If you were born between the years 1980 and 1985 you might be feeling left out of the “generation” loop. Too young for Gen X, a little too old to be called “millennials”. Xennials? The Oregon Trail Generation? No-one really knew what to call us, especially now we’re middle-aged and useless.
Now those born in the generational black hole between 1980 and 1985 have a new name: We are “geriatric millennials.”
The geriatric millennial term was popularized in a viral Medium piece titled “Why the Hybrid Workforce of the Future Depends on the ‘Geriatric Millennial.'” Written by Erica Dhawan, an author and “thought leader” who writes about modern workplaces, the piece says geriatric millennials “survived DailyBooth, Friendster and MySpace friendship rankings” yet feel “competent at the thought of creating a TikTok or a Clubhouse panel discussion.”
Essentially, geriatric millennials act as a bridge. We’re young enough to perform like digital natives, but old enough to understand the “old ways” of communication: “Geriatric millennials can read the subtext of an SMS just as well as they can pick up on a client’s hesitation in their facial expressions during an in-person meeting. They are neither ignorant of technology nor so engrossed in it that a voicemail inspires fear.”
Sure, I get that. But geriatric? I just turned 40 last week. I shouldn’t have to deal with turning 40 and being called a geriatric millennial in the same month.
Other people seemed to feel the same…
Dhawan saw the tweets and memes and responded in another Medium piece titled “Why I Call Myself a ‘Geriatric Millennial’ — and Why Our Micro-Generation Matters,” explaining that, actually, being a geriatric millennial is a good thing. She believes the workplace, as it currently exists, couldn’t function without us.
But does any of this actually matter? The easy answer is, of course, no — it’s all bullshit. The generation thing is part marketing/part outrage machine and, for some reason it’s only been exacerbated in recent years as the media has ramped up coverage of generation-related stories — millennials “killing” things is a story genre in and of itself.
The generation battle has ramped up a notch. We’ve gone from “OK boomer” to Gen-Z seizing control on TikTok and
Yet there is something in the idea of the geriatric millennial. Someone who has a vague understanding of what’s happening online, and can explain it in “normie” terms to older people in the workplace. A group of people who act as a bridge between the before times and a world dominated by online culture.
Yeah. .. geriatric millennial. I can get behind it. I am a geriatric millennial.
[Crumbles into ashes and dust.]