As I watched the remarkable Inauguration Day events on television, I realized that they represented a huge step forward for my “generation.”
You see, tail-end Baby Boomers — those of us born in the late 50s and early 60s — often have found ourselves sandwiched between the heart of the Boomer generation and Generation X. Though technically Boomers, we did not experience the 1960s the same way; we missed being a part of that by just a few years. Though schooled during the early dawn of the computer age, our formative years predated the Digital Revolution. Again, we just missed.
To many, Obama vs. Clinton represented diversities of race vs. gender, but for me personally, the generational difference carried a ton of meaning as well. To see someone in his late 40s — a person of the ‘Tweener Generation — assuming the mantle of national leadership is an encouraging sign that finally we’ve been able to leave the kids’ table and compel our older Boomer siblings to make some room for us, however grudgingly.
Does this mean we’ll see a proverbial “new generation of leadership” in the workplace as well? The Baby Boomer generation on the whole has not been noted for its ability to share the torch (much less pass it), and this has definite implications for power, inclusion, and opportunity at work.
Against that reality, it’s hard to say whether Obama symbolizes the arrival the ‘Tweeners. But it does suggest that we’re staking our claim.