ABOUT A MONTH AFTER LAUNCHING THIS SITE, I was at a conference speaking about job-hunting skills needed to succeed in today’s improving (but still tough) economy. The program covered job-seekers at any age, but ended up focusing on the issues facing our audience of mostly 40-somethings—and there was much discussion about the differences among generations.
CULTURAL CRITICS ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO PUT A STAMP on the character of different generations, particularly baby boomers—some 76 million of us who now represent a huge opportunity for marketers of all kinds as we supposedly head toward retirement. We pride ourselves in seeking continued intellectual growth; we will have dreams and goals until we die. Many of us have grabbed hold of email and social media, but still like to talk by phone. Texting? Well, most of us are getting there—driven by our kids and grandkids.
By COMPARISON, GEN-XERS are considered to be more flexible than their predecessors, but also more cynical about the future. They prefer to forge their own career paths, are more likely to make lateral career moves than climb the corporate ladder. Gen-Yers—also known as Millenials or Echo Boomers—are the most tech-savvy generation. They’re “digital natives,” having grown up with the Internet. Like their boomer parents, they tend to be more optimistic about their ability to change the world. But they also want to avoid the mistakes of their parents, like divorces and unhappy careers, so many choose to delay traditional entry into adulthood, like marriage and home ownership.
I’M SURE THERE’S A LOT OF TRUTH to these generalizations, however broad. Certainly, when it comes to popular culture and major political events, each generation has its defining moments. No matter how much I like Katy Perry or Lady Gaga, my Boomer soul will always belong to the Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel. (If you want a good take on this generational connection, go to our Resources page and read the insightful essay, “The Lads,” by my Roel Resources partner, Ken Taub.)
BUT HERE’S MY ISSUE with these demographic labels: None of them describe this key portion of contemporary life, no matter what generation you belong to—the period between your 40s and 70s.
HOW DO WE DESCRIBE THIS STAGE OF LIFE? We’re not young anymore—even if we try to be. But we’re not old either—at least we don’t feel old, even when we technically become “seniors.” We’re younger-olders. “Youlders”? In reality, this period spans a tremendously productive time, when we’re wiser, more experienced, actively learning, evolving. It’s a period of dynamic transition. Think of it as the “Tween Years” of older adulthood. So…
WE NEED A NAME FOR US! Something better than “aging Boomers,” and so far, nothing I’ve seen captures who we are. That’s why I’m putting forth the Roel Resources Naming Challenge: Send me your chosen name for our 40 -70 group, something that captures our demographic, and our spirit. Give me your best, most clever, most memorable, spot-on descriptor.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name (put Naming Contest in the subject line) or write a comment in the space below. We’ll collect all your phrases, and put them beneath upcoming Roel Reports for everyone to comment on in the coming weeks. Then we’ll pick a winner (it’s good to be editor-king).
And we’ll even offer a little prize – a $100 American Express Gift Certificate—for what we believe is the very best name. So go ahead, name us!