The Saeculum Decoded
A Blog by Neil Howe
Jun 072010

Two somewhat different takes on the Millennial (born 1982-200?) leading edge in the workplace.  The first is in the NYT Magazine:

It is called “The Why-Worry Generation,” quotes us, and ultimately agrees with our positive take on how Millennials are handling the current downturn.

An Generation X (born 1961-1981) apparently disagrees and has written a rejoinder called “Children of the Bull”:

Best quotes from this Xer:

First the dripping sarcasm: Nothing was too good for the Children of the Bull, and everyone from jewelers to five-star hotels clamored for the business of their parents, offering up treasures ranging from emerald earings for little Emma to luxury tropical vacation camps for tiny Caleb. But all that money bought other things too, goodies that should not have been purchased so thoughtlessly.

Then the self-revelation: While as a die-hard Gen X slacker myself, I fervently admire the Children of the Bull’s refusal to buckle down and serve The Man, any casual survey of economic data circa 2010 tells you that their burst of self-confidence is probably fueled not by their unique resilience but by the monetary energy received from one last desperate hit from the parental financial tit.

Finally, the bottom line: How the Children of the Bull will deal with making it on their own has yet to be determined.  But I’m betting they will handle it the same way as every generation before them:  they’ll give up on expecting employee paradise and get to work.

In our new book, needless to say, we disagree.  (Though I love this Xer’s style—so archetypal!)  We say that it’s not this young generation that will change, but the behavior of the older generations who manage them—at least in those companies that don’t go bankrupt.

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  • Chayuta

    I'm new to The Fourth Turning and am a 13er. I have a question I hope you will answer:

    On pages 326-327 of The Fourth Turning is a script for the 13ers (what their role is in the Fourth Turning). “It will be his duty to ensure that whatever choices society makes will work as intended. In public life, the Nomad must cut through the paralytic residue once built by his shadow, the artist…They must step forward as the saeculum's repair generation, the one stuck with fixing the messes and cleaning up the debris left by others…For the Crisis to end well. 13ers must keep Boomers from wreaking needless destruction and Millennials from marching too mindlessly under their elders' banner.” The script goes on to talk about 13ers being the largest potential voting block and their rise to power and the 13ers civic contributions being increasingly essential to the nation's survival.

    With that in mind, what can and should a 13er do now to prepare for the task ahead?

    Thank You

    • Melmanny


      I am a GenX'er and one obvious thing that I see we can do is to start at the top and vote out a majority of incumbents and vote into office candidates that will restore a Constitutionaly-limited Government — people such as Rand Paul (son of Ron Paul), Peter Schiff, and other Tea-party candidates. Electing Obama was a mistake that many Millenials fell into the trap of … and now I know many who are having 2nd thoughts about their vote.

      Aside, from that, you should obviously already be preparing for the the Crisis ahead by getting your house in order regarding finances (get out of debt and if possible invest in assets that will do well during these times) , social (be a good, reliable neighbor/friend that people can trust), physical (get in better shape for possible tough times), intellectual (read/research/learn to think for yourself), spiritual (whatever religion, go back to core teachings of principles that will help sustain you in tough times). Overall, I tend to think of getting back to basics and cutting out the fluff.

      For the “intellectual” part … I might suggest you find interviews on YouTube with Bob Chapman and Gerald Celente.

  • Just a comment I haven't seen anyone discussing “Glee” in any of the discussion areas for Millie's. This show is quite the rage with Millie's it has all the signs of being a building block for Millie cohesiveness. Have you looked on YouTube and the glee mob dances breaking out all over the world. I know some of it is staged but still.

  • Dang, I got one of these kids. Bull is right. They're full of it.

    My kid thinks life is just manna from heaven and plenty of Marlboros.

    I've tried everything but the wrecking bar to pry her out of my house.

    I dug out my copy of Fourth Turning today, seeing you're on Art Bell tonight.

    It was just where I left it, next to Popcorn Report and all my Deming books.

    Those were the days. Back in the 90s when everything was still okay.

    Maybe I can get you to sign it one of these days.

  • Richardboomer

    “We say that it’s not this young generation that will change, but the behavior of the older generations who manage them…”
    With the Silent generation fading from public view, there will be too few negotiators left in either party. Baby Boomers will feel less and less restrained and will advocate extreme positions that we will measure in terms of changed behavior but will really be Boomers just being Boomers without the Silent generation restraining them.