Another sign of a possible split in Generation Y

Posted on March 3, 2009. Filed under: Generation Y, Millennials | Tags: , , , , |

In a past blog, I talked about the interesting speculation made by a trainer of a workshop I was in.  The trainer mentioned a possible occurring split of Generation Y into two different generations.   There is still much research to be done on this, and we will honestly not know if there has been any significant generation split until the youngest of Generation Y have turned 23.  I still am keeping my eyes and ears out for signs of this possibly happening.

My workplace has just begun a new program with the help of the Grand Rapids Community Foundation and Temple University in Pennsylvania called Encore.  I am going to be a trainer in the program, educating nonprofit professionals about the needs of new volunteers in the sector, specifically 50+ volunteers. During a discussion of the content we want to deliver, we were discussing the needs of each generation and the events that occurred during their formative years.  The discussion brought us to highlight an event that will be significant for individuals under 23 in Generation Y.

The formative years of each generation are between the ages of 16 and 23.  These years are typically the most important in shaping the views and values of each generation.  Generation Y has just begun to surpass these years.  Generation Y begins with individuals born in 1980, that would make the oldest of the generation 29.

Those in the generation between the ages of 23 and 29 have now passed their formative years.  They have experienced the rise of terrorism, school shootings, economic surplus and decline, the life and death of Princess Diana, the Clinton and second Bush presidencies, introduction of social networking, a trophy for everything, and increased teen sexuality, among other things.  Their favorite TV shows have been consisted of family sitcoms and reality TV, and their musical influences have been a wide spectrum of rap, boy bands, pop, punk, and rock.

As a result this generation is technologically savvy, global in their thinking, independent, think they can have anything they want, have a passion for making change, more diverse, and are very productive and confident.  This is obviously an over generalization of the generation, but as a whole many individuals in Generation Y hold some or all of these characteristics, along with a few I don’t have room to mention.

Recently, we have had a momentous event in the United States that has lead me to believe the younger members of Generation Y will hold even more stronger versions of these characteristics, along with developing some more distinct ones.  To relieve the suspense, I will have to tell you the event is the inauguration President Obama.  A fellow Encore trainer mentioned her 18 year old son, and how she couldn’t imagine how this event was going to shape his life.

Think about it, as an impressionable teenager the inauguration may make the idea of doing anything more real to you.  Our first black president was just elected, now nothing can hold us back (accept for the economy).  I am still unsure about how this event will truly shape younger members of Generation Y, but I am quite certain it will have some profound effect.

What do you think, will the inauguration of our new president influence younger members of Generation Y to shape different values from their older counterparts?  Or do you think this event will just further solidify and hone the values the generation already holds?

Are there other events we are seeing that may refocus the values of individuals currently between the ages of 16 & 23?  I am thinking right off hand now that the slowing economy may have a profound affect on younger members of the generation, but that may be a whole separate post!

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