Let's Talk Generations

Environment and experiences help shape personality, so it makes sense to think that a person who grew up during the time of John F. Kennedy will have a different worldview than those who lived during the Gulf War or those who endured the effects of the massive 2008 Wall Street crash firsthand. With workplaces today becoming more diverse than ever before, it has become quite normal to see people with these different views converge, connect, collaborate, and communicate in one location. Every Person tries to have a different personal branding at a workplace.

Many workplaces today carry employees spanning four and even five different generations. There are the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Gen Xers (1965-1984), Xennials (1977-1985), Millennials (1981-1997), and iGen (1995-2012). All these different generations have different qualities to offer to the modern work environment, and it helps to know what these qualities are, so you'll be better equipped to handle situations and interactions with them. Below are the general personalities of each generation towards work and career.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers grew up in the time of civil rights and women's movements, the assassinations of JFK and MLK, and the Vietnam War. They are known as the Flower Children, becoming the generation who spent more than they saved. Not that saving mattered much since theirs was a time of prosperity when most people had two cars and plenty of disposable income. At work, Baby Boomers are:

  • Hardworking
  • Competitive
  • Goal-oriented

Baby Boomers are motivated by prestige, position, and perks. They are confident, self-reliant, and very opinionated. They enjoy confrontations and are not afraid to challenge authorities and established practices. They entered the workforce at a time of significant expansion and change, and they always bring with them their competitiveness and hardworking nature.

Gen X

Generation X currently accounts for both the largest generation in the workforce and the highest level of education in the US. Gen Xers are hardworking and competitive just like the generation that came before them. However, they don't see their lives dominated by their professions as Baby Boomers do. By nature, Gen Xers are:

  • Individualistic
  • Flexible
  • Consider work/life balance a top priority

Gen Xers work to live, but that doesn't mean they're lazy. On the contrary, they work hard to ensure they savor the fruits of their labor. While they are known to inject humor and fun in the workplace, they know when to get serious and down to business.


Xennials represent a generation of people that can't entirely relate to what came before and after them. They were the last generation to enjoy the widespread use cassette tapes, and landlines, and the first ones to grow up with household computers and Internet. They didn't have cell phones until they were in their 20s. As the micro-generation that somehow doesn't fit anywhere, Xennials are identified as:

  • Results-oriented
  • Entrepreneurial
  • Adept

First recognized as a completely distinct generation back in 2014, Xennials come with the best of both worlds, combining the work hard/play hard mentality of Gen Xers with the technological savvy of Millennials. As early users of all the new technologies available today, Xennials are flexible, adaptive, and great at multitasking.


Perhaps the generation with the worst reputation of all, Millennials have been unfairly vilified as lazy, self-entitled, and narcissistic. The truth is, Millennials work just as hard as the generations before them. Study upon study has revealed that there's very little difference between Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials in terms of workplace attitudes. That said, much of the bad rep that this generation gets can be attributed to a lot of economic, environmental, and societal problems that they have faced, including the Great Recession, global terrorism, student loan debt crisis, an influx of cheap labor, among others. But despite these impactful issues, Millennials at work still manage to be:

  • Motivated
  • Innovative
  • Efficient

Millennials grew up alongside technology, which means they are used to simplifying work, so what you view as laziness may actually be a more efficient way of getting the job done. They are also constantly looking for the next best thing, which can spur innovation and inventiveness-two qualities that are ideal to have for a company seeking growth.
Here are 10 Best jobs for millennial in 2018.


Born between 1995 and 2012, the first batch of iGen college graduates are just recently entering the workforce. The good news is that iGeners have been found to value work more than the first Millennials out of college-a national survey on iGeners showed that they were willing to work overtime, would work even if they already had a lot of savings, and expect work to be a major part of their lives. Experts suggest that experiencing the Great Recession as children and witnessing the growing income inequality maybe two of the primary reasons for the prevalence of this mentality in iGeners. On the downside, iGeners lack the self-confidence of their predecessors and are less likely to take risks. As for their work ethics, they predominantly display the following characteristics:

  • Practical
  • Cautious
  • Focused on outcomes

Their aversion to risk makes iGeners prefer a nice, stable job where they can feel safe and financially secure. All these traits are good for business because that means employers will have new workers that are eager to succeed from the get-go and more willing to work hard.

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Each of these generations has a different set of skills that they can bring to the workplace, which is often reflective of their personal values and characteristics. Employers and co-employees alike shouldn't see these different work attitudes as problematic. On the contrary, there are approaches that can help one to exploit each generation's uniqueness and help get the most from their teams.

Which generation do you belong to? Do you agree with the assessments listed here about you and your peers? Do you find the observations about other generations on point? If you belong to a workforce hampered by generation gaps, getting individuals from each generation to support and train one another can be an effective way to bridge the gap between groups and form a more open line of communication. Learn to view the differences as strengths and draw from their good qualities.
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