Sunday, 8 November 2009
Generation X - A Little Older Than Me
The letter "X" originally suggested the ambiguous, misunderstood, disheartened generation. Gen X can be described as growing up with MTV, Pac Man and The Breakfast Club. Pressed between two large generations of the Baby Boomers and Gen Y, Gen X is also characterized with having the middle child syndrome - always being ignored and underappreciated. Like sibling rivalry, with Boomers as the self-righteous eldest and Millennials as the pampered baby with a sense of entitlement. The media has focused a lot of its attention on the Baby Boomers entering into retirement, social security problems, health issues and the rise of biotech. With even more spotlight, the media is fascinated with tabloids of today’s youth, their lifestyle, their relationships, and more of the same monotony. Gen X are feeling overlooked and invisible. They have a generational chip on our shoulders. Generation X encompasses those born between 1965 and 1980. Members of Generation X are largely in their 30’s and early 40’s. On the whole, they are more ethnically diverse and better educated than the Baby Boomers. Over 60% of Generation X attended college. Generation X came of age in an era of two-income families, rising divorce rates and a faltering economy. Women were joining the workforce in large numbers, spawning an age of “latch-key” children. As a result, Generation X is independent, resourceful and self-sufficient. In the workplace, Generation X values freedom and responsibility. Many in this generation display a casual disdain for authority and structured work hours. They dislike being micro-managed and embrace a hands-off management philosophy. The Generation X mentality reflects a shift from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. The first generation to grow up with computers, technology is woven into their lives. This generation is comfortable using PDAs, cellphones, e-mail, laptops, Blackberrys and other technology employed in the legal workplace. Many Gen Xers lived through tough economic times in the 1980s and saw their workaholic parents lose hard-earned positions. Thus, Generation X is less committed to one employer and more willing to change jobs to get ahead than previous generations. They adapt well to change and are tolerant of alternative lifestyles. Generation X is ambitious and eager to learn new skills but want to accomplish things on their own terms. Unlike previous generations, members of Generation X work to live rather than live to work. They appreciate fun in the workplace and espouse a work hard/play hard mentality. Generation X managers often incorporate humor and games into work activities.