I often hear about generational issues in the workplace and a lot of these issues relate to clashes between Generation X and Millennials. I tried to write about it and had difficulty because I had a lot to say so I decided to divide it into several parts. Here is the first one.
Generation X and Millennials, also known as Generation Y, have many things in common because they grew up in similar times as adjacent generational groups and yet they have many characteristics that are different due to different events that happened or changing trends when they were growing up. Together these similarities and differences can make it difficult for these two groups to get along. Some of these differences are significant factors to the success of their working relationships.
First, let’s look at their generational names. The name Generation X is believed to have come from Coupland’s novel “Generation X”, which described Generation Xers as jaded young adults who decided they did not want to be part of the rat race established by the previous Baby Boomer generation. Generation X entered the workforce questioning authority, respecting knowledge over position, and ready to generate change.
The Millennial generation has a reputation for being open, self-assured, hopeful, well educated, and goal oriented. Millennials are interested in giving back to the community. Most of this generation prefers to be referred to as Millennials rather than their other popular name, Generation Y. The Baby Boomers who came before Generation X were certainly never called Generation W so why should the Generation after them be called Generation Y?
So what’s in a name? As most of us know, a lot.