Monday, August 20, 2012

Saecular Seasons and Generations' Career/Economic Prospects

For those who follow generational theory, it's been said that (among today's living generations) that Silents have had the best when it comes to careers and economics, while Xers have had it worse (and to some extent Millennials, but I'm predicting their future will improve as I'll discuss). Some attribute it to the low birthrate during the Silents' birthyears (and not offset by immigration like it was for Xers); while that may be one of the forces another one I've observed is the different saecular seasons that each archetype of generations enters the workforce, has its career peak, and retires in. A summary of this is:

Prophet archetype (e.g. Boomers) - enters workforce during an Awakening (summer), has its career peak during an Unraveling (autumn), and retires during a Crisis (winter).
Nomad archetype (e.g. Xers, and previously Losts) - enters workforce during an Unraveling (autumn), has its career peak during a Crisis (winter), and retires during a High (spring).
Hero archetype (e.g. Millennials, and previously GIs) - enters workforce during a Crisis (winter), has its career peak during a High (spring), and retires during an Awakening (summer).
Artist archetype (e.g. Silents, and in the future Homelanders) - enters workforce during a High (spring), has its career peak during an Awakening (summer), and retires during an Unraveling (autumn).

As you may have guessed, the most optimal saecular constellation for lifetime career success is like the one that the Silents experienced - starting your career during the growth season and retiring when society is starting to decay (but before the trials of winter start). That's why unlike for today's younger generations it was not uncommon for Silents to have worked for one company from start to finish of their careers, and throughout life they've been more affluent compared to other generations.

The generations that follow, like the Boomers, have a bit rougher time in the job marketplace. They come of age when society has already grown, and must take into account the likely rough times in their late career years. Because of that, and the individualistic nature of these types of generations, they tend to show themselves off by demonstrating career dedication hoping they won't be one of the unlucky ones later on. That's why Boomers got their "workaholic" reputation that many younger folks now abhor, and also why they became quite obsessed with retirement savings (not knowing what the future would hold).

By the time generations like the Xers come along, society is in its decaying season and a time of peril is likely to hit right in the peak of their working years. What that leads is to them seeking more financial and career risks, taking advantage of the short periods of success and hoping out during the bad times (hence many entrepreneurial-minded people in those generations, unlike those a bit older who still go with the system and try to hope it works out). Although they'll see the improving conditions of saecular spring, it will once again be a short-term window for these generations (so they'll continue the binge-job work ethic).

Finally, generations like the Millennials now coming of age start their working years right during society's worse time. Since these generations have a rough time even getting their foot in the door, their collectivist mindset results in their entitlement-thinking (since the only way they may have to start is by force upon the marketplace). Unlike those a bit older, they do have the light on the other end of the tunnel and have a shot at good success later on; however their collective fighting mindset continues (which resulted in the GIs heavy unionization for example, which Silents and Boomers later broke up).

No comments:

Post a Comment