Weird Views on the News: Generation X, Where are You?
Context: Hey, don’t get cranky on me! I’m not talking about you personally, whatever generation you’re in.
Thanks to my job, I get to do a lot of reading on how the various generations interact in the workplace. Formal reading on the subject – niche magazines, professional organizations – reference 4 generations: Traditionals, Boomers, Gen X, and Gen Y/Millenials. Depending on the publication, I tend to fall somewhere on the border of the last two.
I also come across a number of informal articles on the generations, like blogs, web-mags, etc. However, here’s where my paranoia starts to come out. I’m noticing that more and more of the informal (read: who cares if we’re PC?) business information out there is starting to not bother mentioning Traditionals and Gen Xers anymore. It makes sense for the Traditionals; they’re in retirement age at this point. They have or are on the verge of leaving the workforce. But what’s happening to Gen X?
General speculation today is that Boomers are going to stick out their positions a lot longer than the previous generations. They either don’t have the retirement savings now or they don’t care to retire. Their health is better than any previous generation at their age. They’re up for the challenge. Gen Y are the tech-savvy, highly ambitious, outspoken up-and-comers that the Boomers like to complain about in Internet forums. But where is Gen X?
Ready for the full trip into my weirdness? I’m afraid Gen X is going to disappear, be swept over, like the Silent Generation portion of the Boomers who never really got a say. Secretly, I think the Boomers are impressed with the capabilities and pluck of Gen Y, in a way that they have never been able to express to their Gen X children. And because they’re impressed, they’re going to invest a little more, market a little more, mentor a little more in a way that they never felt compelled to attract Gen X.
Hey, the media taught us that Gen X is full of apathetic, lazy, non-committed slackers, right? I think John Mayer got it right. Gen X is “waiting on the world to change,” but all the waiting in the world isn’t going to change things in favor of a generation half the size of the parties on either side. We lost one-third of Generation X to the legalization and normalization of abortion. Let’s not lose the other two-thirds by assuming stereotypes or forgetting they’re there.