It’s also Generation Z, demarked by the end of the alphabet as we know it, that’s calling for the end of generational segmentation. It doesn’t ring true any more, [Adora] Svitak says: “It ignores a lot of the things that shape personalities and collective thinking.” It also ignores the fact characteristics are fluid throughout life. “Understanding shared Baby Boomer traits is easy because most of their lives has passed,” she says. “But anyone making generalizations about me will have to realize I will change many, many times.”
Research, though still in beta, points to the emergence of a stellar generation: educated, industrious, collaborative and eager to build a better planet—the very qualities exemplified by [Ann] Makosinski. In fact, in a manner typical of the need to neatly compartmentalize generations, Gen Z is already being branded as a welcome foil to the Millennials, born between 1980 and the mid- or late 1990s, who have been typecast as tolerant but also overconfident, narcissistic and entitled. Those characteristics weren’t an option for the first post-9/11 generation, one raised amid institutional and economic instability, informed by the looming shadow of depleting resources and global warming, and globally connected via social media.