There appears to be a lot of white elephants in the room these days, none bigger than a generation gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials.
On this day last year I posted an article asking, “Are Generational Differences Turning From A Gap Into A Chasm?” Today I read two articles that reveals the gap is still a very real issue that few organizations are addressing adequately.
In one corner we have Steve Israel representing the Baby Boomers. Steve posted an article titled “Millennials vs. Boomers: You twerps owe us everything.” That about says it all.
If it weren't for us baby boomers, most of you wouldn't be here. Literally.
We are your parents. You sprung from our wombs, from our love.
We don't just deserve your respect; we deserve your eternal gratitude — for the food you ate, for the clothes you wore, for the roofs over your heads. By the way, we're still giving food, clothes and roofs to the more than 10 million of you who still live in our homes.
And what have you millennials — the 50 million Americans born between 1980 and 1995 who are becoming adults at the start of this new millennium — given us?
Nada — except the smug expectation that we should give you more.
How ungrateful can you be?
In the other corner is Millennial (aka Gen Y) Timothy Malcolm. Timothy has quite a different opinion. He urges Baby Boomers to “Give up the reins, you geezers.”
The main reason we 20-somethings still sleep at mom's house is because mom and dad won't get out of the work force. They're clogging the pipeline.
Baby boomers make up the largest generation in American history. The current 20-something generation is almost as large, ironically, thanks to the boomers having all those kids.
Because of improvements in health care, boomers are not only living longer, but they're subjected to the salacious whispers that, yes, even in old age, they can remain vital! They can keep working, climb mountains, row boats and — gasp — have sex! Think about Lucy and Ricky or Archie and Edith cavorting in beachside bathtubs. Yeah, it is ridiculous.
Sure, we 20-somethings have some ridiculous traits, too. We waste time on Facebook, but as one of the original users, I've seen the boomers completely ruin that social networking site. Our music might be hard to understand, but at least I can't take credit for Cher. And, seriously, when are the Who going to stop?
Timothy concludes his article with “So stop wasting our generation's chance. And stop wasting our country's possibilities.”
So far, the first round of the attitude gap between Baby Boomers and Millennials has been subdued and mostly a war of words. But as the recession lingers on and Gen Y joblessness remains high, one can only wonder if the resentment building up will boil over in a full fledged battle.
Round two anyone?
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Gina – I agree. In fact, one of the opening slides in my presentation on Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization identifies similarities between the generations in hopes of setting the tone for the understanding different worldviews – none of them right or wrong, just different.
Neither side should feel entitled. The boomers will need to rely on their children to care for them one day soon. The millennials can learn a lot from the boomers. Stop focusing on the differences and find the common ground to work together. Less focus on age and more focus on the right person for the role.
Once again us Generation X’ers are left out. Sigh.
Funny, but very true. Great post Ira.