- The term “geriatric millennial” divided the Internet this spring in a viral Medium article.
- The author spoke to Insider about why it both resonated with and offended readers.
- She also shared the hallmarks of a geriatric millennial and how they straddle the workplace’s digital divide.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Author and leadership expert Erika Dhawan never expected the term “geriatric millennial” to go viral.
A self-identified geriatric millennial (which she defines as elder millennials born in the early 1980s), Dhawan told Insider she first heard the term at brunch with friends and related to it. But when she wrote about this micro-generation’s influence in connecting older and younger generations in the workforce for Medium this past spring, it quickly went mainstream and divided the Internet.
While many, like Dhawan, related to the term, others were offended by it.
“I think that the fact that the word’geriatric’ carried such a negative connotation really also has the question: What’s wrong with being old?” she said. “The way that individuals reacted, I think should encourage all of us to start a reflection on how we view older members of our society.”
Dhawan said she’s spent a decade investigating, researching, and finding new ways to encourage collaboration and communication in the workplace, which she explores in her new book, “Digital Body Language.” She said that while interviewing American workers, she found that some micro -generations were “impossible to ignore.”
She said that geriatric millennials are unique because they straddle a digital divide between older and younger generations in the workplace, which enables them to bridge communication styles.
The hallmarks of this micro-generation aren’t meant to exclude younger millennials who may have experienced them as well, she added.
“What it’s really meant to do is pinpoint a specific moment in time where the digital tools were primitive and where we were coming of adulthood,” she said. “We can look at all millennials as being the same, but there are differences based on our experiences at different life stages.”
Meet the typical geriatric millennial, according to Dhawan.