November 29, 2019 — In case you hear this comment from a millennial, Gen X, or Yer, it is NOT a compliment. It is a dismissal, as in, “OK, baby boomer, you have a lot to say, but your day is over. Kindly step aside.” Younger folks tend to use this term on social media to respond to anybody over 30 who says something condescending about young people .
Perhaps we deserve it, justice served a generation later. Certainly we baby boomers are awfully proud of how we changed things back in the day – our music, rebellions, cultural shifts. Today we seem to think we know everything and have strong opinions – millennials are lazy, the younger generation doesn’t know about hard work, etc. Sound familiar: Remember how we were convinced, back in the day, that our parents knew nothing and we knew it all.
One famous use of the term occurred in the New Zealand legislature when an older member heckled a young representative about climate change.
Responding to the term can be tricky. AARP got egg on its face when Myrna Blyth, senior vice president of AARP, snapped back at the term “OK, boomer.”
“OK, millennials. But we’re the people that actually have the money,”AARP Senior VP Myrna Blyth
That comment came off exactly like the arrogant kind of thing that the younger generation is responding to when they say “OK, Boomer”. It immediately generated outrage in almost every demographic, including baby boomers. Millennials, Gen X, Y, and Z struggle to buy homes, pay their college debts, don’t have pensions, and worry that Social Security will be there for them. The AARP official’s gloating response hit the wrong chord and immediately went viral.
Other experts have cautioned young workers about using the term on the job, which could prompt a charge of agism.
Bottom line. So far nobody has said “OK, Boomer” to us, or at least that we could hear. We are taking the view that there might be something in it, and that we can learn from the sentiment. We’ll try to be a little more humble about how much we know, own, and how cool we were back in the day. Getting along is a good thing! Please share your reactions in the Comments section below.