Gen X, Gen Y, Baby Boomers – real differences, or just another excuse to stereotype people?
We’ve all heard lots about the different generations and how they differ from each other. All sorts of theories abound, how to market to different generations, how to manage them at work etc.
Is there any basis to these theories, or is it just a fad? There is some logic to assuming that major life events (world wars, the great depression) would have a lasting impact on people that experienced them, and probably influence their future behaviour. However, it is very easy to slip into stereotyping people, ‘ oh, he’s young, he won’t be interested in teamwork, he’ll be looking to move on soon, because that’s what Gen Z does’.
That’s not so far from ‘oh, she’s a woman, she’ll be having babies soon’ or ‘he’s Asian, he’ll be really good at Maths’. Maybe ‘generation-ism’ will be the next type of discrimination to be banned by the Human Rights Commission? My advice – treat everyone as an individual and don’t make assumptions about their capabilities or career aspirations. No lazy thinking!
by Marianne Wilkinson