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Generation X

Economy Is In The Toilet But It's Good To Be X

The economy is in the toilet but it's a good time to be an Xer. Seriously, how often do we hear how hard we Xers have it? We've been called slackers since we were adolescents and even referred to as the Jan Brady generation because we're sandwiched between two such attention-seeking generations.

The economy is in the toilet but it's a good time to be an Xer.

Seriously, how often do we hear how hard we Xers have it? We've been called slackers since we were adolescents and even referred to as the Jan Brady generation because we're sandwiched between two such attention-seeking generations.

The financial crisis has generated more buzz about prolonging Boomer retirements, insinuating that Xers will continue to be ignored and overlooked when it comes to moving into leadership roles. Supposedly Boomers will want-and need-to have second careers after they retire and will continue to push Xers out of the way.

Whatever.

Yes, some Boomers may prolong retirement, come back to work as consultants, or discover new talents in other fields. But can they hack it in a Gen X-lead workforce?

Think about it. When Boomers retire from their first careers, it will be Xers who take their place. The Boomers may have second careers, but almost all will focus on offering some type of service to people other than Boomers.

And let's face it — Xers are different than Boomers. For starters, Xers are results-oriented and Boomers are process-oriented. Entire strategies and companies, like mine, have been created to help Boomers understand their younger counterparts and bridge the generation gap.

It's already difficult for Boomers to work with Xers, and the workplace is Boomer-dominated! It's going to be especially difficult, if not downright impossible, for Boomers to fit into a Gen X-dominated workplace.

In 2007, Time magazine celebrated Generation X on its cover and its article 'Great Xpectations of So-Called Slackers' warned Boomers to beware because Xers were the "next big thing".

Most recently, today's Sydney Morning Herald analyzed the American presidential election declaring it "the kiss of death to the short, unhappy rise to power of the baby-boomer generation." Our next president will be either from the Traditional Generation (the generation Boomers disrespected) or Generation X. (Yes, technically Obama was born at the end of the Boom, but his values, approach, and marketing strategies are characteristics of Gen X.)

Obama has been favored to win the election for quite some time. So it's good to be an Xer, because we'll probably be in the White House.Furthermore, an article in Canada's Globe and Mail referred to Generation Y as Generation Shocked. Parents, professors and career counselors have told this generation they can be whatever they want, and twenty-somethings have always enjoyed their pick of jobs –until now. Which means the advantaged generation will have difficulty dealing with their first economic downturn.

Meanwhile, those of us who are Xers have seen our share of tumultuous economies and we've survived 30 years of on-going layoffs in corporate America. We are resilient and, as the article points out, we have what it takes to succeed.

Ah yes, it's good to be X.

Sarah Sladek

Concerned about declining engagement in our nation’s membership associations, non-profits, and workplaces, Sarah Sladek founded XYZ University, the nation’s first and only generations-focused training and engagement strategy company, in 2002.

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