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A Comparison of Generations

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My parents are dorks. In the eyes of most teenagers their parents might not be coolest people, but back in their prime I’m sure they were something else. In just one generation so much has changed which many parents haven’t caught on to yet. Not picking up on new trends and styles label them by their children as dorks, losers or whatever word happens to be hip at the time. The new trends and styles that have changed over the decades range anywhere from how teenagers express themselves to the change in music. Put frankly, our generations are different, but yet at the same time, alike.

One major change that has occurred over the past few decades is the style of music. The music of today is very diverse, but still has a style different than that of my parents. The lyrics of songs nowadays are completely different from the lyrics of songs that my parents listened to. One of the most noticeable changes in lyrics is the use of profanity. The lyrics of today have many more cuss words in them. For instance, ABBA’s song, “Dancing Queen” was very popular during the seventies. According to Lyrics.com,

“…Friday night and the lights are low

Looking out for the place to go

Where they play the right music, getting in the swing

You come in to look for a King

Anybody could be that guy

Marino 2

Night is young and the music’s high

With a bit of rock music, everything is fine

You’re in the mood for a dance…” (Lyrics.com)

Lyrics of today’s generation are very different. An example being Ice Cube’s, “You Can Do It”. According to A-Zlyrics.com,

“…We be clubbing till the day we die

Nigga ask the bartender if you think we lie

But if you think we high, nigga think again

…You can do it put your back into it

I can do it put your ass into it

…” (A-Zlyrics.com)

Both of these have to do with dancing in that they talk about going to a dancing club and having fun, believe it or not; they just express it with much different vocabulary. As you can see, music lyrics have changed greatly over the past few decades. On the other hand, lyrics then and now often both are about the same subject, such as dancing. But, how the songs are worded, now that’s a different story.

Another drastic change that has occurred over recent decades is the way teenagers express themselves. Back during my parent’s generation, teenagers expressed themselves by growing their hair really long and by getting the occasional tattoo. Nowadays, teenagers express themselves by piercing every orifice they can find. It’s quite interesting to ask people how many piercings they have. I’ve gotten “six” before, but I’ve only noticed two. I try not to imagine where the others might be. Back then, many soldiers got tattoos to signify which platoon or battalion they were in. Everyone seems to be getting them now. Whether It’s for the art, to signify something, or just to “be cool”. Whether its tattoos or piercings, my parent’s generation and my generation still seem to rebel and find outrageous ways of decorating their bodies to do it.

The workplace is a place where the two generations collide. There are people of my generation working with people from the baby-boomer generation. Shelley D. Coolidge explains in her article that the older workers tell the younger workers that they need to be much more patient and relax, while on the other hand, the younger workers find fault in their older coworkers in that they are unadorned (pg. 11).

Dan King says of the Baby-Boom generation (my parent’s generation) that, ” You are… influenced by the indulgence of Beaver Cleaver, the can-do optimism of JFK and the hope of the post-World War II American Dream. But the intense social and political upheaval of Vietnam, Watergate and Woodstock led you to rebel against conformity and to carve a perfectionist lifestyle based on personal values and spiritual growth. Rocked by years of reorganizing, reengineering and relentless change, you long to stabilize your career.” What Dan King means is that their (my parents) generation were stable and in a seemingly perfect world as young persons, but then the 60s and 70s shook society and they have longed to recover from it. He also says of our generation that “You’re the once ubiquitous ‘baby on board,’ the beneficiary of a backlash against hands-off parenting and a cultural elevation of stay-at-home-moms. Coming of age during a shift toward virtue and values, you’ve set your sights on meaningful, purposeful goals.

Your work ethic resembles that of your grandparents who welcomed authority. In seeking personal and professional fulfillment, you have adopted a positive can-do attitude that characterizes your work ethic.” (3) King says of my generation that we are the product of a new culture and that we are most like our grandparent’s generation in our work ethic. Society has changed so much from my parent’s generation to my generation, however. My generation still borrows the same basic ideas, like rebelling against society, and talking about the same subject in a song. Even though both generations seem to conflict in the workplace, they still seem to be able to put differences aside and work together. In spite of this, my generation is still very different from that of my parents. We like to label everything our parents listened to or wore as “stupid” and “un-cool”, but in reality, are we just being hypocrites?


Lyrics.com. “Dancing Queen”. Lyrics.com Accessed 22 Feb. 2003.

A-Z Lyrics. “You Can Do It.” A-Zlyrics.com. Accessed 22 Feb. 2003.

King, Dan. EBSCOhost. Retrieved from jobfind.com. 24 Feb. 2002. Accessed 22 Feb. 2003. http://www.jobfind.com/cc_feature_generations.htm

Coolidge, Shelley Donald. EBSCOhost. Retrieved from “Christian Science Monitor”. 9 Aug. 1999. Accessed 15 Mar. 2003.

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