Monday, April 27, 2009


Echo Boomers Versus Baby Boomers
By Katy Berninger

You're watching TV, browsing the Internet, and texting your friends at the same time. If this sounds familiar to you then you are most likely an Echo Boomer. According to CBS News 60 Minutes report, “Echo Boomers” there were of 80 million people born between 1982 and 1995. They are called Echo Boomers because they are the offspring of that other famous generation, the Baby Boomers.

Echo Boomers have grown up in a digital age where they are surrounded by technology, and multitasking is their way of life. However, they fascinate many researchers not for the unique way in which they have grown up, but because they are the biggest consumers, influencing product development and the way in which companies advertise. And because they are a new breed of workers who are entering the workforce.

The power that Echo Boomers have is changing the way in which corporations are thinking about demographics. A 2008 article from Fortune Magazine discussed this new phenomenon when the auto industry began to decline. The car companies’ ray of hope has come in the form of this new technologically savvy generation. Companies like Toyota and General Motors are focusing on Echo Boomers with sleeker, cooler designs in the hopes that they will purchase their vehicles and save the auto industry from it's slump.

While Echo Boomers are being seen as a highly influential group of people, there are some who look down on the young generation who, some say, have different priorities than their older counterparts. People like Marian Salzman, who was featured in one of the 60 Minutes reports, have noticed that some Echo Boomers walk into offices believing that they deserve to be the best without putting in any effort. Salzman says she notices an attitude from her younger employees where they think that anyone over the age of 30 is, “old, redundant, and should be retired.”

While Salzman does mention that there are plenty of Echo Boomers who are hardworking and willing to pay their dues, it's important to take a look at why some employers might see their younger employees as careless.

When asked whether she thought Echo Boomers were lazy or just misunderstood, Ana Caruso, 22, says, “I think we're misunderstood. By no means are we lazy. I think what older generations don't realize is just because we don't think or work like they do doesn't mean they we don't have goals or ambitions.”

Caruso touches on an important difference between a younger generation who is used to getting what they want quickly, and an older generation who had to work harder for their information. Just because Echo Boomers can gather data swiftly does not mean they aren't taking their jobs seriously.

In response to the negative comments made in the 60 Minutes report on Echo Boomers, Bobby Harold, 19 says, “When I think about it, I see why older people would find it hard to understand us.” When asked why he believes that, Harold says, “because, they grew up going to the library and spending hours trying to find one piece of information while I Google something and I immediately have pages and pages of resources in less than a minute.”

Harold is right, and one has to realize this difference before immediately criticizing, whether you're an Echo Boomer or a Baby Boomer. Caruso says, “maybe what needs to happen is the Echo Boomers should walk a day in the older generation's shoes, and vice versa. Maybe a respect would develop from that.”

Sixty Minutes is quick to point out the differences between the two generations, but what we need to do is see the similarities. Echo and Baby Boomers may work differently, and think differently but everyone wants to be successful and happy. If the Echo Boomers and the older generations can come together, then maybe there can be less of a misunderstanding and a thriving workforce can develop from their unique experiences.

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