Ever since I was a little girl, I had the feeling that there would be a cataclysm of enormous proportions during my lifetime. So when the COVID-19 pandemic was announced in March 2020, I was sure ‘This is it!’.

I couldn’t imagine exactly how things would go bad, but I was sure they would. And I started waiting… and wondering how the undeniable moment, after which the world would drastically change, would manifest itself. Are they going to announce it or will everyone find out on their own? Who are they and how do they know? … 

Influenced by apocalyptic movies about the future, I pictured it would be sudden and simultaneous for all people on Earth – like a massive blackout. 

According to the sociologist Karl Mannheim and his Theory of Generations people are significantly influenced by notable historical events, and this is what shapes future generations.

I always had an interest in generation gaps and couldn’t miss the opportunity to conduct research on how a notable event, such as a global pandemic, is influencing different generations, taking into account the urgency to produce insightful data on how our lives are changing in such confusing and difficult times. 

In the beginning of the pandemic a lot of medical terms, health hazards and restrictions flooded my mind – cross contamination, droplet transmission, flattening the curve, viral shedding, etc. 

Everything was loud and clear to me - stay at home as much as possible, no handshakes and hugs until further notice, keep a routine…

Growing up as a child in the 80’s in Bulgaria, abiding the rules was probably ‘injected’ into me in the kinder-garten, so I was very disciplined with my anti COVID-19 behavioral strategies – I wore a mask and gloves everywhere, everything was strictly sanitized and I was blissfully imagining that every educated human being was doing the same. 

How very presumptuous and naive of me? Sometimes I surprise myself like this.

In my work I communicate mostly with Xennials and Millenials , however my friends bubble spreads across all generations and this helped me to see the other side of the story. After the first clashes of values ​​and beliefs with my father and other Baby Boomers , some free mindedMillennials and a few opportunistic Generation Zs , I started recognizing patterns. But I needed more. 

In the months that followed, I took every chance to speak with people about the effect of the pandemic on their professional, social and personal lives. Eventually I started a brief online survey that gathered data from about 270 people mostly living in Bulgaria and The Netherlands. Please feel free to submit your answers, it’s still open.

In conclusion, my online and offline research showed me that:

Generation X and Xennials seem to be suffering the least negative effects in their career path, more than a few even got a better job or business opportunities. I see those generations as the backbone of society, because they are supporting the oldest and raising the youngest generations. So it’s a good thing they feel steady! 

Millennials reported the most positive overall effect of the pandemic even though they were the ones with the most negative changes in the work and relationship status, with the highest rate of ‘felt distracted’ and lowest rate of ‘worked harder’ and ‘became better’ . 

Regarding work performance, motivation and mobilization were key factors with Baby Boomers and Generation Xs , as opposed to the progressing ‘loss of motivation’ in the next generations, reaching 50% in Generation Zs answers. The silver lining is that despite this, Generation Z felt least distracted and had the biggest rate of ‘worked harder’ and ‘became better’. 

That makes me wonder what was holding them back before? FOMO (fear of missing out) may be? Is it possible that they have started experiencing JOMO (joy of missing out) during the restrictions of COVID-19?


One of my unexpected findings That was as though every generation has people with no online social life, the most answers in mannerville That came from Generation Z . I am already witnessing this desire to unplug, to have long breaks from social media and hopefully this tendency will go on stronger. It’s great that we can all be connected online, but if we want to develop our communication skills, it’s important to stay in touch with people offline as well. 

Imagine my happiness when the statistics showed that Millennials and Generation Z started ‘calling’ more instead of ‘chatting’. In my world that's another piece of good news!

Аll generations said online communication has increased, but the ones who didn’t feel awkward switching to live meetings were Baby BoomersandGeneration Xs.Unlike them Xennials showed the lowest rate of ‘continue socializing as normal’ afterwards, despite that they were having the most online social gatherings during lockdown. I am still figuring this out … 

Sadly no Baby Boomers or Generation Xs in my research said they got more socially engaged.

But thankfully with each succeeding generation, the number of these answers grew, reaching the highest point in Millennials (25%) and Generation Z (15%). Another positive note is that the same generations put focus on their own life, started prioritizing and became more active in matters important to them.

The most disturbing result from the research was that 50% of Generation Z said they have felt lonely and depressed during the pandemic.

Most Millennials and Baby Boomers answered that there is no change in their view of the world. At the same time only people under the age of 45 marked they felt ‘distanced from some friends because of different views’. 

I can see the change happening, but don’t think that every generation will see it at the same time. Obviously this change is not going to be sudden and visible to everyone as a blackout, but it is coming. We are now only beginning to grasp it.

Another interesting thing came up a lot in my conversations, news feed and in the results of the research: the parallel between the anti COVID-19 measures and the reality George Orwell depicted in his books ‘1984’ and ‘Animal farm’ . Reading and watching more and more about this parallel, dark thoughts clouded my mind. Were there any other possible scenarios? Maybe Aldous Huxley’s “ Brave New World ”? Not a good prospect again. 

I could easily see how these two visions of a dystopia might now mix and grow into a new, even worse form. But I am not going into that dark rabbit hole at all. 


My hopes and dreams for the future are to leave those generation gaps in the past and step on a road of intergenerational collaboration, learning and actively caring about the wellbeing of all ecosystems. To some of you this might sound idealistic and utopian, but I know that also there are so many of you who have already chosen the alternative paths out of the broken systems in your life. Otherwise there wouldn’t be possible examples such as Auroville , The Venus Project , Ecosia, Blockchain, Banca Etica and many, many more. 

Please let us know what you think by answering to the poll link below. 

[poll id = “11347”]


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