Your mom and dad were hopelessly out of touch. It doesn’t matter whether you are a member of the silent, baby boomer, Generation X or millennial generation — at some point in your youth, you probably thought your parents were lame.
Then you went on to your work life and were convinced that the older generations really needed to get out of the way. It’s the same story for every generation, right?
Well, not so right with Generation Z. They apparently talk to their parents as if they were fellow human beings. Yes, hard to believe, but David and Jonah Stillman are living proof.
David has made a career of observing generational differences as a marketer, speaker and co-author of books such as When Generations Collide.
He often appears in national media as a generational expert. Although the Gen Xer has done research, perhaps his best project was bringing up his very own Gen Zer, Jonah, who now collaborates with David in the generational business. Besides speaking together at events and consulting, they wrote the book Gen Z @ Work.
As a classic Gen Xer, David admits he can be a little blunt yet pointed in his remarks. Those are some of the characteristics observed of his generation — cynical, jaded and serious. So, when they had children, Gen Xers tended not to mollycoddle their kids like their boomer siblings might have done.
Technology also made an earlier impact on Gen X, so they tended to be more facile with the latest tech than boomers and certainly more than the silents. Gen Z entered a world of tech and evolved with it.
So we have two wisecracking, tech-savvy generations that relate well and are ready to take over the world. As Gen Xers move into the upper echelon of society, Gen Zers are just starting to take a seat in the work world. Just as everybody was thinking of getting a handle on millennials, a whole new dynamic has arrived.
David and Jonah are helping companies understand that they cannot take their understanding of one generation and project it on the next just because they both are young. In Part 1 of this interview, they discussed the identity of Gen Z. In this month’s segment with Publisher Paul Feldman, David and Jonah talk about how the generations can work together for mutual benefits.