I’m sure you encountered these terms multiple times in the last few years, in a time when the cultural transition from the old suit-and-tie business culture to the jeans-and-tee-shirt type business, from Steve Ballmer to Satya Nadella, from Blackberry to Adnroid was happening. You know, the general agilization of things, the cool down from horrific patent battles to a more compromising and collaborative culture. We are indeed at a point in culture, business and tech history where major changes are maturing, since they started happening shrouded in doubt about a decade ago.

I’m also willing to bet that you heard those terms somewhere around Linkedin, business reviews, or personal development and HR management circles. This trending classification of generations in appearance, which I think is rather a classification of cultures and personalities at heart, is becoming more and more present in alarmingly “serious” circles. When I open Linkedin, it’s like everyone has a new way to label and classify people according to this highly deficient cluster. No seriously, go ahead, open a new tab and check what Pulse has to suggest to you.

But wait a minute, why am I so angry against these labels? After all they mainly designate generations according to the decade in which the people in question grew up, and that could certainly tell us a non-negligible fraction of what their culture, motivation and thinking looks like.

The thing is although classifying people according to this “standard” is often made to sound savvy and inner-circle-esque, the classification is done in a very risky manner, generalizing observations made on a tiny subset to define a whole generation’s culture, thinking and even work ethics. Another alarming observation is that this classification seems often to target millennial and generation Y, the youngest, thus reproducing the ever controversial yet comfortable “those young people” sterile debates. I have seen theses like “millennial are not committed to their employer”, “generation X is more rational/levelheaded/down-to-earth than millennial and generation Y”, “baby boomers were more responsible and sought stability above all else”, “those millennial and their apps and smartphones”, “Y and millennial don’t value family”, etc… I am sure you have seen your share of what by now seems like hasty nonsensical generalizations.

But what is most alarming is that my Linkedin feed is starting to fill with articles by HR people arguing the merits of one of the not-so-varied versions of this classification. I felt the need to write this article because it reached a point where it became like a self-complacent labelling and prejudice-fed dance, quickly trending and inducing, I am tempted to say childish debates, which is honestly frightening to see on a “professional” network. I mean if HR people, tasked to identify candi

So here it is: this is pure age-based profiling, which is not serious or grown-up at all. Need I even argue that this classification offers no concrete profile for a person you have yet to meet and exchange with? Here’s an attempt: I am a 27-year-old Software Engineer, born in Tunisia, lived in France for a while, traveled around, done community work, typical geek multicultural Y. Favorite music? Dubstep, trap step, 110bpm genres, instrumental epics, typical millennial distorted sound waves junkie. What’s my long-term goal? Invent something awesome, develop a startup, profit, like a typical big-dreaming Y/millennial, oh but my ultimate dream? Surprise: own an olive farm in Tunisia and have a solar-energy-powered home with a small well and a cool eco waste management system, X much? Even baby boomer-ish. Do I want to “boom babies” around? Nope. Classify this, smarty pants.

One final thought: this is a classic fake debate hype that will go away once enough people start denouncing it and seeing it for the major waste of time it is, and it saddens me that after culturally developing anti-labelling and prejudice reflexes, we are still faced with these sneaky prejudice-filled hype-inducing bad thought bubbles. We have a long way to go before acknowledging individuals for who they are individually, in spite of the progress we think we are making.

Originally published on linkedin