2016-10-08 / Community

Finding value in generational differences

Zaffie Hadiaris

“Learn what you are and be such.”

– Pindar

We are all unique human beings.

We all want to be treated with respect. Different values, different ideas, different ways of communicating, and different generations have always existed. This is a problem for me, because I am looking for a better understanding of the generations and their titles.

As I was reading the book “Cultivate” by Morag Barrett, I accidentally found an excellent, simple explanation of something that interested me. What is a generation, and what are the stereotypes of each one? This information can spark some enlightening conversations. Let’s investigate with a brief introduction to each of the four generations.

Barrett has exceptional experience ranging from senior executive coaching, to developing high-impact teams and leadership development programs across Europe, America and Asia. She is a sought-after speaker, trainer and the founder of the Skype Team. The titles and descriptions below are from her book. She discusses the implications for the way we live and the power of being part of a specific generation in our lives.

Barrett also notes there are some groups who may be a mix of two generations, referred to as the Cuspers. These are the people who were born in the three-to-five year period that overlap two generations. Cuspers might identify with more than one generation, since their birth years fall near, at the beginning, or at the end of a given range of years. Some identify with two generations and have characteristics of both generations.

The Traditionalists/World War II generation (born between 1922 and 1945) were brought up during a tough economic time. They are sometimes referred to as the Loyal Generation. They were raised with a strict regimen at home and at school. They tend to value job security and hold deep respect for authority.

Because of war rationing and difficulties in their formative years, they are known to be frugal and hard working. Their beliefs about the importance of work and meeting obligations define their careers. They believe in paying cash rather than using credit. They are very different from their children’s generation, the Baby Boomers.

The Baby Boomers generation span the years 1945 through 1964. They grew during times of economic and educational growth, and are often referred to as the Loved Generation.

They attended school in a traditional system and had religious programs available. As they developed into young adults, they faced major social upheaval and change. They bucked the system of traditional gender roles, as scores of women entered the workforce. This generation worked hard and earned well. They embraced the value of sacrifice to get ahead.

They differed from their parents’ generation in that their financial philosophy was to buy now, pay later. With the rise of consumerism and two-income families, the divorce rate grew.

Let’s zoom in on Generation X (1965 through 1980). They consist of the children of the Baby Boomers, and have been nicknamed the Lost Generation. They were latchkey children who watched their parents forge a new work environment.

They are said to have inherited the “social debris” of the Boomers, with self-absorbed, often divorced parents, which resulted in single-parent, single-income families that had difficulties paying their expenses in the face of growing national debt and failed corporations. Generation X-ers have learned there is no such thing as job security. They were the first generation to grow up with computer technology.

Then there are the Millennials (1981 through 2000). They are the most educated, technologically sophisticated generation ever. They grew up in a world of computers, the Internet and cell phones – they are entrenched in technology. They value a balanced lifestyle.

— Zaffie Hadiaris of Saco is the host of “Zaffie,” a weekly television talk show on Channel 3 Biddeford public access. It can also be seen at biddefordmaine.org. Contact her at zhadiaris@hotmail.com.

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