1946–1964 | Roughly 80-million
“I remember seeing the Beatles on television on the Ed Sullivan Show. They came in, played their guitars, and introduced a new style of music. I remember my dad’s comments afterwards about how long their hair was, and I can’t remember the words he used…but they weren’t very complimentary.
I also remember the excitement of hearing that we had actually landed on the moon.
Another early recollection is when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. There was great pain because so many people related to the enthusiasm of the youth, to the new vision that John F. Kennedy brought to the table. It was like it was a continuous thing: John. F. Kennedy being assassinated, the Civil Rights movement becoming more visible and the conflict growing, and Bobby Kennedy being assassinated, who many people thought would be the next President of the United States, and of Martin Luther King Jr., certainly one of the greatest leaders of our generation, being assassinated…and then we moved straight from that into the Vietnam War.”
About the Baby Boomers
The Baby Boomers grew up in a time of economic prosperity and great change, and with the advent of television they were able to see national and world events unfold daily on the evening news. Their collective experience – from the Cold War to the tumultuous Civil Rights struggle – was one of shared fear and excitement, a sense that times were changing and that they were part of momentous historical events.
Looking back at the big changes that took place during their youth, such as improved racial equality, sweeping social programs, and the moon landing, they remember the sense of hope that enabled them to feel like they could shape their own destiny in the midst of change.
Baby Boomer Trends:
The major events that impact each generation occur when they are adolescents and young adults. This youthful period of their lives is often when their worldviews and opinions form and can be influenced by a variety of factors – things like the economy, media messages, prevailing family structure, and major news events of their time. Here is a high-level snapshot of what life was like for the Baby Boomer generation.
Their reality growing up: Big changes in American society
Defining moments: Moon landing, Civil Rights, John F. Kennedy assassination, Vietnam War, Watergate, Woodstock, feminist movement, hippie movement
Where they went for information/entertainment: Television
Their values: Ambition, hard work, pursuit of “The American Dream,” potential for an individual to change the world
Who they admire: Leaders of social and cultural change
Their goal: Pursue the American Dream and live the good life
A typical “life path”: Follow a certain path of work and/or education and receive the corresponding measures of success, including a nice family and ownership of a nice home and car
What they consider professional work attire: Business suit; in some cases, slacks and a collared shirt (men) or a skirt and blouse (women)
Communication style: Professional, face-to-face, phone, e-mail, politically correct
Organizational style: Structure, hierarchy
Strengths: Work ethic, dedication, optimism, competitiveness, willingness to sacrifice to achieve success
Challenges: Difficulty with change
In a word: Ambition
Other things to know about Baby Boomers:
– As young people, Boomers questioned authority much more than Traditionalists, and they encouraged equality. In many cases, they were free-spirited hippies before they came to the boardroom.
– More educated than previous generations, they were highly competitive when they joined the workforce – there are so many of them that they had to be.
– They are creative and savvy. The Baby Boomers sent a man to the moon with minimal technology and organized the Civil Rights movement long before the existence of social media. #howdidtheydothat?
Baby Boomer Views On:
Work: Work hard, pay your dues, and move up the ladder. Dedication is a path to success.
Church: Faith is important, and you should take your family to church.
Education: Education is valuable and leads to greater possibilities for your future.
Parenting: You should treat your children as individuals and boost their self-esteem, and you should provide them with things that you didn’t have growing up.
Baby Boomer Wisdom:
“Make love, not war.”
“Don’t trust anyone over 30.”
“Civil disobedience works.”
To really get to know the Baby Boomer generation, talk to them and ask about their stories and experiences. Questions like, “What was life like for you growing up? What national events or movements do you remember most? What were the cultural messages of your day? How have these experiences influenced your views today?” are great conversations sparkers.
And to my Baby Boomer friends: thank you for your hard work, creativity, and legacy. I appreciate you!
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