Are you a Baby Boomer who doesn’t feel like a Boomer? You’re likely part of a generational niche referred to as Generation Jones.
Generation Jones is a term that Jonathon Pontell first used to discuss people in the U.S. and the UK born between the years 1954 and 1965. Sociologists have since weighed in on how the Baby Boomer classification is probably inaccurate for a large group of people born between 1946 to 1964. Since a generation typically lasts from 10 to 12 years, it explains a lot about why so many of the younger boomers don’t relate well with the older boomers, feeling alienated by the idealism of their older brothers and sisters.
The cultural influences and shared historical events for older boomers are quite different from those of Generation Jones. Since psychologists and sociologists agree that these cultural links form the foundation of any generation’s values and mindset, it is no surprise that younger boomers often act and feel differently from their older counterparts based on historical events and cultural changes present during their formative years.
The idea of keeping up with the Joneses as the driving force behind this generation’s unquenchable consumerism explains a common mindset consistent with the 1980s and 1990s when the youngest boomers reached adulthood. The movie, Wall Street, exemplifies the mood at the time when everything in excess was the mantra for young business leaders. A favorite quote from those times was, “He who has the most toys wins.”
Understanding Baby Boomers and Generation Jones Influences
The main thing that Baby Boomers and Generation Jones have in common is that both groups grew up during a prosperous period in U.S. history. Baby Boomers were born right after World World II when optimism and a growing middle class made it possible for families to take regular vacations, buy homes and send their children to college.
A majority of baby boomers remember their childhoods as a time of economic stability that fed into the American Dream. Boomers and Jonesers were taught that simply working hard and getting a good education ensured success.
Unfortunately, all good things do eventually come to an end. As Generation Jones finished school and entered the workplace, they were faced with a poor economy and the Watergate scandal. This rude awakening to adulthood contributed to Generation Jones becoming cynical and pessimistic. For the first time in their life, this generation was faced with fewer job prospects and high-interest rates that made purchasing a home more difficult than it was for the older Baby Boomers.
Comparatively, older boomers came of age during an environment of raw idealism defined by hippies, flower power, and a rejection of corporate greed and war. The sexual revolution was in high gear with the promise of free love.
Unfortunately, Generation Jones was met with the threat of AIDS as they gingerly navigated a new world order surrounding love connections. Caution and danger became more the norm. The threat of STDs and AIDs cooled down the sexual revolution’s momentum.
The Idealism of Baby Boomers Versus the More Practical Generation Jones
Whether it’s political parties trying to capture votes or companies interested in driving sales, there is an abundance of evidence that reveals differences between baby boomers and their younger Generation Jones contemporaries. Even though boomers and Jonesers shared an optimistic childhood inspired by ideas about positive social change and equal rights, each group differs significantly on the best path to take.
Generation Jones approaches change with cautious optimism based on their entrance into early adulthood punctuated by high inflation and unemployment rates. Essentially, Jonesers are considered to be more conservative than Boomers, collectively. That’s not so surprising given that Baby Boomers and Jonesers encountered a markedly different world when it was time to get their first job. That’s why it is understandable why older boomers who were established in life before the 80s in many cases, were able to hold onto their idealism a bit easier than Generation Jones.
Boomers, Generation Jones and Technology
While it is common for younger generations to make fun of baby boomers and Jonesers about their inability to cope with new technology, perspective is required to truly understand how these two generations historically fit into the picture. Since Jonesers are old enough to reminisce about the simpler times before the Internet was a daily part of life, this group can unplug on occasion as a way to recapture their youth.
Older boomers may be more inclined to step away from the computer than Jonesers, but both groups long for simpler times on occasion. By no means should it be forgotten that Generation Jones and Baby Boomers must be credited for promoting and funding technological innovations that led to a computer in every office and cell phones in the hands of a majority of consumers.
Publisher United States Now credits Steve Jobs and Bill Gates as two Jonesers that led the world into a new world shaped by computers. While younger generations might not understand why their parents aren’t interested in an Instagram account or the latest TikTok video, it is important to remember where the technology started. Granted, each generation has different tastes and interests in technology, it is noteworthy that a third of Internet users today are from the Generation Jones generation.
Generation Jones Icons
President Barack Obama, Mark Cuban, Madonna, Magic Johnson, Whitney Houston, Jon Stewart, Princess Diana, Tina Fey, and Bill Gates are just a few well known icons to come out of Generation Jones.
As Baby Boomers retire in significant numbers, the mantle is often being passed to members of Generation Jones. This generation is distinguished by traditional ideas about family with an eye to equality for both men and women. The hope expressed by many U.S. citizens is that Jonesers who value civility, personal responsibility, and community can lead the country in a better direction where these values are honored.