Research and describe three generational cohorts

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Research and describe three generational cohorts

May 6th, 2015

The issue is that people confuse generations, which are specifically defined by birth dates, with "cohorts," a slightly more vague grouping of people based on common experiences.  

The divisions we know and reference are usually hybrids of the two. Here's the breakdown of the terms used and what people mean by them. 

The Greatest Generation

Also known as: The Depression Cohort, The Silent Generation (later), the G.I. Generation (early), the post-war generation, the seekers. 

Approximate dates: Born 1901-1924 (early) 1924-1943 (later)

Defining characteristics: Grew up, and frequently were defined by their experiences growing up, during The Great Depression and World War 2.

"The Greatest Generation"  to describe a group of people who helped fight and win World War 2, abroad or at home, and helped build the post-war prosperity that helped define the generations after them.

Regarded as having a sense of purpose and duty to country, and working extremely hard to better themselves. 

Those too young to serve, called "The Silent Generation," experienced the war as children or very young adults, and were described by the Time story that named them as "grave and fatalistic," inclined to work very hard, but not say all that much. 

Baby Boomers

Also known as: Boom generation, hippies (subculture)

Approximate dates: 1946-1964

Defining characteristics: Loosely, those born during the post war "baby boom" of the late '40s and ensuing decades, where birth rates significantly increased. 

Among their defining experiences were the first space flight, the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and later, the Vietnam War and Watergate. 

They developed some of the first counter-cultures, and though early boomers were known for their tendencies towards freedom and experimentation, that grew into a sense of disillusionment and distrust for the government for the latter members.

Still, compared to those who followed them, and see work as being more central to their lives than younger generations."

In the '60s, the stereotype of the generation was a navel-gazing hippie, but now, the generation is more identified with those currently in power. 

Challenges: They're rapidly getting older and retiring, and not all of them have saved up enough to be able to do so. The fact that many in this generation led the institutions that caused the current financial crisis didn't help. 

Those who are still working, or are forced to work by their financial situation, face an unfortunate bias from employers. Companies don't like to hire older workers, and they don't like to hire those who have been out of the workforce for a long time. 

Gen X

Also known as: Baby busters, the MTV generation

Approximate dates: 1965-1981

Defining characteristics: Grew up in the political climate in the aftermath of Watergate and the Vietnam War, during a series of recessions, the Reagan presidency, the AIDS epidemic, and the end of the Cold War.

Gen Xers are more likely to be independent and value their own career over organizations. They value autonomy and freedom at their jobs, and are not as work-centric as older generations. 

They're more socially liberal than the Baby Boomers, and they're the first generation to fully embrace the Internet. 

In the '80s, the stereotype was that the generation was intensely self-involved, greedy, and narcissistic. Now, since they make up so much of the workforce, it's hard to pin it down

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