Monday, June 9, 2008

Who rules the (corporate) world?


I have heard Boomers say on frequent occassions that Gen Xers are waiting for them to die so that they can take over the workforce. Sorry guys, it's too late. We already did (and we didn't tell anyone).

After years of having our hands slapped for questioning what was going on in the workforce (for instance, why are we being evaluated for time spent at the desk rather than output of work?), Gen Xers went stealth. We'll talk frankly to each other, but if you are not an Xer, that smile and nod you are receiving does not mean we agree with your well-crafted monologue on how to synergize the office. It means we're planning on doing things our way anyway.

Let's see: I learned from Jeff Gordinier that the real power players are Xers. The founders of Google. The Amazon.com guys. Even Saturday Night Live is representative of what WE think is funny. Oh, and Will Ferrell - he's also an Xer.

The challenge here for Boomers, is that we often will not engage. We won't play "let's brainstorm," because our experience has been that Boomers do what Boomers want anyway. The challenge for Gen Y is often they can't figure out what the heck we're doing and how we get it done, because we're not used to telling.

This is the first post I am doing in a series on the Gen X work experience, how we got where we are, and what Gen Y (and maybe even Boomers) can learn from us. I got the idea from Kristen, a Gen Y who said her generation has trouble learning from the early Gen X experience in the workforce because we don't write about it (which probably goes back to the whole stealth concept). So I'm going to try to make that happen.

8 comments:

Jeff K said...

Good post. The blog is getting awesome (Xer speak).

-JK

Anonymous said...

Amen, I love the stealth concept!

-Lindsey

Connie said...

"I have heard Boomers say on frequent occassions that Gen Xers are waiting for them to die so that they can take over the workforce. Sorry guys, it's too late. We already did (and we didn't tell anyone)."

My reaction is that your last sentence in that paragraph only tells half of the Gen X story. We already took over WHAT WE WANTED and we don't want the rest.

As an X'er I find that I have definite lines I don't want to cross. I do the work that I want to do. But there's a lot of crap in the workforce that I won't do no matter how much money they offer to pay me or what title I'll get. So when a Boomer tries to have a succession planning discussion with me I'll engage but only to shift the conversation to things I want to discuss rather than because I want to take over the workforce.

Kristina said...

I always thought my reluctance to engage on this stuff was a personality quirk. That's probably still true, but maybe it's my generation, too... Hmmm....

Anonymous said...

@connie
awesome awesome awesome post.
-GenerationXpert

Carla S. said...

Connie's comment really amplifies your point:

"We already took over WHAT WE WANTED and we don't want the rest."

I agree, Xers now rule the workplace, since the Boomers have already retired on the job (see http://magazine.carleton.ca/2006_Spring/1733.htm) and are just waiting out their last years. As for Gen Y, I think we want from them what we wanted from the boomers -- respect.

I'm really enjoying your blog!

Carla
http://40-nowwhat.blogspot.com/

Leah A said...

Whoa. That is seriously "I'm not worthy" commentary. Both by Suzanne and Connie! And Kristina? You aren't alone. I think Xers all over the country are thinking its a personality quirk and not a generational thing. As the Xpert has stated, thats our mode of operation.

Anyway, I just wanted to add that I think we're changing ALOT in the workforce with incredible stealth. I can see it all over in my workplace.

I am waiting for a boomer to chime in though. You don't seriously think they'll let this one go by without an argument, do you? LOL

Kristen said...

I have to say i've been slacking on my blog reading, so when I read your posts on 1996 and 1993, I really enjoyed them, and I'd completely forgotten what I'd said until I got to this post!

I have to say that it's a fantastic new feature, and I really appreciate your outlook... sometimes brazen careerist can slate towards your first steps into the workplace, and this is a great balance - a modern voice of experience.

On behalf of Gen Y, Thanks!