Xennial Generation? No Thanks.
Look, if you’re anything like me, you want to fit in. You want to be a part of a group, you want to feel connected with the people around you, and you want to belong.
Am I doing OK so far?
If yes, great. If not, the rest of this isn’t for you.
Seeing as we agree up to this point, I’m going to guess you probably don’t really identify with half of the negative generalizations or stereotypes of your generation.
Allow me to shoot myself in the foot and give you an example of my perceived generalizations as a Millennial.
I’m a Millennial which (to some) means:
- I love Netflix
- Hate gluten
- Love avocados
- Can’t manage my money
- Live in my parent’s basement
- Am addicted to my phone
- Spew motivational quotes and photos like they’re going out of style
- Can’t (or choose not to) hold a job
- Am narcissistic
… you get the point.
Now, if you’re Generation X, and we flip the conversation to talk about what you’re great at.
You are (probably, according to gross generalizations):
- Technologically savvy
- FlexibleGood at multitasking
- Have experience in the job you are doing
- You’re loyal
- You’re a hard worker
After reflecting on these generalizations (like most), I think we can agree that these positive and negative qualities aren’t isolated to the generation we default to think they represent. Sure, in some cases you might know people that exemplify the above, but to assume such significant traits and qualities about people is quite frankly dangerous.
Yet here we are, in the middle of 2017, and a new ‘micro-generation’ is born. The Xennial. A generation made up of those who don’t identify as a Millennial or a Gen Xer. According to Bob Al-Greene, if you’re a Xennial, you are the following:
IMAGE: BOB AL-GREENE/MASHABLE
Problem? Well yeah, the whole thing.
When we add yet another label to the entire population born between ’77-’83 (over 25 million people in the US alone), we assume we know what the value, want, need, and expect.
We just know what TV shows, music, and technology they grew up with. If we wanted to understand them better, we’d bring them together based on who they were, not how old they are.
Take my good friend David Allison for example. Last year he conducted 40,000 surveys across North America to see if age really matters anymore. Do people act their age? The answer was conclusive. No. And there’s proof: all the Baby Boomers in his study only agree on the answers to over 340 questions about what they want, need and expect out of life. Baby Boomers don’t resemble each other at all! And neither do millennials or any other age-based group. More importantly, his data showed that people with the same values agree with each other on everything 89% of the time. That’s a 700% improvement.
It isn’t this new generation either. Personally, I don’t identify as a Millennial. I’m simply an individual that has a certain set of values, wants, need, and expectations just like you. I’m someone who carries my age as a number that, when younger, either allowed me or prohibited me from doing certain things (driving, drinking, gambling, etc.). After that, its just a number.
So if you’re feeling a little off about this whole generational classification system that we’ve conjured up so that we can make a few headlines and get a few likes, you’re not alone. And if you want to find people that you’re really get along with, know that age is only a very small factor that indicates whether you might have a similar value set and get along.
As for the Xennial generation (like every other one) articles, I suggest we skim right past the headlines and focus on something a little more productive.