Let’s stop analyzing generational differences for a few minutes

Ted Bauer
5 min readJun 27, 2022

Lots of mindless chatter over the past few years about generational differences, especially millennials (“They need feedback, Gary!”) vs. Boomers (“They’re holding on until retirement, Neil!”). Most of this is trifling garbage. I myself am guilty of contributing to the noise, however. To wit on generational differences:

Now we’ve got some new research and context on how overrated generational differences are.

Generational differences and the job search

This feels like an important topic. If you look at unemployment numbers, one of the concerning elements is guys who simply dropped out of the work force. Usually it’s someone who was making X-amount of money pre-2008, then couldn’t get a job at that level again. Second issue: job-hopping is pretty much the only way in modern business to make more money. Yet, HR departments tend to have a stigma associated with job-hopping. So if you hop a few times to get 3–4 better salaries for your family, some HR flak will eventually deem you “unstable” because you did that. It’s a nice little cycle out there.

Here’s an article called “What Millennials Want From A New Job.” When I first opened it, I cringed. I figured it would be the same trite buzzword-laden bullshit about generational differences. In many ways, it is. But look at this graphic:

There’s not much difference, really. Boomers are blue, and millennials are orange. The only area with a lot of gap is “opportunity to learn and grow,” which is logical — millennials are younger and would (should) need that. Overall compensation is a bit different, which is also logical — Boomers probably have mortgages and kids/grand-kids, which is less a concern for millennials. Otherwise, almost all the numbers are the same. (Boomers maybe didn’t vote on informal work environment, oddly.)

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Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.