Did you know there’s a micro-generation that exists between Generation X and Millennials?
And why the heck do we need to define micro-generations? At a glance, it seems like a pretty ridiculous effort when there are already so many clearly definable generations across the zeitgeist. But there’s one micro-generation that would be an absolute detriment to ignore, my generation, Xennials–– Xer/Millennial.
Xennials are those unique cats born between the two generations currently dominating the workforce––Generation X and Generation Y, or Millennials. Born somewhere between 1975 and 1985, Xennials are kind of like a Millennial’s slightly darker, sassy, switched-on, cooler older sibling.
Millennials have long claimed the title of the “first digital natives” and therefore seem to own the space in business thriving from digital anything. But, too often we overlook another very important generational sub-culture that resides in a similar court and can work the digital business space just as well, if not better.
Xennials are not digital natives, we existed long before shit got tech-y. Our television was programmed, our music was on tape, homework was done on paper, and the closest us early eighties kids got to virtual reality was the cartoon strip coming alive in the A-Ha Take on Me clip. The introduction of computers and digital technology was as foreign to us as it was to the Boomers. But, because of this, we actually have an importantly defining edge on Millennials, and that is, we were born into analogue and grew in the digital era. And we’re dexterous with both.
Xennials remember what life was like without the internet, mobile phones and Ubereats. Many might even remember life before McDonalds drive thru––YES, Millens, we used to actually get out of the car and walk into the restaurant––and yes, my young friends, McDonald’s was known as a ‘family restaurant’ when we were kids. Same as KFC & Pizza Hut. We weren’t as spoiled for choice when it comes to takeout as Millennials. Gawd, we’d never have imagined scrolling through phones and picking our meals from a gallery of beautifully shot food porn, and then have it appear at the push of a button–– that only happened on the Jetsons! And besides, phones lived on the wall, or on the telephone table. At a stretch, a ‘mobile phone’ might have referred to pulling the phone extension cord down the hall and into your bedroom to talk to a boy.
I’m a proud Xennial and I am also proud to have grasped digital media, along with digital business software and the myriad positives that comes with life in digital. But I could just as easily live without it––that’s the distinct difference between Millennials and Xennials. I lived without a mobile phone until I was twenty-three years old and a smart phone even longer. And I survived. I got through Uni, worked in corporate roles, travelled easy and, I actually had a great social life. Probably because I had no idea what anyone else was doing unless I was doing it with them. FOMO didn’t exist when I was younger, because social media didn’t exist. I’m certain this type of development gives Xennials a bit more social confidence to be somewhat individual––which actually really helps in leadership roles.
It’s important to recognise the difference between Xennials and Millennials, and even more so between Xennials and Generation X-ers. The benefits of having a Xennial on your team or in a leadership role are endless and most importantly they will be the bridge between the two dominating generations. According to reports, Xennials are slightly more realistic than Millennials, and slightly less pessimistic than their forbearers, Generation X––or Generation Angst as you might kid. The perfect balance really.