Gen X vs Millennials — a Baby Boomer perspective

I’ve spent years being infuriated by lazy stereotyping about baby boomers. This is my chance to return the favour. Survivor 33 is going to pit a Millennials team against a Generation X team. My money is on the Millennials. Why?

Here’s a story. My son, born 1982, is an early Millennial. For his tenth birthday we had a party. I set up a treasure hunt, with clues hidden all over our large yard. I expected that to provide twenty minutes or so of entertainment. It didn’t work out that way.

I gave each child a clues sheet. Did they rush off in search of clues like a bunch of frenzied lemmings? No, they did not. A dominant child (not my son) called them all together, and as a group they solved the puzzle, sending delegates off to each location to collect clues. Total time to resolve treasure hunt: five minutes. Pretty impressive effort for a dozen ten year olds.

Gen X though — I’m thinking of some of my ex-work colleagues here. Many were hard working people. Others were incomprehensible. I understood the desire to build collaborative solutions, although the essential requirement for coffee passed me by.

What I couldn’t ever understand was that after interminable discussions aimed at inclusion and making everyone feel good, we still couldn’t get any agreement on the problem, the solution, or any commitment from any individual to actually do anything at all. It was the avoidance of responsibility that drove me crazy.

Time for some new lazy stereotypes then.

Baby boomers: solution orientated, not very interested in whether there is consensus or whether people’s feelings are hurt in the process. Give the impression of being driven and dictatorial as a result.

Gen X: the only goal is that everyone feels good about the process. Solutions may never be reached but who cares? Give the impression of being very low achievers.

Millennials: the best of both worlds, both collaborative and practical.  I’ll back them over Gen X or Baby Boomers any day. I only hope society can live up to their expectations and provide them with the future they deserve.

As for Survivor 33, we’ll have to wait and see.