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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

Coca Cola drops 200 brands, most you’ve never heard of

(BUSINESS NEWS) Coca Cola hopes to revitalize their drink arsenal by rolling back some “underperforming” brands (that you might not have known they were still making.)

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Woman drinking Coca Cola against plain wall

2020 has forced a lot of businesses to return to their proverbial drawing boards, and the Coca Cola Company is no exception. Last week, Coca Cola announced in a corporate blog post that they are halting the production of 200 of their beverage brands.

In the words of Cath Coetzer, the head of global marketing for Coca Cola, the restructuring will “accelerate [Coke’s] transformation into a total beverage company”.

“We’re prioritizing bets that have scale potential across beverage categories, consumer need states and drinking occasions,” Coetzer added. “Because scale is the algorithm that truly drives growth.”

That’s… a surprising amount of technical beverage jargon, Cath.

Coca Cola is already the leading manufacturer of non-alcoholic drinks on the planet. It’s hard to imagine their scope becoming any more “total.” But this strategy shift comes as the consumer thirst for soda is drying up.

Soda consumption has steadily fallen over the last ten consecutive years, thanks to a swath of modern studies that link excess sugar intake with negative health outcomes like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.

In light of this research, regional sales taxes on drinks with added sugar have been debated across the country, despite aggressive corporate lobbying against it. All this has meant that beverage companies have had no choice but to pivot hard.

Take Odwalla, a Coca Cola brand that touted its vitamin content and servings of produce, which was discontinued earlier this year. Despite being marketed as a health brand, Odwalla flavors contained whopping amounts of added sugar: Their popular “superfood” flavor quietly boasted 47 grams per bottle.

The brands affected by Coke’s recent soda cull also include TAB diet soda, ZICO coconut water, and Coca Cola Life, plus internationally marketed drink brands like Vegibeta of Japan and Kuat of Brazil.

Condensing their portfolio allows Coca Cola to prioritize their most profitable products and invest in more new beverage trendsetters that better fit the times, like sparkling water, coffee, or even cannabis-infused products.

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Business News

Uber and Lyft face the music as employee ruling is upheld

(BUSINESS NEWS) The battle for Uber and Lyft drivers’ status continues, and despite company protests, the official ruling has been upheld.

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Interior of Uber and Lyft rideshare looking out on palm trees

A gig economy has its pros and cons. For anyone who has ever been an independent contractor, done freelance work, or worked for companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash, the pros are clear – you get to work when you want, where you want and how much you want. Flexibility and gigs go hand in hand.

And the cons? Well, those are a little more complex. Without a W2 linking you directly to the company, you as an independent contractor don’t receive the same rights and perks that your 9-5 employee friends might. For example, your employer is not required to provide a healthcare option for you. You are also not entitled to earned time off or minimum wage.

So which is better?

The gig economy conundrum has made its way all the way to an appellate court in California last week. The ruling was that Uber and Lyft must classify their drivers as employees.

Back in May, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and city attorneys from L.A., San Diego and San Francisco brought forth a lawsuit that argues Uber and Lyft gain an unfair, unlawful competitive advantage by not classifying their workers as W2s.

Uber and Lyft responded to the suit, stating that if they were to reclassify their drivers as employees, their companies would be irreparably harmed – though the judge in last week’s ruling negated that claim, stating that neither company would suffer any “grave or irreparable harm by being prohibited from violating the law” and also that the financial burden of converting workers to employees “do[es] not rise to the level of irreparable harm.” Essentially, the judge called their BS.

Additionally, according to the judge, there is nothing that would prevent Uber and Lyft from offering flexibility and independence to their drivers – and they have had plenty of time to transition their drivers from independent contractors to employees (the gig worker bill that spurred this lawsuit was decided in 2018). Seems fair to me!

However, there is an oppositional proposition on the ballot that muddies the waters. Proposition 22, if passed, is a measure that would keep rideshare drivers and delivery workers classified as independent contractors, meaning that those workers from Uber and Lyft would be exempt from the new state law that classifies them as W-2 employees. And you might be surprised to know how many of the app-based rideshare workers are in favor of Prop 22!

In a class-action lawsuit, Uber has been accused of encouraging drivers and delivery workers to support Prop 22 via the company’s driver-scheduling app. It appears, unfortunately, that Uber is manipulating its workforce by wrongly hanging their jobs over their heads.

On this matter, Gig Workers Rising stated: “If Uber and Lyft are successful in passing Prop. 22 and undo the will of the people, they will inspire countless other corporations to adapt their business models and misclassify workers in order to further enrich the wealthy few at the expense of their workforce.”

Ultimately, the fate of California Uber and Lyft driver’s in still in question. It’s unclear if the question we should be asking is, will Lyft drivers have proper healthcare through their jobs or will they have jobs at all. All of this is occurring at a time where millions are jobless and 158,000 individuals sought unemployment support this week due to COVID-19 layoffs.

Personally, I have little sympathy for tech-giants that rake in billions off the backs of the exploited working-class. If the CEO of Uber is an ostentatious billionaire, then his employees should have health insurance. Clear and simple.

The scariest part of the gig economy is that workers have become increasingly happy to work for a company that gives them little to no benefits. More companies are dissolving or combining positions so that they can further bypass their responsibilities to their employees. Let us not be fooled: The dispute over whether or not to make Uber and Lyft workers W2 employees does not affect the health of the companies themselves. What it will affect is how fat the bonuses will be the big guys at the top, and that’s exactly why the companies are so adverse to the ruling. They’d rather their workers suffer than lose a single dime.

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Business News

Bay Area co-living startup strands hundreds of renters at dire time

(BUSINESS NEWS) They’re blaming COVID for failing as a co-living space, but it looks like trouble was well established even before now.

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Person packed a bag and walking away from co-living space.

Over the last few years, “co-living” startups have become increasingly common in tech-rich cities like San Francisco. These companies lease large houses, then rent individual bedrooms for as much as $2,000 per month in hopes of attracting the young professionals who make up the tech industry. Many offer food, cleaning services, group activities, and hotel-quality accommodations to do so.

But the true value in co-living companies lies in their role as a third party: Smoothing over relations, providing hassle free income to homeowners and improved accountability to tenants… in theory, anyway. The reality has proved the opposite can just as easily be true.

In a September company email, Bay Area co-living startup HubHaus released a statement that claimed they were “unable to pay October rent” on their leased properties. Hubhaus also claimed to have “no funds available to pay any amounts that may be owed landlords, tenants, trade creditors, or contractors.”

This left hundreds of SF Bay Area renters scrambling to arrange shelter with little notice, with the start of a second major COVID-19 outbreak on the horizon.

HubHaus exhibited plenty of red flags leading up to this revelation. Employees complained of insufficient or late payment. The company stopped paying utilities during the spring, and they quietly discontinued cleaning services while tenants continued to pay for them.

Businesses like HubHaus charge prices that could rent a private home in most of the rest of the country, in exchange for a room in a house of 10 or more people. PodShare is a similar example: Another Bay Area-based co-living startup, whose offerings include “$1,200 bunk beds” in a shared, hostel-like environment.

As a former Bay Area resident, it’s hard not to be angry about these stories. But they have been the unfortunate reality since long before the pandemic. Many urbanites across the country cannot afford to opt out of a shared living situation, and these business models only exacerbate the race to the bottom of city living standards.

HubHaus capitalized on this situation and took advantage of their tenants, who were simply looking for an affordable place to live in a market where that’s increasingly hard to find.

They’ve tried to place the blame for their failure on COVID-19 — but all signs seem to indicate that they had it coming.

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