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Generation ‘X’, ‘Y’ , ‘Z’ and What Next?

The present generations are referred to as generation – X/Y/Z because we know little about these generations. Actually, the ‘generation who were reached adulthood in the 1990s that are strikingly different from the families their parents were raised.’  This label of generation is defined by their shared birth years and significant life events. There are inconsistencies as to what exact years to use to classify the generations. There is less agreement as to what the birth years of Gen X, Y & Z are. Roughly, those who born in the mid 1960s and extend until 1975, and end in 1982 are Gen X years. ‘As for Gen Y, considering they follow Gen X, their generation beginning year also tends to vary ranging from 1978 to 2000.’Due to the extensive periods of time, Gen X happened to spend alone or without parental supervision, they found support among their peers who were undergoing similar experiences. As a result, they built strong networks of friends which were often preferred over their family relations. Therefore, a label that fittingly applies to Gen X is “independent.”  We find that many had to face and solve their own problems as children. The Gen X cohort was confident to make decisions for themselves. ‘Having had, what some might call “self-centered” and “workaholic” parents, Gen X members learned to be pragmatic, self-reliant, and adaptive to change. Assuming that they want to avoid the same “latchkey” lifestyle for their children, Gen X members are more likely to focus on family and quality of life, rather than exerting their efforts in their careers. ’The importance of work may be the single most distinguishing workplace value of the Gen X cohort. Thus, work is not the most important part of their lives as it had been for Baby Boomers and other previous generations. ‘Yet it would be incorrect to assume that a decline in the importance of work is equivalent to a decrease in the willingness to work hard. This generation felt strong that an indication of one’s worth was in how hard they worked.’ ‘Gen X was more likely to feel that one should work hard, even when not being supervised. Moreover, Gen X-ers wants to work toward their own goals at the same time as they work towards their organizational goals. ‘This may be an indication that Gen X is not solely ‘me’ oriented, but they seek to find a good balance between doing a good job and maximizing their own individual goals. Again, this is where one sees the independent characteristic in which Gen X wants to participate in decisions that affect them. In the workplace, Gen X expects and often demands to have a say on issue that may affect their lives.’

The Gen Y cohorts are those born between 1978 and 1990. They have initiated a spur of interest in many with their new set of rules and unique characteristics. The Chief feature of the Gen Y that this generation was ‘born into a home where both parents worked, compared to the Gen X cohort, Gen Y members not only had the support from their parents, but also had established infrastructures such as childcare, preschool, and after school programs.’ As a result, from their childhood years, ‘Gen Y has lived highly structured and scheduled lives with many extracurricular activities such as soccer camps to piano lessons.’ The Gen Y members seem to be relatively family-oriented, open-minded in that they tend to ‘overlook differences among people and treat everyone the same, deeply committed to authenticity and truth-telling, extremely stressed, and believe to live in a “no-boundaries” world where they make short-term decisions and expect the outcomes to be rather grandiose. ‘Yet, it is no surprise that this generation has such large expectations, considering that their technological sophistication allows Gen Y members to consider the world a smaller, diverse, highly-networked environment, with pretty much everything at the tip off their fingers. ‘While some believe that the new and improved technological methods of communication used by Gen Y give this generational cohort the characteristics of authenticity, authorship, and autonomy, others believe that those same methods make this generation to be disloyal, anxious, and disrespectful.’ With such ‘a variation in traits and characteristics this generation portrays, it is suspected.’ Gen Y has been entering the workforce since 1998 and will continue to do so in rather large masses. ‘More specifically, Gen Y is a cohort that ranks at the top in many areas such as being the most affluent, educated, and diverse. What is noteworthy is the work ethic of this generation; they prefer a fun working environment, non-monetary perks as well as flexible hours are important. ’Further, they foster a “team” mentality, and the ‘environment is important for this generation because it provides a sense of acceptance and belonging-ness’. ‘Most importantly though these sociable, confident, optimistic, talented, well-educated, collaborative, open-minded, and achievement-oriented members of this generation are joining organizations in hefty numbers just as talent and skill shortages are surfacing in a number of organizations.’

Those who are born after 1990 may be considered as Gen ‘Z’. This Gen ‘Z’ is basically single parent child. They have born in a globalized society where this globalization has brought changes in family life(structure and process),  economic circumstances, gender roles, marital relationship. This Gen ‘Z’ is prone to build up their relations with materials world because human relation, especially family network of relation is narrowed and truncated. They are the convent educated (in India) and tech savvies. They prefer to stay in relation with the virtual world. They prefer more to converse in foreign language (English) than their mother’s tongue. Their education is career oriented because management of lifestyle is prior to them than values. From their infancy, they have to reach of goal set by others. Firstly, their parents set their target. At the workplace, they work to reach their employers’ target. Since their childhood, they have had to compete with some others. Therefore, they show delinquent behavior. They involve in early sexual relations, passing time outside family.

We find that Gen ‘X’, ‘Y’ & ‘Z’ have their own generational characteristics through their lives. So, how long they would be considered as unknown when we get clear pictures about them. There is need of clear term of these generations. Due to the changing pattern of upbringing process of these generations, there are so many unrests in our society. Last of all, if we use to consider these generations as Gen ‘X’, ‘Y’ & ‘Z’, what would assumption for next?

The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by Harasankar

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