Home Workplace Labeling & Living on the Generational Cusp

Labeling & Living on the Generational Cusp

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By CAREEREALISM-Approved Expert, Jessica Miller-Merrell

The Generational Debate has been a popular topic lately. As Boomers begin looking to retirement, working, recruiting, retaining, and understanding the current and future workforce is and should be an important focus for managers, human resource professionals, and companies, regardless of their size or volume.

We know (or we should) Millenials are the largest new and upcoming workforce demographic next to the aging Boomer population. Gen X on the other hand, is much smaller mainly due to the popularity and widespread use of birth control, specifically “the pill” in the 1960′s, but what about those that fall squarely in the middle? You know the cusp?

Cuspers are a term to define those that fall between generations. Cuspers regardless of where they fall are most commonly between Boomer and Gen X or Gen X and Millenials, are those that exhibit traits of both the generations in which they fall in between.

  • Boomer to Gen X Cusper. Those born between roughly 1954-1965. Noteable cuspers include Barack Obama, Bill Gates, and Sarah Palin. They are commonly referred to as Generation Jones.
  • Gen X to Millenial Cusper. Born between 1978-1988. They are commonly referred to as the MTV Generation, Gen XY, or Generation Doom (because of the video game not XY’s pessimistic outlook). Noteable celebrities that fall into this cusper category include Brittany Spears and Lindsay Lohan.

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The idea and use of creating labels like generational labels and categorizing those around us has been a characteristic of human beings since the beginning of time.  Fields of study like Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology were created based on our human desire and need to understand others as well as ourselves. I understand and enjoy this process especially since my educational background is Anthropology and Business. Learning about your market demographic as well as your competitors is advertising and business 101. It’s also an important part of being a successful and effective Human Resource leader.

But at what point is there too much of a good thing?

Instead of labeling one another, I encourage a different and unorthodox approach, human interaction, engagement, and good old fashioned conversations with your employees, friends, customers, peers, or whomever. Of course my impressions could be due to the fact I’m a Gen XY and Cusper myself. At 32 years old, I’m essentially an in-between who is often mis-labeled and mis-understood. Too old to be a Millenial but too young to be an X’er, I barely remember iconic events like the Challenger Disaster. Cuspers like myself feel extremely comfortable being uncomfortable. Being in-between and feeling as an outsider to your own generational label among other things is normal.

What are you thoughts on labeling and generations? Is it a necessary evil or a way to make us feel special, different, or just plain uncomfortable?

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CAREEREALISM Expert, Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR is an author, new mother, and human resources professional with a passion for the job search, recruiting, and all things social media. Jessica has over 10 years of experience in human resources and recruiting industry. She specializes in helping job seekers with personal branding specializing and job search strategies helping others learn the unwritten rules of the job search. Her creative technique and strategies have received national recognition from Entrepreneur, Glamour Magazine, HR Executive Magazine, and Employment Digest. Jessica also is the host of the only live job search web show every Sunday 9 PM EST on Mingle Media TV.

The photo for this article is provided by Shutterstock.

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