Tag Archive: X-Gens


“When the war was over, the men and women who had been involved … joined in joyous and short-lived celebrations, then immediately began the task of rebuilding their lives and the world they wanted … They married in record numbers and gave birth to another distinctive generation, the Baby Boomers. They stayed true to their values of personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith.” – Former NBC anchor Tom Brokaw, The Greatest Generation 

“Tom Brokaw once wrote a book about the greatest generation, those brave people who survived the depression and fought in World War II. Unfortunately that great generation spawned a generation of narcissists: the baby boomers.” – Huffington Post blogger Gene Marks

The Baby Boomers are inevitably moving day-by-day toward the ash heap of recorded history … and not a moment too soon.woodstock

USA Today last week reported for the first time ever, the number of Millennials exceeds the population of Baby Boomers by an 83.1 million to 75.4 million count, according to the 2014 U.S. Census.

Poor Millennials and X-Gens. They will be the first generations in American history to have a worse standard of living than the preceding generation … that would be the Baby Boomers.

Many Millennials are going to college, graduating with oppressive student loan debt or for the lucky few, no debt, and settling for a job that once did not require a degree, and pays $10,000 less now than it did in the 1980s.

“Will that be a latte, cappuccino or mocha, sir (or madam)?”

And as a result of this economic dilemma, many Millennials particularly those saddled with an average of $40,000 in college loan debt, are being forced to … yes, move back into a parent’s or parents’ home.

Where will the “Hello Kitty” poster go?millennials

Can Millennials buy a house, even with near-record, low-interest rates averaging 4.19 percent this week? The author of Almost DailyBrett remembers buying his first house for $120,000 in Sacramento in 1984 at a 30-year fixed rate of 14.25 percent, paying two points for the privilege. Two years later, your blogger refinanced the loan down to 10.25 percent, once again paying two points.

Do you think Millennials can find any house in California for $120,000 that will not come with meth- lab neighbors, who will soon be auditioning for The Jerry Springer Show?

Brokaw wrote about “personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith” in describing the virtues of the Silent Generation, born between 1925-1945, which stared down the Global Depression and won World War II on two theatres of combat.

Do you think anyone would ascribe any of these Silent Generation virtues – personal responsibility, duty, honor and faith — to the hedonistic Baby Boomers? Seems like a silly question.

The Entitlement Generation 

“The selfishness that has been a hallmark of the Boomers will continue right up to the very end, as they force millions of younger Americans to devote an inordinate amount of time and resources to their care, bankrupting the Social Security system in the process. In their old age, the Boomers will actually take as much from the next generation as they did from the previous one, which fought WW II.” – The Onion, January 20, 1999

“But you know nowadays
It’s the old man,
He’s got all the money
And a young man ain’t got nothin’ in the world these days
I said nothing” — The Who, Young Man Blues

If it feels good; do it.

Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll.

Almost DailyBrett refrains for the most part in making absolute predictions, but will do so in this case:

Someone, someday will write an epic tome glorying the “Me, Me, Me” generation, and will attempt to be the Tom Brokaw of the Baby Boomers. It will be a pathetic effort that will nonetheless be coffee-table book lucrative because there will be some in the born-between-1946-1964 crowd, who will want to desperately justify their sorry existence on the planet.

They will point to the end of the Vietnam War. They will direct attention to the campaign for the equal rights for women. They will wax nostalgic about the civil rights marches. There are already plenty of revisionist Oliver Stone movies that make these very same points.

But weren’t all of these crusades … sorry bad word with religious overtones for some Baby Boomers … weren’t all of these movements mounted back in the 1960s? What have you done for us since then? Legalized marijuana?

The same-sex marriage victory? That achievement must be shared with Millennials and X-Gens.

Baby Boomers burned the flag, staged Woodstock and Altamont, the latter came with Hells Angels and bloody pool cues. Many against-the-war-in-Vietnam types still don’t like America very much,  bitching and moaning, while not even considering moving anywhere else.

Way too many Baby Boomers made lifestyle choices, which contributed to a nearly four-times increase of former workers on disability from 2.8 million in 1981 to 8.5 million in 2011. Guess who is and who will be paying the bill for these Americans, most of whom will never work again?

The federal deficit was $2.8 trillion in 1989. Thanks mainly to the explosion of growing entitlements for Baby Boomers and some others; the red ink now stands at $18.1 trillion last month … another bi-product of the Baby Boomer generation.

Many Baby Boomers, including those who decried the “Military-Industrial Complex,” became very wealthy during the Internet boom (e.g. Yuppies), buying every McMansion in sight and driving up prices, until (you knew it had to happen) the Bubble burst, and their expensive cars were repossessed.

While markets were recovering, far too many Baby Boomers drove up their plastic debt, and then turned to real estate and refinanced to the max to keep up their spending habits until (once again: you knew it had to happen) … the real estate Bubble burst. Many were left with underwater mortgages … and simply walked away from their houses.

What was left for the Millennials, holding the bag? A rotten economy. Overpriced real estate, transforming the American Dream of home ownership into a pipe dream. Soaring tuition at colleges and universities and with it, $1.2 trillion in cumulative student loan debt.

And when they graduate? Part-time McJobs with no benefits for far too many. And you wonder why the Millennials are mad at the Baby Boomers?

Before going any further, the author of Almost DailyBrett has a confession to make: Yes, I was born in 1955, and am a card-carrying member of the Baby Boomer generation.dinosaur

Does it seem that I am rooting for my own personal demise as more Baby Boomers pass into the abyss every day? Well, no.

Am I embarrassed to be part of this selfish generation and wished it was different, far different? You bet ya.

Will Steven Spielberg, born 1946, serve as the executive director for “Baby Boomer World,” featuring out-of-control, carnivorous, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dinosaurs?

Be afraid, be very afraid.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2015/06/25/millennials-now-outnumber-boomers-census-says/29294241/

http://thoughtcatalog.com/matthew-primeau/2015/01/baby-boomers-ruined-the-world-for-millennials/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gene-marks/this-is-why-the-baby-boom_b_4441735.html

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/a1451/worst-generation-0400/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jmaureenhenderson/2013/11/30/millennials-earn-less-than-their-parents-and-the-recession-isnt-to-blame/

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102410254

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2012/06/generational-decline

http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/on-retirement/2014/05/20/8-differences-between-boomers-and-millennials

http://apps.npr.org/unfit-for-work/

http://www.theonion.com/article/long-awaited-baby-boomer-die-off-to-begin-soon-exp-647

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2013/05/why-the-boomers-are-the-most-hated-generation/276368/

http://home.adelphi.edu/sbloch/deficits.html

There seems to be an ongoing national sport associated with categorizing and contrasting generations.

If you listen to Tom Brokaw, there was “The Greatest Generation” (born 1922-1943) who overcame the Great Depression and Fascism and is now heading for the history books.

Next up were the Baby Boomers (1944-1963) with the defining events of the Kennedy assassination, Vietnam, and Neil Armstrong on the moon. The most mature of this group are now entering their Golden Years.

Behind them are the X-Gens (born 1964-1980), coming to age with the Fall of the Berlin Wall, and now in their prime working years.

Generation Y or the Millennials (born 1980-1999) are now in their high school and college years and supposedly will only take a “yes” for an answer. Reportedly, they are the most educated in history.

And finally, there is Generation Z or the Zeds (born 1995-2009). The acronym “GM” means genetically modified to this generation with the more mature just entering college.

Much has been made about history and the interdependency and clashes between generations (e.g., “Turn that s… off!”), particularly the generational theory work of historians William Strauss and Neil Howe.

But please allow Almost DailyBrett to ask: Is it really this complicated?

digitalimmigrant

Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives

Instead of getting our collective knickers in a twist over generational divides, let’s just focus on the most important divide of all: The difference between Digital Immigrants and Digital Natives.

During the course of the lifespans of Baby Boomers and for the most part, X-Gens, occurred the most important-to-date technological changes.

Bob Noyce (Intel) and/or Jack Kilby (Texas Instruments) invented the integrated circuit in 1959, allowing more than one function to be included on a single piece of silicon.

Gordon Moore promulgated Moore’s Law in 1965, simply stating the amount of complexity that could be incorporated onto a defined slice of silicon real estate doubles every 18-24 months. This law has been accurate for nearly 50 years, and is responsible for more functionality in smaller spaces (e.g., iPhones).

IBM invented the PC and Apple the Mac computer in 1981 and 1984 respectively.

Web 1.0 (websites for surfing) came on the scene in 1990 and Web 2.0 (interconnectivity of wired and wireless computation devices) followed five years later.

First-mover and now all publicly traded social media companies came of age in the last decade-plus: LinkedIn, 2002; Facebook, 2004; and Twitter, 2006.

The point of this discussion is that all or the vast majority of these seminal technology changes came during the lifespans of the Baby Boomers and X-Gens. Under the Diffusion of Innovation Theory, a few will be “innovators”, more will be “early adopters”, even more will be “early majority”, the same amount will be “late majority” and then 16 percent will be bah-humbug, curmudgeon “laggards.”

Alas, many in the Digital Immigrant category fall into the late majority or laggard camps.

Teaching Digital Natives

The challenge lies with Digital Immigrants, whether they be Baby Boomers or X-Gens, teaching Digital Natives, whether they be Millennials/Generation Y or (gasp) Generation Z.

digitalnative

What this means is that Digital Immigrant educators must “get it” when it comes to meaningful technology shifts.

Does that translate into playing “Candy Crush”? Not exactly.

What it does require is daily participation in social media and/or blogging. Whether the good folks at the conventional media outlets like it or not (and in most cases they are kicking and screaming), digital publishing via mobile devices, and in declining cases with a mouse, is now a permanent and irreversible feature of our society.

When it comes to brand and reputation management, one needs to be afraid, very afraid. Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List and others are there to help settle the score. If you are teaching brand management, your Digital Native students need to understand that you get it when it comes to the very fact that reputations can be drastically altered in a matter of seconds.

Only Digital Immigrant innovators, early adopters and early majority denizens can teach the Digital Natives. And that requires keeping pace with the inevitable changes that will occur. Amazon was born 20 years ago. The wildly successful IPO of China’s Alibaba was just this past Friday.

What will be the next killer app and where will it come from?

For Digital Native students, they have their own forms of angst, and they are having their fair share of troubles in finding a job in a stubbornly difficult economy. For them, there is no excuse. They are expected to “get it” when it comes to not only deciphering social, mobile and cloud technologies, but more importantly how to monetize these complex ones-and-zeroes.

It sounds like a mismatch: Digital immigrants, the majority of which did not initially appreciate the technological changes in their lives as they were happening, are mentoring the Digital Natives, who were born seemingly with a video game controller in their hands.digitalnative1

Nonetheless, there are still analog skills (i.e., to-the-point persuasive writing, overcoming Glossophobia, parallel construction, financial communications) that can be communicated to the Digital Natives. After all, Digital Immigrants had to find a job when they graduated too.

Now it’s time for Digital Natives to write their own cover letters, curriculum vitaes and of course, LinkedIn profiles, to compete for the jobs of the 21st Century.

Don’t forget your attachments.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greatest_Generation#The_Greatest_Generation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Brokaw

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strauss%E2%80%93Howe_generational_theory

http://www.techopedia.com/definition/28139/digital-immigrant

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_native

 

“I’m all for progress: It’s change I can’t stand!” – Mark Twain

I keep on thinking of a former client, who would not give up on trying to market a 4.5-hour audio tape in a world of less-than three-minute YouTube videos. She is heading back into the recording studio to make her audio tape even longer.

Will she sell them in cassettes or eight-track tapes?

eighttrack

I reflect on a friend and colleague, who repeatedly states, “I just don’t get this social media stuff.”

He’s unemployed.

And another friend, who refuses to blog to build his personal brand, and reluctantly accepts the power of social media.

He has been unemployed since 2006 with the exception of five months.

There is my incredibly talented artist brother-in-law, who works as a metropolitan county employee just to hold on to his pension that he has already vested. He could make x-times more opening an art studio in a cool ocean-front town and putting out his own shingle.

He sleeps on a neighbor’s couch every night.

And then there is my only sibling, who categorically refuses to accept texts from her boss and colleagues at work. They can email or call her instead.

She is nearing retirement, counting on her pension. Wonder if she is going to be pushed out the door first.

Change Resistant Baby Boomers?

Does age make us more resistant to change? Is this a reason why north of 50-types are struggling in the pronounced economic malaise that started in 2008/2009? And what can they do about it?

All five of these people are extremely bright and capable, and that is the case for literally hundreds of thousands or more. According to political consultant Dick Morris, only 50 percent of working age Americans are employed and 100 million of this same group pay no income taxes.

woodstock

The economy is obviously a factor, but what about those who abhor change and desperately cling to the status quo?

The problem is that change is inevitable. Married people change during the course of their union. Do they manage this change or does the marriage fall apart?

Organizations change, particularly following an acquisition or a merger. You and your job may be just fine for the time being, but the culture has changed. The days of starting in the mail room, working up to the executive suite and retiring with the gold watch are gone forever.

Another key change, and certainly the fastest shift, comes in the form of gadgets, gizmos, bits, bytes, bells and whistles. For the Baby Boomers (born, 1946-1964), they are the last generation in history to come into the world before the true onset of digital technology.

The integrated circuit was invented by Robert Noyce in 1959. The first Baby Boomers entered the workforce in 1964. IBM introduced the PC in 1981. The last Baby Boomers entered the workforce in 1982. Microsoft was founded in 1986. The World Wide Web came online in 1990. The first blogs entered cyberspace in 1997. The first Baby Boomers started to retire in 2011.

Digital Natives

For the Millennials (18-33 years of age) and the X-Gens (34-45), they were born into technology. This will obviously be the case for each and every succeeding generation. For the Baby Boomers, technology was not intuitive. It had to be learned. Technology represented change whether they liked it or not. Obviously many still don’t like it, and many had to be dragged kicking and screaming to a computer screen.

millennials

According to Pew Research, 83 percent of Millennials interact with social media, only 43 percent for Baby Boomers.  The Diffusion of Innovation Curve states that in any population, 2.5 percent are innovators; 13.5 percent, early adopters; 34 percent, early majority; another 34 percent, late majority, and 16 percent are laggards.

I have to conclude with far too many of my Baby Boomer colleagues that they are (being charitable here) in the late majority. For someone trying to market 270 minutes of audio on preventable medicine or a sibling that will not send or accept texts, the word “laggard” or “Luddite” may perfectly apply.

How about obstinate? Resolute? Stubborn? Or maybe a word that is closer to the mark, Fearful?

The last lyrics of the Who’s rock anthem, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” are: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” It very well may not be the old boss. In most cases, it will be a younger boss in a skirt and a blouse, who can detect a technophobe in a matter of nanoseconds. Worse, she or he like a marauding shark can sense fear and hunger. Technophobia, fear and hunger all equate to the kiss of death in landing a job that requires adapting to and managing inevitable change.

It’s time, no it’s past time, to come to terms with change.

http://thepowerofpositiveaging.com/wpress/chapter-excerpts/

http://www.rogerclarke.com/SOS/InnDiff.html

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njonline/no_20100225_3691.php

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