What Is a Baby Boomer? Gen X? Gen Y?

Baby Boomers. Gen X. Gen Y. We are a culture that loves labels and so names have been given to various generations based on our dates of birth and framed by socio-cultural experiences and similarities. Of course, as with Astrology, those of us on the cusp can claim characteristics from both the group we are in as well as the one we border. (I of course eschew labels and staunchly prefer to claim characteristics from all, although I am quite sure the music of my generation is some of the best ever written and performed. ;-) )

While I’ve seen variations in dates categorizing Baby Boomers, Gen Y, Gen X, and Traditionalists, the following chart will give you a good idea of what people are talking about:

  • Traditionalists: Born before 1946
  • Boomers: 1946 – 1964
  • Generation X (Gen X): 1965 – 1980
  • Millennials or Generation Y (Gen Y): 1981 – 2000

The reason I mention this here is the way we are perceived and labeled can make a big difference to how we do at our jobs or even whether we get the job in the first place.  Clearly, this is a meaty discussion and more than I can cover in a career dictionary.  But it’s a topic well-worth exploring.

My basic philosophy is no matter what generation you are part of, do the best you can, keep up with state-of-the-art technology and methods, don’t be put off by idiots who need to label you (there are plenty who don’t…especially if you meet them at least half way), and respect that people of any age have something important to offer, no matter how much or how little experience they bring to the table.

See also:

What Is Being Overqualified for a Job?

What Is Rightly Qualified?

What Is Age Discrimination in Employment?

How To Beat the Job Interview Baby Boomer Blues

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NOTE: If you want to suggest changes to this or any other definition in our career dictionary, please feel free to add  your suggestions in a comment.