There are a lot of ways to classify us, humans – skin color, level of income, education, hobbies and, certainly, age. In daily life we rarely associate ourselves with a certain generation, heaps of people that have been born in a certain historical period and possess their own distinguishing characteristics, unless it is the case when are in anguish at the irresponsibility of teenagers and the conservatism of parents. Actually, most generations are not much different from each other, as a matter of fact, every single one of them is a logical continuation of their predecessors. For starters, let’s puzzle out the issue regarding our current surroundings and who we are from the theoretical point of view.
In 1991, American researchers Neil Howe and William Strauss developed the theory of generations that rapidly gained popularity. Nowadays, it is frequently used by business for the purpose of understanding the values and milestones of different consumer groups, and by researchers in order to determine trends of human development.
Generation X or the “Fighters”
The gradation of generations based on the last letters of the English alphabet begins with the letter X. This tag has been put on the children of baby boomers in the U.S. “X” stands for the uncertainty regarding the destiny of the descendants of those ordinary Americans who experienced the economic crises, wars, unemployment and stagnation of the late 60’s and early 70’s. They were born in the period from the mid-60’s to the beginning of the 70’s and those children certainly came out differently than their parents. These people haven’t followed the general rule of “it has to be done» and began forming their own value systems where the main priority always being in a profitable business, material wealth and anything else that is associated, in one way or another, with the term “American dream”. The representatives of the X generation are rather creative, but at the same time these people preserve the remnants of conservatism. They are the young and successful businessmen that make frequent appearances in the Forbes rankings, promising employees of the public sector designated to become ministers, workaholics who are willing to work for the same company throughout the decades.
Generation Y or the “Philosophers”
These people would dare to quit their well-paid jobs because they didn’t get an extra leave while it is so urgent for them to chill out for a few days by the sea. They are skeptical about politics, but are willing to participate in street protests for ideological reasons; they help the socially deprived and are the vanguard of the modern volunteer movement. This generation denies the values and rules of seniors while considering parents their best friends. They marry late in life and only when the time is right. Up until 35 years of age, they are engaged in soul-searching and defining their role in life and the desire to be useful to the world and society. “Millenniums” were born near the end of 20th century and they’ve got a difficult task which is to prove to the elders that money doesn’t make the world go round. They’ve been raised with the firm belief that they are the best and the most creative, therefore, “millenniums” sometimes tend to be overly ambitious and presumptuous. In spite of this, they are the current prime target of headhunters. The philosophizing Y’s are able to work round the clock, completing an enormous amount of tasks in a swift and efficient fashion. Although, afterwards they can drop everything and travel to an exotic country in search of the self.
The Y balance
It is obvious, that nowadays the “millenniums” are the most balanced of all people on the planet. Most of them, having neglected the conventions and expectations of parents, chose careers that blend harmoniously with their personal values and interests. These are the countless groups of freelancers and independent artists, the regular guests of inexpensive youth hostels around the world, who respects both the classics and avant-garde. Unlike their predecessors and, perhaps, descendants, they are equally concerned about their inner world and the surrounding reality. Now is the time when the young people have a unique opportunity of not only wishing for harmony but actually finding it.
Generation Z or the “Globalists”
Children that were born after the year 2000 are astounding us with their rapid development, slightly cosmic perception of the world and the absence of any boundaries in virtual communication. The modern day teenagers are often called the N (Internet) generation. These young people are difficult to control; they renounce any authority and are always eager to express their own opinion. Money-making is far from being at the top of their priorities. According to predictions of sociologists, they would become the lowest paid generation of the last century, ensuring the emergence of a large and rather poor middle class. These young people will be very much alike in both psychological and cultural aspects. Even now the “globalists” have a better understanding of technology than human emotions and relationships. They shut off themselves from parents and often lack any emotional connection with relatives. Skeptics point out that their prime interest is their reputation among other Internet users while a career and serious plans for the future is insignificant. The notion of responsibility is as remote for them as maturity. Nevertheless, it is too soon to make a diagnosis on Generation Z since the eldest of them are still of minor age.
Back to the future
The above-described classification is appealing due to its consistent patterns that serve as the basis for the development programs, composed by the giants of global industry, for the years to come. For instance, this theory suggests that young people from group Y are very congenial to the generation GI (the U.S. army personnel – editorial comment) that was born at the beginning of the 20th century. This “generation of winners” had been brought up amid revolution, the Great Depression and the First World War. The latter one, Generation Z, already has all the features of the “Silent Generation” (the period of the Second World War, repressions in the Soviet Union, epoch-making discoveries in medicine and science). Researchers believe that the generational change is cyclical and resembles the sequence of the seasons. In this case every fourth generation possesses the features of the first one. It means that modern teenagers may eventually become loyal, honest, law-abiding, patient and respectful towards people with higher positions and status, in other words, completely opposite to their current image. The Howe and Strauss theory allows us to assert that the alternation of generations bears an harmonious and balanced foundation. As a matter of fact, the baby boomers, fighters, philosophers and globalists happily coexist on this planet all at the same time. This means that all generations have much more in common than generally believed.
Contrary to the predictions of sociologists, young people are becoming more skeptical of technological progress. According to research agencies Voxburner and YouGov, the overwhelming majority among 1,500 respondents, representing English youth aged 18 to 24 years, admits that they waste too much time on their mobile phones instead of devoting it to real-life communication with family and friends. The survey results also indicate that 82% of young people are willing to take a break from technologies for a few days, moreover, 59% believe that the Internet should be more censored and controlled. Almost half of English youth is pessimistic about the effect that the new technologies will have on the world in the future.