Core Values of Baby Boomers


Core Values of Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials
History remembers a lot of generations. Lost Generation created a lot of of well-known writers, such as Ernest Hemingway, Erich Maria Remarque, Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald, Thomas Clayton Wolfe, who were born in 1883-1900s and came of age in a period between two world wars, described it later in their works. The early 1900s were a birth for G.I. Generation (or The Greatest Generation) of Americans, who grew up during The Great Depression and who fought in World War II. The next demographic cohort was the Silent Generation, which arose during the period from the mid-1920s to the early-to-mid 1940s and tried to conform to social norms, not focusing on civil rights and activism. The following generations, baby boomers, Gen X, and millennials, make up almost all current population of the USA. That is why it makes sense to go over them intently and found out their core values in the historical context.
Baby boomers are supposed to be one of the largest and the most influential generation in US history, which represented 40% of the population. There were more than 76 000 000 people, who were born during the post-World War II period between 1946 and 1964.
The rapid increase of population was caused by ending of World War II and returning home 10,6 million US soldiers. They were eager to start a family, because compared to the soldiers, who received $60 after World War I, they got the G. I. Bill. G.I. means government issue, which gave the veterans an ability to attend college and buy a house.
70% is a percentage of disposable income, controlled by baby boomers in America today. However, according to Pew Research Center, in 2028 the number of millennials will exceed baby boomers. (Fry, 2018)
Baby boomers tried to make the USA free and prosperous. They fought against social, economic, and political inequality, supported African-Americans, American Indians, Hispanics, sexual freedom, gender equality. There were organized a lot of massive demonstrations and movements in 1960-80s, such as second-wave feminism, the sexual revolution, hippies and so on. Baby boomers gave the next generation, Gen X, the cultural freedom they enjoyed.
The term “Generation X” was popularized by a novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture, written by Douglas Coupland in 1991. The novel describes fear and anxiety of people, who were born in 1960-1965 and did not feel the connection with the cultural idols of the previous generation.
Generation X took shape, affected by the end of Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the AIDS epidemic, divorce increase. It was the first generation, which did not do as well financially, as their parents. (McKernan, 2017) These are people, who were born from the early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s.
It was the first generation of “latchkey” kids, who had to take care of themselves very early, attending daycare, having divorced or working parents. It is also characterized as a highly educated, independent generation with a high level of skepticism and pragmatism, which is not surprising, considering the period of time. Sometimes Gen X is called “lost.”
Millennials, or so-called “Generation Y,” are optimistic for the reason they were born in the 1900s and did not know total wars or economic depression. This generation is the most technologically-centered, consequently the Zeds will also be the most empowered.
By the end of the 20th century, moral norms were also changed. According to the results of the research by Mark McCrindle, “the younger the generations, the less likely they are to believe ‘there are definitely some moral absolutes’: 70 percent of Builders agree there are moral absolutes, compared to 63.5 percent of Boomers, 54.5 percent of X-ers and 53.8 percent of Y-ers.” (2011)
Phyllis Haserot in her book You Cant Google It!: the Compelling Case for Cross-Generational Conversation at Work researched work fears of baby boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials. Baby boomers, being idealistic, want to stay valuable, but are afraid of younger employees, who are aware of technological novelty. More flexible Gen Xers fear not to have enough support from boomers or millennials and enough time for their private lives. Ambitious millennials try to understand previous generations’ values and make relationships with them better. But they are afraid to fail and not to come to the older colleagues’ expectations.
In conclusion, Haserot remarked: “Some people dwell on the differences among the generations in the workplace and see them as obstacles to productivity and serenity. Others ignore the differences or deny that they are real, saying that we all are individuals who can’t be categorized. The observed truth lies somewhere in between. We do need to regard each person as an individual, avoid stereotyping and remember that not all behavior is derived from generational factors.” (2018)
During the last century, there were a couple of generation with totally different views of life, core values, moods, and goals. They grew under the influence of various historical events and difficulties. However, it does not mean, that people of one generation had the same characters and did not understand the following generations. A person should be accepted as individuality and not as a part of some decades.