Who are you calling a slacker?

Posted On December 30, 2014

The Bank of America Fall 2014 Small Business Owner Report warrants a second post. It’s chock full of generational tidbits, including a look at how the generations describe themselves. There is significant backlash against generational trends and analysis in the media these days—nobody wants to be defined by their generation alone. I get that. But the purpose of trends is to identify shifts and be better able to react to those shifts. And while not every member of a generation will possess every characteristic or fulfill every stereotype of a generation, the overall trends tend to ring true. The BofA report backs that up using the voices of the generations themselves.

Millennials describe themselves as creative (26%), confident (18%) and optimistic (15%), but not loyal (6%) or hardworking/dedicated (7%). Conversely, Boomers describe themselves as hardworking and dedicated nearly five times as often (33%) and are significantly less confident (8%). Not surprisingly, though, Boomers don’t consider themselves incredibly loyal either (6%).

These self-ratings closely correlate to the generational norms frequently used to describe these groups. With one glaring exception: more than half of Generation X – the original “slacker” generation – describes itself as hardworking and dedicated. Whether this is because they are in the thick of it in terms of responsibility or because they are fighting hard against that early stereotype, the disconnect between common folklore and self-assessment for this group is significant.

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Generation X, Workplace