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Addressing the generation gap – junior millennials vs. senior millennials

Millennials have been studied and targeted by marketers, but there is a tremendous difference between a senior millennial and a junior millennial.

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working millennial privilege

Beards, Uber, and roommates, oh my!

Imagine a scene where two friends are sitting down at a cafe, sipping sustainable coffee and discussing beard wax ingredients while waiting for their Uber to arrive. They are most likely posting their lattes on Instagram, updating their Tumblrs, and responding to another friend’s Snapchat while they carry on their conversation.

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It’s possible that one of these friends is going to be dropped off at his parents’ house, where he still lives, and the other friend is sharing an apartment with a few roommates near his liberal arts college.

Junior millennials versus senior millennials

It isn’t hard to pinpoint which generation these friends belong to; millennials are synonymous with social media, multitasking, artisan products, specialty brands, expensive educations and house and ride sharing. However, within the millennial generation is a wide demographic. While many junior millennials can relate, or perhaps see themselves in this scene, senior millennials can be far removed from any of these stereotypes.

Although there is still a lack of universal consensus on the timeline for when millennials were born, we opt to observe the most widely accepted definition, stating that millennials were born between 1981 and 2000. This means that Gen Xers were born between 1961 and 1980, and Baby Boomers were born between 1945 and 1960.

Oregon Trail and AOL vs. iPhones and wifi

Every generation experiences some kind of overlap, where it might be hard to distinguish one generation from the next (when groups are born on one end of the timeline spectrum). This is especially true for millennials, though. Senior millennials–those of us born closer to 1980 than 2000, have experienced a completely different childhood and adolescence than junior millennials–those born between 1991 and 2000.

For instance, while senior millennials were raised on Oregon Trail and AOL chat, junior millennials grew up with an iPhone in their pocket and were punished by mom withholding the WiFi password. In the last 25 years, technology has advanced at such a pace that the divide between senior and junior millennials is phenomenally broad, at some points pushing senior millennials closer to a Gen X mindset than a typical millennial mindset.

More factors are at play here

Besides technology, there is the reality of 9/11 (which senior millennials can recall clearly), and the economy crash of 2008 (which directly affected senior millennials, just emerging from high school and college and entering the workforce).

These factors, along with differences in trends, parenting styles and fiscal habits, have created quite a schism within the generation. This schism affects the way that senior and junior millennials view each other; it affects the way that the generation is represented; it affects the way that brands are (or should be) marketed; it affects workplace and family dynamics. 

Digging deeper into the overlap

While the millennial generation in general has been explored at length, there aren’t a lot of discussions around what it means to be a senior vs junior millennial.

We are going to return to this topic and would love to hear from you (in the comments below).

If you are a millennial, can you identify with one side of the spectrum or the other? Are you a junior millennial, frustrated by the perception that the world has of you? Are you a senior millennial, uneasy about relating to millennial stereotypes? Are you outside of this generation, making observations and puzzled by the complexities that you see? 

Or maybe–it could be that you’re just tired of all of the bearded folks on their phones taking up space at your local coffee shop? I mean, really, it is a little much.

#SrMillennials

Amy Orazio received her MFA in Creative Writing at Otis College of Art and Design, in Los Angeles. She lives in Portland now, where she is enjoying the cross section of finishing her poetry manuscript and writing for The American Genius.

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5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Pingback: Phoenix Association of REALTORS® » Don’t Box Yourself In: Market to Everyone, Not Just Millennials

  2. Jonathan

    July 8, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Amy,
    I was thinking about the phrase “Senior Millennial Management”. And decided to google if there was something out there. Your article came up (#1).
    I read it thinking, “This person gets it!”.
    I then think, “I need to share this with the Expression58 group soon”.

    THEN I SEE YOU ARE THE AUTHOR!

    Spooky!

    To answer your question: I’m a junior millennial trapped in a senior millennial’s body. And I despise the millennial stereotype.

  3. Kameron

    July 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    This is a really interesting article! Thanks for posting! There’s a lot to be considered here for sure.

    For instance, for me, it’s not whether I’m a Junior Millennial v. Senior, because frankly I’m the opposite of Jonathan, a Senior Millennial trapped in a Junior Millennial’s body having been raised in family with two Senior Millennial older brothers. My parents didn’t raise me differently because I was born 4 years later which is why a lot of my memories/thoughts/etc skew to the Senior Millennial category. It would be interesting to add the “Multi-Millennial” category to the family dynamics section of something like this for both people like me and vise versa and how much your family dynamics play into your category of millennial.

    That being said, definitely frustrated with the Junior Millennial stereotype even though I know I play into it occasionally.

    Thanks for reading my short novel of a comment! Hope it makes sense!

  4. Paul

    July 11, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    I’m henceforth referring to myself as a Retired Millennial.

  5. Pingback: I am the world's oldest millennial: exploring our generation's overlaps - The American Genius

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Business News

Asking the wrong questions can ruin your job opportunity

(BUSINESS NEWS) An HR expert discusses the best (and worst) questions she’s experienced during candidate interviews. it’s best to learn from others mistakes.

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When talking to hiring managers outside of an interview setting, I always find myself asking about their horror stories as they’re usually good for a laugh (and a crash course in what not to do in an interview). A good friend of mine has worked in HR for the last decade and has sat in on her fair share of interviews, so naturally I asked her what some of her most notable experiences were with candidates – the good and the bad, in her own words…

“Let’s see, I think the worst questions I’ve ever had are typically related to benefits or vacation as it demonstrates that their priorities are not focused on the actual job they will be performing. I’ve had candidates ask how much vacation time they’ll receive during an initial phone screen (as their only question!). I’ve also had them ask about benefits and make comparisons to me over the phone about how our benefits compare to their current employer.

I once had a candidate ask me about the age demographics of our office, which was very uncomfortable and inappropriate! They were trying to determine if the attorneys at our law firm were older than the ones they were currently supporting. It was quite strange!

I also once had a candidate ask me about the work environment, which was fine, but they then launched into a story about how they are in a terrible environment and are planning on suing their company. While I understand that candidates may have faced challenges in their previous roles or worked for companies that had toxic working environments, it is important that you do not disparage them.

In all honesty, the worst is when they do not have any questions at all. In my opinion, it shows that they are not really invested in the position or have not put enough thought into their decision to change jobs. Moving to a new company is not a decision that should be made lightly and it’s important for me as an employer to make sure I am hiring employees who are genuinely interesting in the work they will be doing.

The best questions that I’ve been asked typically demonstrate that they’re interested in the position and have a strong understanding of the work they would be doing if they were hired. My personal favorite question that I’ve been asked is if there are any hesitations or concerns that I may have based on the information they’ve provided that they can address on the spot. To me, this demonstrates that they care about the impression that they’ve made. I’ve asked this question in interviews and been able to clarify information that I did not properly explain when answering a question. It was really important to me that I was able to correct the misinformation as it may have stopped me from moving forward in the process!

Also, questions that demonstrate their knowledge base about the role in which they’re applying for is always a good sign. I particularly like when candidates reference items that I’ve touched on and weave them into a question.

A few other good questions:
• Asking about what it takes to succeed in the position
• Asking about what areas or issues may need to be addressed when first joining the company
• Asking about challenges that may be faced if you were to be hired
• Asking the employer what they enjoy most about the company
• I am also self-centered, so I always like when candidates ask about my background and how my current company compares to previous employers that I’ve worked for. Bonus points if they’ve actually looked me up on LinkedIn and reference specifics :)”

Think about the best and worst experiences you’ve had during an interview – and talk to others about the same topic – and see how that can help you with future interviews.

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Business News

AdvoCare MLM was painted as a pyramid scheme! Well color me surprised

(BUSINESS NEWS) AdvoCare is the most recent case of an MLM being called out as a pyramid scheme by FTC, but there’s plenty more MLMs where that came from…

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AdvoCare business structure

It’s always a good day when an MLM (multi-level marketing business) actually suffers legal repercussions. Granted, these days don’t happen nearly as often as we’d like – MLM CEOs have historically had deep pockets and a far reach – which means it’s all the more reason to celebrate when one gets called out.

Today’s culprit is AdvoCare, a Texas-based “wellness” company. AdvoCare has been fined $150 million by the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) for operating a pyramid scheme. The company, as well as a few of its top influencers, have been misleading people when it comes to how much money they could earn. This is pretty typical behavior for MLMs in general, though many are careful to couch your potential earnings in vague terms.

For the record, the majority of users lost money, and most who managed to turn a profit made a maximum of just $250. I say ‘just’ because it’s hard to know how long someone would have had to work to not only break even, but manage to turn a profit. MLMs make big claims about earning money, but when you have to pour a hefty sum of cash into the products, it can take a while just to break even.

That’s why many MLMs, including AdvoCare, push contributors to recruit, rather than sell the product. And if you’re thinking that sounds like a pyramid scheme, you’re totally right. This method of putting recruiting first is part of the reason AdvoCare has gotten in trouble with the FTC.

In response, AdvoCare is moving away from multi-level marketing sales and pivoting to selling products directly to retail stores, which in turn sell to customers.

Now, with AdvoCare’s downfall, don’t be surprised if other MLMs insist that they’re different because they haven’t gotten in trouble with the FTC. In fact, plenty of MLMs are quick to tell you that they’re totally legal and totally not a pyramid scheme. Sure, Jan.

First of all, if there’s a big focus on recruiting, that’s obviously a big red flag. There are plenty of pyramid scheme MLMs out there that just haven’t gotten caught yet. But there are other sneaky ways an MLM will try to rip you off. For instance, some companies will insist you buy tons of product to keep your place, and that product can be very hard to unload. Not to mention, many of the products MLMs tout are subpar at best.

AdvoCare getting called out by the FTC is a great start, but MLMs seem kind of like hydras. Cut down one and two more seem to spring up in its place. So be vigilant, y’all. Just because an MLM hasn’t gotten caught yet doesn’t guarantee it won’t still scam you out of your hard earned cash.

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Business News

Bose is closing their retail stores, but we haven’t heard the last of them

(BUSINESS NEWS) Over the last 30 years Bose has become so well understood by consumers that they don’t even need retail stores anymore. We hear them just fine.

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bose closing retail stores

Over the next few months, Bose plans to close all of their retail stores in North America, Europe, Japan, and Australia. The company made the announcement last week. With 119 stores closing, presumably hundreds of Bose employees will be laid off, but the company has not revealed exact numbers.

However, this shouldn’t be taken as a sign that the maker of audio equipment is struggling to stay afloat. Rather, the move marks a major change in how consumers purchase tech gear.

When the Framingham, Massachusetts-based company opened its first U.S. retail store in 1993, it was making home entertainment systems for watching DVDs and listening to CDs. According to Colette Burke, Bose’s vice president of global sales, these first brick-and-mortar locations “gave people a way to experience, test, and talk to us” about Bose products. “At the time, it was a radical idea,” she says, “but we focused on what our customers needed and where they needed it – and we’re doing the same thing now.”

When a lot of this equipment was new, consumers may have had more questions and a need to see the products in action before purchasing. Nowadays, we all know what noise-canceling headphones are; we all know what a Bluetooth speaker is. We’re happy to read about the details online before adding products to our virtual shopping cart. The ability for Bose to close its retail stores is probably also an indicator that Bose has earned strong brand recognition and a reputation as a reliable maker of audio equipment.

In other words, consumers are less and less inclined to need to check out equipment in person before they buy it. For those who do, Bose products can still be purchased at stores like Best Buy, Target, and Apple. But overall, Bose can’t ignore the fact that their products “are increasingly purchased through e-commerce,” such as on Amazon or directly from their website.

In a statement, Bose also said that it has become a “larger multi-national company, with a localized mix of channels tailored for the country or region.” While Bose is shutting down its retail stores in several continents, it will continue to operate stores in China, the United Arab Emirates, India, Southeast Asia, and South Korea.

Burke said the decision to close so many retail stores was “difficult” because it “impacts some of our amazing store teams who make us proud every day.” Bose is offering “outplacement assistance and severance to employees that are being laid off.”

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