Generational Characteristics

In the last few weeks I have been reading “The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace” by Lynne Lancaster and David Stillman.

The following are some notes from my reading about the generational characteristics.

Traditionalists (born before 1945)

Major events/influences: Great Depression, WWI and II, Korean War.

  • Loyal
  • Patriotic
  • Disciplined and work ethics
  • Deferred gratification – Waste not, want not
  • One company career
  • Respect for authority
  • Top down approach

Baby Boomers (Born 1946-1964)

Major events/influences: Cold War, Vietnam, human rights, women’s rights, gay rights, drugs, sex and Rock ‘n Roll, Suburbia, TV.

  • Idealistic
  • Optimistic
  • Competitive
  • Question authority
  • Big brands

Generation X (born 1965-1980)

Major events/influences: Both parents working, home alone, latch-key children, high divorce rate, Sesame street, MTV, Game Boy, PC.

  • Entrepreneurial spirit and creative
  • Self-reliant
  • Work well individually
  • Instant gratification
  • Flexible
  • Skeptic
  • Highly adaptive to change and technology
  • Unimpressed by status
  • Work-life balance
  • Not one job with one company
  • Practical
  • Fun
  • Accepting different lifestyles, roles and cultures
  • Anti-brands

Generation Y / Millennials (Born 1981-2000)

Major events/influences: expanded technology, social media,  diversity, globalization, grow up in a very child-focued, structured and over planned world, single parenting.

  • Close relationship with parents
  • Collaborative and team oriented
  • Globally concerned
  • Environmentally sensitive
  • Realistic
  • Tech-savvy, creative and innovative
  • Multi-tasking
  • Instant communication and feedback
  • Can-do attitude
  • Self-indulgent, entitled
  • Personal fulfillment
  • Diverse and inclusive
  • Used to have a voice and a choice
  • Create your own brand

3 Responses

  1. Having read this I thought it was rather
    enlightening. I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this information together.
    I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting comments.

    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

  2. Qin: Thank you for the post. I have written a book, Corporate Ladder 101: How to Excel as a New Business Professional, that is specifically for the Millennials. You may be interested in reading a few sample chapters at My first chapter, entitled “And The Award Goes To…,” speaks directly to the need to overcome the impression that many employers have of this generation. That is that they feel entitled, should receive a trophy just by showing up, etc. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

    Charlie Lambert

  3. thomas s

    do you ever read anything other than than the latest pop sociology/psychology offerings? after all, there are books out there that can help one think, really think deeply about public policy, sociology, economics, demographics, ethics, science and so forth. not to mention the paradoxes, the riddles, the triumphs and tragedies of human existence. it wouldn’t be hard to put together a bibliography of books of this type (e.g. books by the late Christopher Lasch,the great dialogs of Plato, Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. and many, many more).

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