Generation Jones: The ‘Lost’ Generation

This week, we continue our discussion of generational differences in the workplace. I thought we should cover a generational group that’s slightly different from Generation X, Y or the Baby Boomers. The group is called Generation Jones and you can learn more about them with this video clip.

Below are a few questions and answers about the Generation Jones.

Those in the Generation Jones group were born between 1954 and 1965, which is latter part of the Baby Boomer Generation.  Why do you believe the Generation Jones categorize themselves outside of the Baby Boomer Generation?

Members of Generation Jones don’t want to be associated with Baby Boomers because they perceive Boomers as making many leadership mistakes over the years.  They frequently disagree with how Boomers have handled significant global concerns, various business decisions, and environmental preservation efforts.  Consisting of 26 percent of the U.S. population (53 million people), this group feels ready to lead in a very different way.  They are just waiting for their chance to do so.  Waiting in the wings until more upper end Boomers retire, they find themselves in a position of having to be patient.  They see themselves as the “lost generation,” sandwiched between the Boomers and Gen X.  I think they resent this.

Some of the words used to describe Generation Jones have included the following characteristics: competitive, yearning, cynical and frustrated.  Would you consider any of these characteristics to be accurate? Why or why not?

These words accurately describe Generation Jones in part because these folks aren’t using their skills and talents to the optimal level.  On a positive note, it’s also important for us to know that this generation is willing to try new things, is open to possibility and influence, and is still searching for opportunities to make major contributions to the world.  They see themselves as capable careerists who feel they have so much more to give.

It’s said those in the Generation Jones group are responsible for electing our current President, Barack Obama. Why do you think this group chose Obama as a leader?

Generation Jones may have helped to elect Obama because Obama himself is a member of this group.  Perhaps they could relate to him on a number of levels, since many would share his world view, his interpretation of historical and current events, and his ideas for bringing needed change to the country and to the world.

If you had to highlight one key area that separates Generation Jones from the Baby Boomers, would that area be?

In general, persons in Generation Jones are less self-important than the Baby Boomers.  They have an equally strong desire to make meaningful contributions without needing to be recognized in big ways.  They may be less self-focused than the Boomers.


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