Raise your hand if you’ve heard the term “millennial.”
All of you, right?
Raise your hand if you associate that term with the following: people who are entitled, lazy and spoiled; still live with their parents; had their parents do their work for them while they were in school; oh -- and they received that dreaded participation trophy.
Sheesh. Is this just the older generation being stereotypically cranky toward young people, or do millennials really take the brunt of it, when it comes down to catching flak like no generation before?
It’s hard to say. But if you find yourself not relating to ANY of the above, we're here with news: maybe you're not a millennial after all. In fact, you could be an "xennial," if you believe that such a thing exists.
Is it bad to be a millennial?
But let's back up. As far as redeemable traits are concerned, it seems as though millennials do have many. They're typically more financially responsible than prior generations -- maybe from all the money they saved, living with those parents?
Kidding! In all seriousness, millennials often get credit for being hard-working once they reach their careers, and they barely take any time off from their jobs. Several published reports noted that this is the most educated generation yet. Many millennials didn’t grow up with cellphones in hand, but they’re early adopters who are smart with technology, yet remember a world without it. See? These "millennial" traits aren’t all negative.
Not all millennials were created equal
Still, it’s hard to generalize when it comes to anything generational. Merriam-Webster describes millennials as people born roughly between the 1980s and 1990s. A 2013 Time magazine cover story used 1980 or 1981 as start dates. Two demographers who are widely credited with coining the term, define millennials as being born between 1982–2004. There’s quite an age difference there. Think about it: between 1982 (Challenger won’t even explode for another four years) and 2004 (Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps sets the record for the most medals won at a single Games with a total of eight). In a lot of ways, doesn’t that seem as if it weren’t so long ago?
What we're saying is this: Someone born in 1984 isn’t likely to have the same experience with technology as someone born in 2001.
The rise of 'xennial'
And that brings us to that new term we mentioned earlier, one that we’ve seen floating around the internet in recent weeks and months: "xennials," also known as people who were born (usually) between 1977 and 1984. They often don’t feel like Gen X or true millennials.
So is it possible that a “microgeneration” really exists, as Business Insider calls it?
For what it’s worth, the exact birth years of xennials differ based on what you’re reading or who you’re talking to. However, that’s the same with almost every generation: Variation exists across the board.
Business Insider said the term was actually coined in 2014. Recently, people have started talking about xennials again, and Merriam-Webster even labeled "xennial" one of its "words we're watching."
What makes someone an xennial?
Here are some more notes from the article about who really might be an xennial:
-- Xennials were the first generation to grow up with computers in the house, often equipped with internet access. (You can probably hear that AOL voice in your head, saying, “You’ve got mail!”)
-- Xennials are naturals at social media, though they largely grew up without Facebook, Twitter or even MySpace.
-- Many xennials didn't get their first cellphone until they were in their late teens or early 20s. Instead, they had to call their friends' homes and ask for that person through the parents.
-- By the time xennials were 20 or so, the music industry had changed significantly. You could download songs on Napster.
-- Xennials may have been hit hardest by the recession, because of a combination of student loan debt, job losses and other factors.
Well, did you take the quiz yet? Are you nodding your head in agreement, saying, "xennials -- that's totally me," or are you thinking this whole "microgeneration" concept is a sham? Tweet us, let us know in the comments, or post your feelings in an angsty AIM "away" message.