ⓘ Cusper


ⓘ Cusper

A cusper is a person born near the end of one generation and the beginning of another. People born in these circumstances tend to have a mix of characteristics common to their adjacent generations, but do not closely resemble those born in the middle of their adjacent generations.


1. Background

Generational profiles are built based on people born in the middle of a generation rather than those on the tails of a generation. Generations may overlap by as little as five to eight years. As such, many people identify with aspects of at least two generations. The precise birth years defining when generations start and end vary.


2. Notable cusper groups

Date ranges

  • Just before the 1920s, as identified by Graeme Codrington.

Date ranges

  • 1977-1981 as identified by Doree Shafrir writing for Slate
  • 1977-1983 as identified by Deon Smit and Merriam-Webster
  • 1977-1985 as identified by Business Insider

2.1. Notable cusper groups Date ranges

  • Just before the 1920s, as identified by Graeme Codrington.

2.2. Notable cusper groups Date ranges

  • 1940-1945 as identified by Lancaster and Stillman, authors of When Generations Collide as well as The Mayo Clinic
  • 1933-1945 as identified by Susan Mitchell
  • 1939-1945 as identified by Claire Raines Associates
  • 1943-1948 as identified by Deon Smit writing for HR Future

2.3. Notable cusper groups Characteristics

Claire Raines Associates names these cuspers the Sandwich Group. Susan Mitchell calls these cuspers the Swing Generation. According to the Mayo Clinic, these cuspers have the work ethic of the Silent Generations, but like Baby Boomers will often challenge the status quo. Codrington describes them as having the status-seeking, career advancement motivations as Baby Boomers. Codrington adds that they are old enough to remember World War II, but were born too late to enjoy the 1960s. Hart notes that research has found the younger members of the Silent Generation tended to share more traits with Baby Boomers. Writer Marian Botsford Fraser described women in this cusper population as girls who ".did not smoke dope at high school, go to rock concerts, toy with acid and the pill and hippie boyfriends at university or tour Europe with a backpack." Instead, she notes "These girls wore crinolines and girdles, went to The Prom, went to nursing school and teachers college, rarely university." Speaking of Susan Mitchells population specifically they are believed to be an anomaly in that they tend be more activist and free thinkers than those born prior to them in the Silent Generation. Lancaster and Stillman echo this last point and note that these cuspers were on the frontlines of Americas internal struggles as adults, agitating in favor of human rights. They go on to say many women among these cuspers entered in to male-dominated workplaces before the womens movement existed, blazing a trail for other generations of women to follow.


2.4. Notable cusper groups Date ranges

  • 1960-1965 as identified by Lancaster and Stillman, Mayo Clinic and Andrea Stone writing in USA Today
  • 1958-1967 as identified by Mark Wegierski of the Hudson Institute.
  • 1954-1965 as identified by Jonathan Pontell
  • 1962-1967 as identified by Deon Smit.
  • 1964-1969 as identified by Codrington.


2.5. Notable cusper groups Characteristics

This population is sometimes referred to as Generation Jones, These cuspers were not as financially successful as older Baby Boomers. They experienced a recession like many Generation Xers but had a much more difficult time finding jobs than Generation X did. While they learned to be IT-savvy, they didnt have computers until after high school but were some of the first to purchase them for their homes. They were among some of the first to take an interest in video games. They get along well with Baby Boomers, but share different values. While they are comfortable in office environments, they are more relaxed at home. Theyre less interested in advancing their careers than Baby Boomers and more interested in quality of life.


2.6. Notable cusper groups Date ranges

  • 1977-1981 as identified by Doree Shafrir writing for Slate
  • 1977-1983 as identified by Deon Smit and Merriam-Webster
  • 1977-1985 as identified by Business Insider

2.7. Notable cusper groups Characteristics

The Generation X/Millennial cuspers are most commonly referred to as Xennials, although other names include The Oregon Trail Generation, Generation Catalano and The Lucky Ones. Researchers point out that these cuspers have both the healthy skepticism of Generation X and the optimism of Millennials. They are likely to challenge authority, but also are more career-focused than Generation X. While not all of these cuspers are digital natives, they are very comfortable with technology.


2.8. Notable cusper groups Characteristics

Colloquially, often referred to as Zillenials or Millenialz. Referred to as MinionZ by Smit. Those born in the transition period between Generations Y and Z had access to the internet from the later part of their childhood and are considered by some to be digital natives, while still retaining some or few memories from before the rise of the World Wide Web and social media such as YouTube and Facebook. In regards to politics and social issues, they bear more social liberal views, like Millennials, while demonstrating a level of skepticism and insecurity when it comes to finances and their family environment, a common trait among Generation Z, in part due to growing up in the aftermath of 9/11 and during a period of global economic recession.


3. Workplace importance

Communication misunderstandings between employees of different generations are detrimental to workplace morale, increasing turnover and absenteeism while decreasing job satisfaction, work commitment and productivity. Effective communication between employees of different generations, however, allows for collaborative relationships and ensures that information is retained from one generation to the next. Cuspers play an important role in multi-generational workplaces and other organizations. Metaphorically cuspers are like bridges or glue that connect members of their adjacent major generations. Between generations, they are naturally skilled at mediating, translating, mentoring and managing. Strategically placing cuspers in the workplace has the potential to reduce generational workplace friction and give organizations doing so a competitive advantage.


4. Generational identity

Many cuspers dont feel a sense of belonging to a specific generation. Researchers studying generational subculture theory have speculated that there may be populations within larger generational cohorts whose values are more in line with those of preceding generations, for example, someone born in the range of Generation X who has a moral philosophy more similar to the Silent Generation. The generational fuzziness theory purposes that ones generation is best defined as the combination of ones birth year and generational identity - the cultural generation to feel most similar to.

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