In trying to keep up with the changing financial and social issues, I found out that those of us who were born as the baby boomer generation are no longer the target of the emerging business and government policies or philosophies. Somewhere in my fifties I noticed that most the company’s and their marketing ads were directed towards the baby boomer population. That is probably because of the large number of baby boomers and the fact that they were still in the working population. I also notice that most business plans and marketing efforts directed their energies towards getting the baby boomer generation to use their products. Financial institutions continued to concentrate on the baby boomer generation as the target of their attention and source of income.
Even during those times, I paid little attention to the generation before mine called by some as the silent generation or the greatest generation. This usually included those men and women who experienced everything from the great depression through world war II. It was the generation that created so much growth and power for the United States of America. Even with all the sacrifice and leadership of the generation, by the time I was in my forties, I consider them has just old people who had their time in history. I notice that financial institutions and businesses would target the baby boomer generation, almost forgetting the silent generation. I’m not sure why they call it the silent generation other than to say that they built a great nation with very little fanfare or complaint. I know that when my father worked for a large company it was in a time when people worked for one company for 20 or 30 years and there was no room for complaints. People were just expected to work hard to build a better life for their families without any complaints or antigovernment movements. I also noticed that The silent generation became the invisible generation. As the generation got older it became the target of scammers who only wish to separate them from their money. The people of that generation were referred to as old people or seniors, they were dismissed to an old concept of what grandparents should act like. Grandparents don’t go skiing, they don’t run in marathons and they don’t enjoy life unless it is babysitting the grandchildren. The silent generation remained mostly silent about their image as they remained active both at work and at home. The silent generation expected that they would work for the same company for 20 to 30 years. The silent generation felt that by binding together in unions they would be taken care of. The silent generation became a religious centered population. Christians were the dominant religious leaders of the generation. The goal of the silent generation was to go to school and as quickly as possible, move out of their parents’ home and begin their own family. The silent generation commonly gathered together in groups which became their social life. There was the need to physically be with other people.
The baby boomer generation felt that it was different than the silent generation. Rather than to remain silent the baby boomers were very vocal. Rather than to fall in line and follow the orders of the boss they were quick to use the term revolutionary movement. The baby boomers felt that they were a nontraditional and unstoppable force built on its youth and energy. I did not think that the baby boomer generation ever considered that it would get old and would eventually be discounted just like the generation before it. Those revolutionary young men and women who live by the creed of sex, drugs, rock and roll eventually found themselves as executives of companies. The blue collar baby boomers were able to reach the goal of a middle or upper middle class families. The baby boomers have gone from being the center of attention for companies and governments to a tolerated group of people who have taken the place of the silent generation as the target of scams. The baby boomer generation started leaving the ranks of the previous generations and became less dependent upon the established Christian organizations. The goal of the baby boomer generation was to go to school which included going to college and then moving out of their parents’ house. Not to particular start a family, but to live under their own rules and regulations. The baby boomer generation still needed a social life but found it in a more individual way of smaller groups rather than a large group.
During 2015 and now in 2016 the forecasting of marketing for products and policies of the governments are specifically directed to the millennial generation. This generation who never used a typewriter or owned just an AM radio. They began their lives with apple phones and devices. They can speak to their computer or their car and the unit will perform the desired task. They have many artificial intelligence gadgets to do everything from turn on the lights in their home or to find where they parked their car. And the millennial generation has bumped the baby boomers and generation x out of the limelight and into the category of “also ran”. The goal of the millennial generation is to live for as long as they can in their parents’ house. Most will stay there until they are driven out by the parents. The millennials use the Internet and apps like Facebook or twitter for their social life. The need to actually be with a person is not the rule for this generation.
If it sounds like I am a little jealous of the millennium generation’s newborn status, I am. I got used to the baby boomers being the center of attention. I hardly realized that the baby boomers now dominate the doctor’s office and hospital rooms rather than boardrooms. The baby boomer generation has naturally moved to being the grandpas and grandmas who baby sit the grandchildren.
Generation X has been doing a great job of filling those vacancies created by the baby boom generation. They took with them some of the spirit of the baby boomer generation and are now also handling the spirit of the millennial generation. But unfortunately, I don’t think they were ever the target of financial institutions or the marketing plans of big companies. They are currently serving as the interim generation who will hold the limelight for a short time while the millennium generation becomes the dominant recipient of the attention. It has always been hard for me to try to understand the difference between the generations. So I went to the Internet and found a table from Pew Research which describes the different generations.
Laura Norén authored this information on October 4, 2011 American Generation Age Timeline (Age measured in 2009). Pew Research created a tidy series of interactive graphics to describe the demographic characteristics of American generational cohorts from the Silent Generation (born 1928 – 1945) through the Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), Generation X (1965 – 1980) [this is a disputed age range – a more recent report from Pew suggests that Gen Xers were born from 1965-1976), and the Millennial Generation (born 1981+ [now defined as being born between 1977 and 1992]). The interactive graphics frame the data.
More and more I read or watch about a story or a member of the baby boomer generation who was the victim of a scam. The baby boomer generation still has money in the bank and are still getting retirement benefits. Most of the baby boomers rarely find themselves in a debate in a private room or public setting that will result in a policy change. They no longer fight at work to get a better position or to get a raise. They are more likely to be asked to consider retirement. They are less likely to be asked for their opinion and even when their opinion is given they are dismissed.
This is not something new, this is the same way that the baby boomer generation treated the silent generation. This is the natural way of things. With the philosophy of hard work paying off to live in retirement, the baby boomers have been very successful. Many baby boomers have retired and then gone back to work just to feel like they’re living life. Some go back because their retirement funds have been depleted and they just need the money. Few are able to go back to a level of employment that they experienced before they retired.
The movement from the driver seat into the back seat is a humbling experience. I remember a statement from my friend who is 93 years old, Frank from Sacramento. He wanted to share with me his frustration that because of his age people would not take his opinions or advice seriously. He felt that he still had a lot to offer but he was being ignored or just tolerated by the people around him. It made him angry and it made him feel unappreciated. What Frank did not know was that his words were important. And I, probably like many other people around him, did appreciate his opinions. Most of us were impressed by the fact that at 93 years old, he was active and sharp. I admire Frank and I strived to be as active as he is, as I continue on in life.
So, I have begun to watch life as if on the sideline. The limelight now shines on a new generation of people. I will continue to have my own opinions and my own goals. But I realize that I’m at a different place in life and the most important thing to me is to enjoy where I’m at. To follow the philosophy of living day to day is not exactly what I’m talking about. I still plan for the future and strive to accomplish goals, but now I am more likely to enjoy the accomplishment of each gold and the journey that leads to the goal.
I will watch the millennial generation as it takes on the time old problems of government, financial issues, illnesses and individual rights. I don’t think those things have changed from generation to generation. But I know each generation takes a different path to address the issues.
Here’s to their success and to the continued success of the baby boomer generation.