When's the last time you read an article about the collective situation of Gen X?
Right - because no one cares. Nirvana, Eddie Vedder, the grunge thing, maybe a little bit of angst thrown in - that was about it. Then Gen X went to work. No blogs talking about how much work is intolerable, no helicopter parents questioning our rejections - just plugging into working America and figuring it out.
By the time everyone started talking about the Boomers retiring and how self-absorbed Gen Y was, we were part of the machine. Looking a little bit like boomers, and ultimately a bit like Gen Y.
What's got me thinking about that? Ryan Healy has a post up called "A Message to Gen X" at Employee Evolution. From Ryan's riff:
"Most of the questions I get from Human Resources and Recruiting professionals about Generation Y are the same. They are all about why this generation expects to get so much so fast, why we feel entitled to flexibility, why we think we deserve high pay immediately, and so forth. The thing that surprises me every time is that it’s not the Baby Boomers who are so upset with Gen Y, it’s the Gen Xers. The more I pay attention, the more obvious it is that it’s the Gen Xers who think we’re just lazy, entitled Millennials.
The problem is that Generation X did not get what they asked for, and Generation Y is seemingly being catered to like we are owed something."
Ryan's take includes the opinion that Gen Y is better positioned to take the reigns from the Boomers than Gen X - due to the following factors - 1) better demographics (raw numbers), 2) better use of technology, and 3) better teamwork. It's an interesting read, worth your time.
Here's my take - numbers are numbers, so if Gen Y has more people, that's cool. But I honestly don't know a Gen X professional who is upset about the attitude of Gen Y. The coolest thing for me as a Gen X'er is that the Y's are focused on work/life balance, and that has a spillover effect to everyone in the workforce. As for the technology piece, if an X is in trouble because they haven't kept up with technology or marketing trends that follow, that's an individual limitation you can't pin on our entire generation.
I'll leave the teamwork evaluation for another day.
When it comes to stereotypes about generations, see this post by John Hollon of Workforce. It may have been obvious to you, but amidst all the talk about the Millennial, I forgot one very important fact. Some of them aren't going to be very good. Some will be great, some will be average, some are going to stink.
The workplace sorts it all out on an individual level. Big box stereotypes about entire generations are marketing hype.
Now - back to my Nirvana/Pearl Jam collector's business on eBay....