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All Millennials Are NOT Alike

The decision to write my latest book, The Baby Boomer/Millennial Divide:  Making it Work at Work, came after returning to the job market as a woman over 50.  I went into culture shock momentarily after finding myself working side-by-side with people young enough to be my daughter.  As someone who comes from the "old school" ways of doing things and a low tolerance for nonsense and foolishness, I had to learn to adapt to the new reality:  Millennials have arrived and if I wanted to stay in the job market I had work with them.

Much to my surprise, my younger co-workers have been a breath of fresh air.  They have made me laugh and taught me skills to help me improve my own job performance.  As I continue to study them, I have come to a very clear conclusion:


All of the research and data indicates this Gen Y group is made up of job hoppers who don't like the business as usual mentality, they're very creative, independent thinkers, tech savvy and obsessed with social media. Younger Millennials would probably agree, however, older Millennials are quite different and the difference in their ages has everything to do with it.  Take Facebook, for example, which was created in 2004 as a way to connect college students.  It has certainly been embraced by practically all of them but Snapchat, on the other hand, wasn't created until 2011 and some older Millennials don't view the app as having any real significant value for them.

According to the US Census Bureau, the Millennial generation is made up of young people who were born between 1982 and 2000.  The more I think about this---the more I realize it's got to be impossible for this entire Gen Y group to identify with each other.  Think about it.  The youngest Millennial is 17. The oldest is 34. There is no way these two age groups have lived or shared the same experiences.  For example, the youngest Millennials were babies when 9/11 hit in 2001, while the older of the group were college age.  Older Millennials lived through the recession, while the younger group is dealing with the result of it.  Everyone was worried about the Y2K bug in 2000, while the majority of younger Millennials probably have no clue of what the worry was all about. And if you take it one step further, you'll find the differences may be even greater when you separate Millennials by ethnicity.

My daughter is a Millennial, born in the late 80's.  During her high school years, Facebook was a fad but when she went to college and became serious about wanting to have a career she, very wisely, (and through my coaxing) shut down her account once she understood the ramifications of her posts or those of her friends.  She is also more settled with her own place, her own bills and a son to raise. Unlike some white Millennials in her age group, her responsibilities keep her from living a "care-free" "live in the moment" lifestyle and jet-setting off with friends whenever she pleases.  

As a baby boomer, I also take issue with the "lumping" together of the so-called greatest generation. I share little, if anything with folks born in the early 1950s or late 1940s but we have been identified as baby boomers born between 1946 - 1964.

The problem is, so-called experts, put labels on people and groups based on race, age, sex, etc.  Then they create data based on research which, may or may not be totally accurate. (And some of them get paid very well to do it).

The bottom line is no entire generation is alike so don't buy into the hype.


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