likely define the millennial generation.

 American Freshman survey by the Higher Education Research Institute of UCLA
U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement
This entry was posted in Baby boomers, Generational differences, Millennials. Bookmark the permalink.

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