Thursday, August 30, 2012

Isabella: Nickname-Rich Name of the Week (August 30)

Here's another name that is much more likely (at least in English-speaking countries) to be seen on a child than an adult, yet has plenty of history: Isabella (and other related forms such as Isabel, Isabelle, etc.). Like Sebastian some may find it a bit long for everyday use, but many families manage Isabella in full without problems. If you do find the name to be a bit too much, there's Izzy and Belle/Bella among others (feel free to mention any others that you like). So, what's your general opinion on Isabella (too popular or still nice despite being one of the most common girl's names of the present era)? Although these names are related to Elizabeth, they're different enough in my opinion in terms of their nicknames to get another entry in this series.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Charles: Nickname-Rich Name of the Week (August 23)

This week's name is another English classic that's been on the downhill slope for a few decades, but is now leveling off and may soon be due for a comeback: Charles. The most fashionable nickname (for both boys and girls!) at the moment is Charlie. In the past we've also seen Chuck as well as a few others. Feel free to share any more unusual nickname ideas or your thoughts on Charles.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Analogy for those who don't "fit" their generation

There is a discussion going on at The Fourth Turning forums about a Millennial who doesn't seem to "fit" into the generation. Of course not everyone follows along with their archetype, but a good way to think of each generation is a block of cohorts in which one of the S&H archetypes (Prophet, Nomad, Hero, or Artist) largely follows at least a plurality of its members. Sometimes (as with for example the 1961 or 1981 cohorts) it's almost evenly divided between two archetypes and generations, while others (such as the 1971 or 1991 cohorts) one archetype has a significant majority and the cohort clearly belongs to a particular generation.

A good analogy to what I described is how certain states lean liberal, while others lean conservative, while still others are almost evenly divided on the political spectrum. Of course in any place you go in the U.S. you'll find some liberals (even in the heart of a bible-belt small town) and you'll find some conservatives (even in the middle of San Francisco). However, in those places one ideology clearly has support from the majority of the people. Even in the "swing" areas where many people are on the fence with regards to political issues, in winner-take-all political races (such as electors for President or Senators) whichever side has the majority of support will influence how these states are seen politically, and on a national level whichever side has the most cumulative support will affect how the federal government will vote.

What happens if your personal ideology doesn't follow the majority in your area? Well, you'd fall under the political equivalent of what is referred to in the S&H books as being a "suppressed" member. If you're not in politics, you have some options like to move somewhere else that is more like your beliefs, to accept that you're eccentric for your area and live as such, or find some way to compromise between your individual and the masses. If you're in politics and want to win elections, the latter is probably how you'll have to go if you want to have any influence in your locale. A perfect example is Mitt Romney, who was a Republican governor in one of the most Democrat-leaning states (Massachusetts) in the country. Many are accusing him of his "flip-flops" when in reality during his term a governor he had to act a bit more liberal than his heart; otherwise he wouldn't get anywhere in liberal MA. For example, many claim he invented the basis for Obamacare by enacting a similar law there; in reality he vetoed several sections of the "Romneycare" bill that all got overridden. Learning to compromise with the masses is what you have to do when you're the executive over a legislature with a veto-proof majority against you. Now that Romney is running for a nationwide office - the Presidency - he can act a bit closer to his actual beliefs because the United States as a whole is more conservative than the single state of Massachusetts, and positions like being pro-life and anti-health-care-reform appeal to a good part of the general USA.

In the case of a generational maverick, you can't "move" to another generation like you can geographically; thus your options are limited to the other two in this case. As with being a "suppressed" individual politically, how much of an outsider you feel or are perceived to be depends on the scale of the particular social interaction. A Prophet-identifying Millennial, for example, probably felt like somewhat of an outsider throughout the schooling years (when most of the socialization is with others close to you in age) but when he/she started working it probably now matters less (since in the workplace you interact with those in other generations too and have someone you can look up to).

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).

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dorothy: Nickname-Rich Name of the Week (August 16)

Quite popular during the first half of the 20th Century, she now has "old lady name" status, though she did re-appear in the U.S. SSA Top 1,000 after being out for several years: Dorothy. Since at her height the name was given to more than 3% of girls it's logical that numerous nicknames formed. Among those off the top of my head are Dot(tie), Dolly, and Dora. There are probably others I haven't thought off, which you can fill me in on if you like, as well as your opinions of Dorothy herself (which is probably my favorite way to use it) and the aforementioned nicknames.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sullivan: Nickname-Rich Name of the Week (August 9)

Although most of the names I'm covering in this series are more classic, since Sullivan is one of the surname-as-first-name names that I like for a boy (and is rising on the charts) I thought I'd mention it. Some may shorten it to Sully or Van, but I like it well enough on its own. What do you think of Sullivan in general (too "surnamey" or usable as a first name)? Any other possibilities for nicknames?

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Is Nancy the new Emma?

As most name enthusiasts know, Emma is currently (and has for at least the past decade) been one of the hottest names for girls in the US, hovering near the top in that time-frame. The name is also a perfect example of an "antique revival"; it was very popular in the late 19th century, fell off for much of the 20th, and is now back in full force. What some American NEs may not immediately be aware of is the name was revived on the other side of the pond a generation earlier - while the 1970s marked Emma's low point on the US charts that decade marked the revival of the name in England; thus the name is also an example of a British-to-American transition in name fashion (an example of a revival that went the other way between today's parents' and children's generations is Amy, which was the #2 name in the States during the '70s and is now in "mom name" territory there but higher on the UK charts).

Now I'm going to discuss a name that I'm predicting may follow a trajectory similar to Emma's but about 50 years or so later: Nancy. In the US Nancy is currently a typical "grandma name" for today's children and falls into the fashion nadir of being a name from their parents' generation for many contemporary namers. On the other hand the most enterprising of name enthusiasts (me included) are seeing Nancy's retro charm and have put it on the list for consideration (right now from when I've seen this name being discussed it tends to be one of those that is either really liked or really disliked). Contemporary children may start to like it even more thanks to the Fancy Nancy series. The UK is a different story for Nancy though, as there are signs of it climbing back up the charts over there (maybe the fashion of nicknames as official names is also helping, as some consider Nancy a nickname). Since the name is already in style again on the other side of the Atlantic, as with Emma a few decades earlier that likely means a brightening future for Nancy over here as well (and although unfashionable for many parents if you bestow it on a girl in the present times it will likely lead to having a fashionable name for babies when she's a mom, rather than feeling dated like a name from the preceding generation would).

What do you think? Thumbs up or down for Nancy?

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Veronica: Nickname-Rich Name of the Week (August 2)

She's recognizable but has never been overly popular in the U.S., but has plenty of history and is semi-common among Catholics: Veronica. Being a bit long though some may want to shorten it: I like Vera and Vero as nickname ideas, while although not my style I know of some Veronicas who go by Ronnie. Nica or something similar might also be an idea, although if you like Veronica on its own I think it's perfectly doable. What do you think of Veronica and her nicknames?