September 3, 2020

Us vs them

Millenial. Boomer. Gen X. Gen Z.

These titles are used to identify each generation of people. But the titles come with stereotypes. Each generation of people is believed to have certain unique traits belonging to that generation.

And we forget that within each group of people is a huge and diverse group of individuals, each with their own unique traits and personalities. No single person is the same.

Yet, we still continue to believe that all millenials are “___________”; or all boomers are “___________”.

Granted, each generation grew up in very different times. And they came of age under very different circumstances that might shape the way they think.

Young adults going into the workforce this particular year certainly will never forget the current crisis of a generation. It’s hard to be looking for work when the economy is contracting. Or even starting your first job having to work remotely. Maybe this experience will shape their perspectives in the years to come.

But the problem is, we tend to use these differences between successive generations as a weapon to divide. It’s us vs them. Either my viewpoint is right. Or you are right.

When will we ever put aside our differences and meet in the middle? To come together as different generations. And use our collective wisdom, experience, energy and imagination to paint a better picture of what the future could be.

Having a strong work ethic is important. But so is the need to stop over-glorifying sacrificing oneself for work.

Perhaps we are born for such a time as this? That the youthful energy and idealism of the young, together with the wisdom, experience and perspective of the not-so-young, can propel us into a better future?

We need one another.

Each generation cannot thrive by themselves.

The younger generation has much to learn. But so does the older generation. We all need to continue learning. And unlearning. And continue learning new things throughout our lives.

The wonderful thing is we can learn from each other. Our differences don’t have to divide us. Instead, they can be the starting point for us to learn from each other.

It doesn’t have to be us vs them. It can be us and them.

Then, and only then, will we be able to progress as a society.

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