The Baby Boomers and the Millennials are two special generations. Their influence is worthy of evaluation especially because it is likely you will be interacting with both groups in some way in your daily life. Whether you work for a Baby Boomer or you’re trying to have a positive relationship with your kids (or grandkids), the trends and ideologies of these two groups of people are driving our social and economic structure. Why? The Numbers – 82 million Millennials (born 1981 to 2001) and 77 million Boomers (born 1946 to 1964).
Baby Boomers were the generation that pushed revolutionary ideas in marriage, relationships, civil rights and social commentary. Millennials are the first generation to have computers in the home and classrooms, to have cell phones, instant messaging and hundreds of cable channels. The ease at which they use technology is the greatest difference between Millennials and every other generation.
Millennials have grown up very structured with very little free time. 60 Minutes stated that “It’s a generation in which rules seemed to have replaced rebellion, convention winning out over individualism and values are very traditional.” Confident and open to change, Millennials are on track to be the most educated generation in America. Most millennials have Boomers as Parents.
How do each see the world? Boomers are confident in themselves but have less faith in authority – Millennials are more trustworthy of authority and less of individuals - perhaps due to over-protective parents or terrorism. Boomers want a prestigious job title while Millennials want meaningful work. Boomers had controlling parents while Millennials had intrusive, hovering parents. Boomers were indulged as children while Millennials were protected. Boomers want freedom of expression while Millennials want structure and accountability. Boomers resent oppression and want to attack it but Millennials crave community and social networks. Lastly, Boomers want to know what it all “means” while Millennials are curious to know how to “build” it to change the “wrong” in the world.
At the core of these differences is the huge potential energy within the Millennials for achievement and the massive potential of the Boomers to mentor that energy. Communication is the key.
To understand the uniqueness and similarities of these two groups of people, is to know how to succeed with your message. Whether you are a business focusing marketing efforts for your product or service or just a person interacting at a social event, to understand the differences and similarities of these generations is to appreciate what is driving our society today.