Generational Categorization Akin To Astrology

My favorite … “Millennials job hop. Boomers don’t.”


My buddy Louis Rawlins came up wth a blinding piece of clarity today. For a long while I have been frustrated by people who reference Millenials, Gen X, Boomers and bucket entire generational behavior in these categories.

This idea I blame completely on the advertising industry and marketing wonks who over time have concocted these terms to sell themselves to ignorant corporates who are in turn trying to sell their stuff to us because they need help. One thing that agencies do is ‘segment the market’ - and it is ‘oh so easy’ to segment generations. And so over the years rafts of pseudo scientists, supported by the agency’s need to survive perpetuate this myth, which is then in turn picked up and regurgitated to us all.

One of the common ones … ‘Boomers tend to stick with their jobs - whereas Millennials do not’ I find galling. Wrong. That is not my experience - nor of people I know. While I am willing to accept that living in the North Californian Bay Area has probably given me a different set of experiences to other geographies, I am English - and didn’t move here until I had already had a few jobs in a few companies in the UK.

  • Company One. One Job, One Year.
  • Company Two. Six Jobs, Seven Years.
  • Company Three. One Job. Two Years
  • Company Four. Two Jobs. Three Years.

…. you see the pattern.

I am a Boomer. I did not stick with jobs, nor companies. And I am not alone.

But even though others might have remained in their companies and roles a lot longer, resisting the urge to job hop … these days, even for them, it is happening.

Louis insight? It is not generational - it is that our world has changed. Allow me to paraphrase ….

Back in ‘the day’ companies wanted to hold onto their people and so people held their jobs for a lot longer than today. Over time, this has eroded and job longevity has reduced to the point where a resume looks like people are job hopping - but in fact it is out of necessity.

And in turn … a Millennial has only experienced that necessity.

They have no comprehension of company loyalty. From one angle, they are job hopping. From another, they are forced to move on as corporations morph. Add to that mobility of labor. When I grew up, I couldn’t live (say) in Brighton and commute to London to work. So to move jobs was a lot harder. Today, I know people in the UK that commute - and then add to that ‘home working’.

Then of course - there is also this …


… because we all know that once inside a company, it isn’t generally a meritocracy, it is how well you fit into the grid that HR devised twenty years ago.

NO - it isn’t generational … it’s the times - they are a changing - for everyone.

Come gather ‘round people where ever you roam And admit that the waters around you have grown And accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone If your time to you is worth savin’ Then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone, For the times they are a’ changin’!

October 9, 2016