Gen X Redux?

Good Morning Joe,

Lately, I’ve been wondering how the current times are going to shape the generation of children growing up today. According to the Tammy Erickson’s model of the generations, it is the events that occur during you formative teen years that shape the lasting values and perceptions of a generation. So, that makes me curious as to how this current generation of kids are making sense of what’s happening around them and how that might shape their world view.

Generation Y has been thought of as the confident, gregarious generation which stems from the fact that this generation grew up in mostly unprecendented positive times. Gen X on the other hand is know to be skeptical and even cynical, based on the fact that the world was seemingly coming unraveled as they grew up (government scandal, corporate downsizings, soaring divorce rates, etc.). So, what about this next group?

What I have been wondering lately is if we aren’t creating a second wave of kids who may share some Gen X characteristics. I present to you this evidence:

  • Our current economic recession and hardships are directly related to the greed and arrogance of corporate giants.
  • After a number of years of a job market where there were good jobs if you wanted one, things have turned. We’ve been reminded of what layoffs and downsizings feel like. Everyone knows someone who has been impacted.
  • We see reports each day soldiers coming home dead from Iraq from a war that was started based on inaccurate intelligence and a President who lied to the American people about it in order to justify going to war in teh first place.

These data points among others lead to an environment that sounds and feels much like the world that our Gen X brothers and sisters grew up in. Could it be that another “trust no one” generation is in the making?


1 comment

  1. Hello Jason – Not sure if you're looking for comments in this ongoing discussion, but there is this "Post a Comment" thing at the bottom so I'll indulge myself this morning.

    I've also noticed the similarities between now and the late 70's/early 80's that spawned me and my Gen X brethren. The interesting thing to me will be the impact of social media tools and easy access to information as mitigating factors in the development of social callouses among the young folks watching this world morph.

    In many ways I am the poster child for Gen X Nihilism – My parents divorced when I was 10 and my dad lost his job when I was 15 and was unemployed for several years. My home town's economy was decimated by the shift away from manufacturing. I can distinctly remember craving a better way to investigate and understand just what the Hell was going on around me. There wasn't a way for the masses to easily access information that wasn't canned, mass media BS or completely stale. Remember how exciting and cleansing it was back then to find an edgy magazine that actually addressed issues? Remember SPIN's coverage of the emerging AIDS crisis – it felt almost illicit to read such stuff.

    My hope would be that the ability for everyone to achieve context as they watch things play out will help blunt the negative force of our current Zeitgeist. I know it would have helped me out back then. Whether or not people want context is another topic.

    Thanks for raising fists and fighting the good fight.


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