This Week’s Modern Perspective…On Generational Labels

Recently, we have “discovered” a new micro-generation between the Gen X and Millennial generations called the Xennials. To be perfectly honest, a part of me rolled my eyes at this latest bit of research.

It seems that generational pundits are more about making sure everyone feels they perfectly belong under some label. All this seems to accomplish is people searching for more reasons why they don’t fall perfectly under any of the labels. The topic of generations feels like a personality test on Buzzfeed — pick the images that best represent you in a series of questions and it will spit out what generation you really are. The science is becoming twisted towards endless description of the qualities that make up the generation, rather than making a concrete contribution towards identifying useful implications of the data.

Are generational labels just the latest way for marketers to target niches? Are they the latest and greatest version of a personality test, where we try to find a home for our complex selves?

In these past five years, generational science has been a useful starting point for me to:

  • Compare and contrast leaps in mindsets between generations
  • Gain a more comprehensive understanding of the present reality we are facing rather than only be guided by the past
  • And consciously integrate the best mindsets to create the future.

Generational science has been the starting point for me, but the end game has always been designing the future of work.

How about you? What do you find useful and not so useful about the way we talk about generational science today? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!