The Dark Side Of Millennials and Gen Z In Generational Theory | Podcast 0472

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In this episode of the Personality Hacker podcast, Joel and Antonia chat with INTP media producer and art director Christian Rivera about the generational shadow of Millennials and Gen Z.



In this podcast you’ll find:

  • Co-host Christian Rivera joins.
  • How generational archetypes are defined and divided.
  • Why Millennials and Gen Z are the inverse of Gen X and Baby Boomers.
    • What are generational shadows?
  • How do Millennials view Baby Boomers?
  • The unique challenges Millennials face – and how they handle them.
  • How have previous generations shaped Millennials during their childhood?
  • Some thoughts on Millennials’ social persona.
  • What are Millennials like as parents?
  • How are parents today losing their authority?
  • The downside to the non-committal nature of our younger generations.
  • Why mentorship should be important to Millennials.
    • A note on personal responsibility.
  • Which archetype fits Gen Z and which previous generation do they share this with?
  • Summarizing the Gen Z mindset.
    • How do they communicate their ideas?
  • Using gaming culture to illustrate the differences between Millennials and Gen Z.
  • What motivates Gen Z?
  • How Gen Z are emerging as adults.
  • How can you use generational theory as a tool?



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Showing 12 comments
  • Al

    Thank you for the quality broadcasts on the different generations in okay today. I cannot help but wonder how much happier our lives would be if there wasn’t the unseen group of social engineers deciding the flow of cultural change. The divisiveness between the gens seems so predetermined.The low tolerability for differences in temperament is concerning. Joel indicated that boomers are needed to step up and show up, but as Christian noted, that same authority showing us what the younger gens hold in contempt. Is there hope for any healing on the horizon. Younger gens are more no-contact than ever before with the irrelevant elders. The younger ones are the ones who determine if the elders are irrelevant. The existence of internet & economic wealth drain from boomers = younger gens not feeling they need to keep relationships with older generations.

  • Kevin

    I listened to all the podcasts on generational theory, and they all were fascinating, including this one, but I have to say that this one seemed to drag on. I think it would have benefitted from being shorter.

  • Dan Anear

    Great episode and thoughtful comments here. I’m July 1983 which technically makes me a Millennial although in the past dates that were being used put me into the very young X category. It’s hard to pinpoint the ratio but I do feel more Gen X than Millennial but possibly this is just my ego wanting to be an Xer. What I have found helpful is the idea of a micro generational which has been called Xennial. As one of the few millennial aged folks who remembers a time before the internet and other pre-digital technologies (VCR’s, cassettes, etc) I see the age people were at for the digital revolution as a clear line defining different group/generations especially of course those who’ve only ever known a digital world.

    I suppose in all this lies a suggestion, I’d love to hear a discussion with Christian which looks at the exceptions to the rules and their contributing factors. For example Taylor above like myself doesn’t feel she fits with the generation she ‘should’ be. I suspect numbers of siblings is a big part of this among other factors.

  • Mariannne

    I thought this was a very interesting series – I’m supposed to be GenX (born 1977), but I do identify with some millennial elements, although over time I have equally come to reject many of these elements that I identified with. For example I embraced digital technology, when when it first came about, and yet now I minimise my use of especially social media as I find it to be psychologically toxic when overdone. I identify as INFP, and I reject this current cultural expectation that we all have to be the same in terms of values and mindset in order to be good. That we have to belong to a tribe and adopt every value of said tribe regardless of whether we actually agree with individual aspects (in fact best not to even ask any questions or look too closely at what we supposedly adhere to). It feels dangerous to not agree with the “mob”, and truth seems to be defined by what most people say is true. If the 20th century was driven by extraverted thinking, the 21st century is so far driven by extraverted feeling. Throughout the 1900s, especially the second half which was the time I grew up in – it was all about what you did, what you achieved, the results you could produce, getting to the top, earning the money that would buy you the status you wanted, and if necessary this would be at the expense of weaker people, who deserved to be at the bottom, because they were too stupid to be at the top (including nature, animals, the environment which all have no voice of their own). Only we didn’t realise the system itself is broken, because in order for someone to be at the top, someone has to be at the bottom. In order for there to be a winner, there has to be a loser. Otherwise we would all be winners and then it wouldn’t be the top anymore. The top can only exist in relation to a bottom, it is a state of comparison and thus there is no inherent equilibrium. And I think this is what got the world into the unequal state of the top 1% vs. the bottom 99%, as is often talked about. With no built-in balance, the system is not sustainable, it will implode and destroy itself when all its resources are used up. The 21st century so far is very extraverted feeling dominated where everyone has to be forced into one set of values, one mindset, one way of doing things, regardless of whether it actually works or whether it makes individuals happy. Social cohesion is the most important thing, and we must pay homage to it regardless of the consequences – we must appear to think the same, act the same, value the same things – and those who dare to go against the stream, are at best socially cancelled, at worst relegated into nonexistence. It reminds me of the quote from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”, where the collective mass all say out loud “we are all individuals”, and then a single voice chimes in “I’m not”. With extraverted feeling as the dominant cultural voice, getting to the top is now achieved by having the most followers, by being able to sway the masses. If everyone says you’re the top dog, then you’re the top dog, even if the facts actually indicate otherwise. As a person who leads with an introverted judging function, I wonder if there ever was a time or cultural epoch that wasn’t ruled by an extraverted judging function. Did introverted feeling or introverted thinking ever get to be a culturally dominant voice? Because to me, what I’d like to see more of, is people turning their attention inwards, having honest conversations about individuality – and ultimately comprehend that we are the same because we are different. Just as the only constant in life is change, the only constant among humanity are our differences, and accepting that can be liberating and unifying. We’re all on the same overall path – that of life – but we take different routes, whether this be by choice or by circumstance.

  • Angelica

    As a Millenial I definitely can relate to feeling “deceived” but not necessarily from the Boomer generation, but the GenX generation, because that’s what both my parents are. For instance, my parents owned their first home by the age of 20, and my mom has always been a stay at home wife/mom. I grew up knowing that I would have to put work into whatever I wanted, but I suppose there was this “entitlement” of thinking that I would have what my parents had because they made it seem so simple. So when I was 20 and married, we looked at buying a home, yet at that time the market was already becoming overpriced, making it to where no matter how hard we worked we still couldn’t afford it. So there was a bit of a shock in wondering why my husband and I both working full time jobs still couldn’t acheive some of the things our parents made seem so simple. And then on top of that, there is this lack of understanding from Boomer/GenX of why we’re doing such unconventional things and not following their methods. So it all compounds into this victim feeling that no matter what we do, we won’t acheive what the generations before us had.

    I also relate to the feeling of “Am I doing this right?” or not feeling like I have all the information. Not that I need things spelled out for me, but I realize I need full instruction and expectations of what someone wants. I think this stems from having experiences where I tried to make do with the information I had, only for it to not be good enough or thought of as incompetent, which instilled this fear and almost overcompensation of needing more info.

    This podcast really helped me understand why I may act a certain way, more so that just knowing my personality/enneagram type. Thank y’all for doing this. I always appreciate your input on these matters.

  • Eliana (INFJ)

    As a person that’s a part of Gen Z (born in 2005), I feel like there’s a general mindset of I need to survive. There’s a lot of doing whatever works best for you or whatever gets you to your goal. I’ve seen this show up as a widespread acceptance of dishonest acts. So partaking in dishonest acts or turning a blind eye to it. There’s an acceptance of dishonesty because we think that’s the only way to survive, because we think that everyone is dishonest. Obviously people can incorporate dishonesty in all sorts of ways. I’ve seen it manifest in people who always slack off, steal, cheat, use their peers, and lie. Maybe it’s just my age, but I’ve especially witnessed people being straight up fake. It’s like they’ll do whatever it takes to get to some perceived higher social status. That’s why Gen Z is so collaborative while also being competitive. Because they’re really just competitive and pretending to be collaborative so that they don’t have to work as much, or so that they gain status.

    As for Gen Zs disliking millennials, I think that’s partly true. Of course there’s always exceptions, but I think a lot of Gen Zs have been the objects of millennials’ shadow projections. Put another way, millennials project a sense of authority onto younger people, just to turn around and act clueless. So I think there’s a general feeling of frustration and distrust. Kind of like how millennials experienced a feeling of betrayal and deception from Boomers, it seems like Gen Z and millennials have that relationship. Millennials trusted Boomers and saw that the system was actually faulty, and Gen Z trusted millennials and then found out that the words they were trusting were empty.
    Maybe this is just my experience. I have a millennial sister (ESFJ) and I was constantly lied to and told what to do, but not out of consideration. It was like I was a test subject. I understand how that can be an immature ESFJ thing, but it was that way with other millennials too. I feel like there’s a sense of Gen Z being the annoying little sibling that you don’t want around. Hence why lots of people are so obsessed with personalization and being unique. Like standing out and being admired is a part of surviving. Or maybe I was just an annoying little kid, who knows?

    I think the way Gen Z should reconcile their shadow is by realizing that they don’t have power over whether or not they “survive.”Ultimately, they can’t control that. So they should turn their focus to being good, honest people because they understand how it feels to be used and stomped on.

    So, advice I have for parents is to model what you want to see. You can teach your kids whatever you want, but at this point in time, your voice is going to be battling against thousands of other voices in the world. If they have experiential proof that what you say has value because you modeled it for them, that’s how they’ll know they can trust your voice.
    As for the “what’s in it for me?” question, don’t shy away from explaining why you want them to do something. If you don’t have a good explanation, is it possible that your in a bad mood and just being bossy? This comes back to what I was saying earlier with millennials bossing Gen Z around. I personally have experienced not wanting to do something unless I know why and agree. If I don’t understand why I’m doing something, I don’t trust that it needs to be done. And if it needs to be done, I want a say on how it gets done.

    Okay that’s a lot. Hopefully something in there makes sense or is helpful.

    • Joel Mark Witt

      Thank you Eliana for sharing your perspectives and experience with us.

    • Taylor

      Eliana, this is such a thoughtful and engaged answer! I’m nine years older than you (1996), which means I *should* be a Millennial, but I really resonate with that fakeness and overwhelming desire to lie to ourselves or others about who we are in order to succeed (whether that’s at fitting in or trying to be more successful). It is such a tricky and exhausting balance. I also think that, as a young person who’s totally saturated in the tensions and conversations about generational/political/cultural/economic/racial/moral differences, it can be hard to find yourself in those arguments except that you’re the ones being talked about, rather than included. I do think youth has a part of it, and so I’m curious how Gen Z will interact with the world once they/we are older and others see us as experienced/educated enough to have an opinion worth listening to.

  • Catlyn

    This was an awesome podcast series! Lots of journaling and reflective moments while listening and afterwards.

    This podcast really helped clarify some of the questions that have been swirling around opaquely in the mists of the shadow.

  • Jessica Kemp


    I was listening to the podcast while cooking dinner and…

    My 12 year old—who has an ear for any grown-up conversation she’s not a part of—was definitely listening too. ?


    • Joel Mark Witt

      That is very cool that your 12 year old listens in. Thanks for sharing Jessica.

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