Tuesday, December 15, 2009
This is not a slam on Millennials. It has nothing to do with them, really. But I just don't think they are going to pass us up - and I really don't think they're doing it right now. The reason is - I don't know and haven't met a single Xer who this has happened to. I hear Xers say it's happening - but they have no personal experience of it. It reminds me of the urban myth of the woman who fell asleep in the tanning bed and fried her internal organs. It's always someone's aunt who knows someone this happened to.
In the past they said Xers would not ever own their own homes. Yet we do. They said we'd never make more money that their parents. Everyone I know does. They said lots of bad stuff that never ended up happening.
Penelope Trunk, who loves Millennials more than any Xer in the world, said that history will mark Gen Xers the real revolutionaries of this era. She also says nobody wants to read about Gen X. I would add - people like to read about the doom and gloom of the Gen X experience - they just don't want to hear a lot of good stuff.
So I thought I'd take a poll. If you are an Xer, please answer honestly. If you answer yes, please tell us about it in the comment section. If you're not an Xer, please feel free to leave a comment, but please don't take the poll.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
My question is - is it really true?
I've had my share of tough times. However, at 38 (almost 39), I have a great job, a great family, a great house, and I live in a great small town. It got me thinking - is the media out to "get" us?
It's true that our generation is smaller. However, although we're only 20% of the population, we're 42% of the workforce (see chart above). That's the largest chunk of any generation working today.
Also, the median age of CEOs in this country is getting lower. Today it's 48.8 years old (45.7 years old for those working for IT companies). The oldest Xers (if you don't count Generation Jones, which I do, but I'm not counting them here) is 44. Well, if half the CEOs are under 48.8 - most of that half are Xers.
It's true, we had it rough starting out. But is it really that dismal for us? Does the data back it up?
I'm curious what you all think.
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Lambert says that people are upset about his performance because he's gay. I would say it's because he simulated oral sex on stage. I don't care whose head he put to his crotch - I don't need to see it. Some people argue that kids may be watching. I argue that I AM WATCHING.
I also think that Lambert saying this is a gay issue is extremely demeaning to gays. Is he REALLY trying to tell us that this is the gay experience - orgies with whips, chains, and a lot of aggression?
Earlier in the AMA show, Carrie Underwood came out all skanked up, too. Granted, she wasn't engaging in simulated group sex, but she wore an outfit that looked like her panties were showing.
I guess I'm just not getting it. These are two really talented people. We're tuning in to hear your voice - not see your privates.
Now bear with me on this. I know I'm writing a little long today, but sometimes that's just how my brain works.
Last night my husband and I watched Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, which starred Gen X poster boy John Cusack. That got me thinking about our own X entertainment icons. Cusack, Garofolo, Ringwald, Dr. Dre, 2Pac, Fey, Elliott, Wahlberg, Wilson, Diaz. It's not that they're squeeky clean - but getting (or giving) a BJ on stage?
I guess I'm having a hard time getting my head around this idea. Seems like if you're a talented Millennial in entertainment who's starting to get some attention then it's time to show your panties. Or your boobies. Or to gyrate the franks and beans in some one's face.
Maybe that's the 21st Century version of getting old - you don't understand why talent can't just stand its own.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Today, I came across the Muppets "cover" of Bohemian Rhapsody - and I don't have the same feelings of indignation. Should I?
You got to love Animal :)
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
While I'm writing this, the blogger in question has not yet chimed in on how Xers and Millennials delegate, but I'm assuming she will say that we're not as good as the Boomers (which is fine for her to say, because blogs are about our opinions).
My experience, however, has been that Xers are willing to let go of tasks, but don't always give enough direction to those they're delegating to (unless it's another Xer). That's because, as my husband would say, the Xer mantra is "f*$#ing figure it out." My experience with Millennials (which has been mostly in the classroom as an instructor) is that they're great at delegating and dividing up the work, because they've spent so much of their youth working in teams.
But, again, I don't have any empirical data on any of this. So I figured that I ask you all. Below is a poll. Feel free to comment, too, if you like.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
1. We have redefined success. Making money is good, but we’re willing to sacrifice some of that for control over our time.
2. A lot of us a true knowledge workers. Management is a trap. We’d rather write, than watch people write or solve engineering problems rather than watch people solve engineering problems. For a whole bunch of Xers, management is about watching others do the job you love.
Find the right boss. A lot of people think it’s all about the work. For me, it’s all about the boss. When I’ve had bosses who understand me, I was happy. When I had bosses who didn’t, I was miserable. The right boss for me may not be the right boss for you. What do you need? A mentor? Someone who’s hands off? A drill sergeant?
Be like Hannibal Lector. No, not a cannibal. Patient. Hannibal Lector was very patient in stalking his prey. Patience at work was one of the hardest things for me to learn. But if you want to accomplish your goals, you need other people to do it. And most of the time it takes time to get them to see your way.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
I say amusing, because it did make me laugh. It is fun to make fun of the hippies rolling around in the mud at Woodstock. But it also got me thinking about the attacks on Boomers that the anniversary of Woodstock has brought on, why they are really being written, and do Gen Xers really care about that anymore?
What I mean is that we have heard about Woodstock, Studio 54, whatever, blah blah blah, for our whole lives. By now, doesn't it go in one ear and out the other? Like when your grandma tells you stories about the depression - they were probably poignant at one time, but after the billionth time they become background noise.
What do you think? Do we care enough to write our pithy retorts?
Photo: Two hippies make a difference at Woodstock
Friday, August 21, 2009
Monday, August 17, 2009
Blogger JenX67 often talks about the ground-breaking book “Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret” – in fact she’s named her own blog after that title. I, of course, read that and many other Judy Blume titles. But it wasn’t just the “classics” that got me through my rough junior high years.
There was a girl in junior high school that stalked and harassed me for about three years. She used to follow me home from school every day and yell “bitch.” It was pretty bad. In fact, when I got to the first corner turn, I’d run as fast as I could to get to the next block to escape the harassment. There's a whole bunch of other stuff, but I don't talk about it anymore. It's just over.
Like many girls my age, I was told to ignore it. THIS NEVER WORKS. Therefore, I was a really easy target – hey, why not bully Suzanne? She’s not going to do anything about it. I look back now and realize if I would have just gotten in this girl’s face and told her to go fuck herself, it would have stopped. I may have gotten punched (which was really unlikely, because looking back at this person, she was far more insecure than me), but I would have saved myself a lot of heartache. I was well into my 30s when I learned to stand up to bullies at work.
In 7th grade, specifically, I didn’t have a lot of friends. I’m sure the other girls didn’t want to risk the same thing happening to them. But I did have my books.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Take a look at the trailer and tell me you know what to make it your next NetFlix selection.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 3, 2009
Today I saw this video on http://www.punkrockhr.com/ and I thought, is Craig Ferguson an Xer? The answer: Well, kind of. He was born in 1962. So enjoy the video. And I'd love to hear your thoughts on when Xers started gracing this Earth - and why you picked that year.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
I think what’s missing in these discussions is the value of wisdom. Learning from your mistakes. Learning because you’ve spent many many years dealing with assholes. Learning because you have to keep learning to succeed.
In the end, I think it comes down to relationship building and patience. And those things you learn from experience.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Although I think he's got some valid points - and he's right that generalizations are dangerous - I disagree that your generational footprint doesn't matter.
I think there are a lot of Gen Xers specifically who can vouch for me. We entered a workforce in the 1990s that was dominated by Boomers. And Boomers like process. So there was always a "right way" and a "wrong way" to do things - and there was no handbook for the Xers. So we did what we always do - start "doing" and learn as we go. And that caused quite a bit of conflict.
The Boomers process orientation came from their formative cohort experiences - they read Dick and Jane (everyone has a role and nobody crosses into other's roles), they went to schools that were overcrowded (teachers needed strict order to avoid adolescent chaos), and they went to college when all the rules were changing (and yet there were still rules).
The Gen Xers "learn as we go" orientation came from their formative cohort experiences - watching Sesame Street (learn by playing), playing video games (who ever read the directions to Pac Man?), and going to school during a time when things weren't so strict (my Boomer mom took handwriting class - during my high school experience, content was important - not penmanship.)
I can see why Gen Ys would be annoyed with new labels being applied to them. Xers hated it too. And Ys aren't as different from Xers as Xers were than Boomers in the 90s. It's all about living through technological change as a kid. The Boomers were grown up by the time technological change started really revving up. But although the technology may have been different between the X and Y youth - the change was the same.
So the Y's are entering a workforce that's not all that foreign to them - yet they're being treated like foreigners. But that doesn't mean their helicopter parents, over-scheduled childhoods, and living through 9/11 as children doesn't impact their adult behaviors.
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Last night I watched the finale of my new favorite show.
I've developed a small obsession with The Real Housewives of New Jersey. In fact, I kind of want to be a real housewife of New Jersey.
I find this fetish of my a little odd considering I am a feminist of the Susan Faludi variety, I am conflict-avoidant, and I typically don't like reality TV (the last reality TV show I had an interest in was the Real World season 3. Poor Pedro.)
So why the obssession with TRHJN? I think it's the over-the-top Gen X drama. Most Gen Y reality TV consists of young honeys running around with their chi chis hanging out and fighting over some guy. But this show was part family loyalty, part standing up to the mean girl, part wearing some obnoxiously large bling bling, and part big hair.
In a way, it's bizarro Gen X world.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Do you think there is an assumption that Xers are younger than we really are? Or do we act – or look – younger than we are? I’m interested in your opinions on this one.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Recently a comment on this blog by JenX67 got me thinking about the Boomer-Xer riff that’s been going on forever. You see, I’ve really lightened up on the Boomers over the last year, mostly because I work with a bunch of them that have been really cool to me. And they do the things I think most Xers want from their Boomer colleagues like teach you stuff and then encourage you to take things to the next level and then don’t get in your way.
I think there are some Boomers who have this idea that Xers are waiting for them to die so that the Xers can take over. Literally, that’s the phrase I’ve heard used - “waiting for us to die.” But the thing is, I don’t think most Xers want what Boomers have. I think Xers would like to keep what Boomers got right (like making it okay for professional women to do something other than be a teacher, secretary, or nurse) – but then dump the stuff they screwed up.
I read this article about writer Matt Bai who decided not to write a book about President Obama so that he could write a book about what the Boomers didn’t get right in politics. In the interview, Bai talks about Gary Hart and how he was a creative thinker, but he was flawed and therefore rejected by the Boomer establishment (we also saw this with Bill Clinton). Bai also said he wanted to write this book for Xers and future generations so that these problems could be addressed.
But the article was obviously edited by a Boomer with the “waiting for us to die” philosophy. The headline was “Bai to Boo Boomers in New Book.” I’m assuming that’s because if a Gen X writes a critical analysis of the Boomer legacy, it would mean he’s booing the Boomers. Whatever.
So it makes sense to me that a lot of my fellow Xers are fed up with this kind of thing. But I ask you to look for that Boomer in your life who doesn’t fall into the Boomer stereotype – because it will be those people who build the bridges to younger generations. It’s those people who realize that although we are not waiting around for them to die, they will eventually die. And the impact they have on the future begins with the impact they have on the Xers.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Mom didn't get it.
Since I have DVR going, I rewinded it.
Mom still didn't get it.
After the third time, I had to just explain it to her.
Generational issue? Probably not. But since she told me not to write about it on my blog...
Monday, May 11, 2009
And apparently, so am I. But besides that, I still enjoy your blog, even if we do have rude children. I think you should shred this woman for being
the piece of boomer trash that she is. To be fair, she does give GenY a little of the business towards the end of the article. Is it me, or are the boomers
more and more becoming the cranky old timer yelling at us to stay off their lawn? And this is one more example of them shaking their fist at us "darn
kids"? I look forward to your comments. Thanks! Joel"
So I decided I would chime in on this one, even if it's a little late. I think the article is full of crap, basically. And not only does it take a swipe at Xers as parents, but it also makes Boomers look like a bunch of douche bags.
And they're not.
Sure, my worst boss ever is a Boomer. But so is my best boss. And my second
best. And my third.The real conflict between Boomers and Xers is simply a difference in communications styles. Over the past 15 years or so, both groups have made a lot of strides in understanding each other better and working through those differences. But just when you think things are smoothing out, some idiot has to write an article like the one Joel refers to. And then those feelings from 15 years ago come back.
Most normal people, regardless of how old they are, know better than to verbially attack someone's kids. And anyone who was a kid in the 70s or 80s or 90s knows that old grouches always point the finger at kids and how the new generation just isn't as good as previous ones (I'm sure this is also true of kids in the 40s, 50s, 60s, etc - I just wasn't around to witness it.)
I'm sure the next article by Susan Gregory Thomas, the woman who wrote the scathing piece on today's kids, will be on how Xers are slackers, Millennials are willfully entitled, and that darn G.I. Generation won't just go to the "home" where they belong.
And in response, all I have to say to Ms. Thomas is - "Get of my lawn!"
Saturday, May 9, 2009
Friday, May 8, 2009
Saturday, April 25, 2009
I thought the biggest factor for me in work happiness is the people I work with. I realized that's important, but they reason I'm so happy now is the amount of control I have over my own time. As a telecommuter, I work when I want to work. It doesn't have to be between 8 and 5. As long as I get my stuff done on time in a high quality manner, my boss is cool.
I have to wonder if control is a bigger issue with Gen Xers than with other generations. We've struggled with controlling, process-oriented Babyboomers for many years. For Boomers there is one right way, one solution, one track. For Xers, there is one right result, but many roads to get there.
I know when I say Boomers are controlling, it may upset some of my Boomer readers, because they don't think they're controlling. However, there are many many of us Xers who have been slapped in the hand because although the result was correct, we did not do it the "right way." We've been dressed down for not following the appropriate "steps." I'm not a "down with Boomers" gal - but this issue is something both our generations have struggled with.
I still invite you to take my poll. If control is your happiness factor, go ahead and post it in comments.
Friday, April 24, 2009
1) My job has been crazy buzy
2) I'm incredibly happy with my work and my life, I haven't had much to bitch about.
So I decided to do another poll. I know I'm in the minority when I say I love my job. My question is - what does it take to make you happy at your job?
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
But occasionally I read a post that makes my skin crawl. Because I was that kid, full of bravado, that would have written an entire sonnet devoted to the positive attributes of my generation. I'm not going to link to any of the actual posts that made me feel this way, because then the Ys tend to come out and crash my blog and go on and on about how I don't know what I'm talking about.
It's not that I don't like the Ys, I do. And it's not that I don't want them to comment here, I do. It's just that I'm not in the mood to finger point today.
There are times when I do wish there were blogs in the 90s. I have found great joy writing this blog and it really brought me back to writing for the sake of writing.
But although I miss my 25-year-old body, I do not miss my 25-year-old brain.
There are great Gen Y bloggers like Rebbeca Thorman whose blog is called Modite. There were times in my 20s when I was like Rebbeca, who is introspective and looks at issues from a standpoint far more mature than her years. But then there were times I was more like Janeane Garafolo with a really bad hangover.
Gen Xers - let's all be thankful that the only real record of our youthful angst is grunge music - and a few Time Magazine articles calling us slackers.
Monday, April 13, 2009
So all of this has gotten me thinking about the concept of "unfairness" - and how we deal with it from a generational perspective. It seems to me that Boomers think that they can fix it, Xers think it's a given, and Millennials are just realizing how much it happens in the workforce. Personally, I'm getting a little sick of it already - and it's a lot worse when it's happening to your friends and family. I know I feel guilty a lot lately, knowing that I found "my peeps" at work and so many others haven't. But such is life.
I've decided to do a poll. Please take it and feel free to comment on this post. What do you think about "unfairness"? Does it eat you up - or do you eat it for breakfast?
Thursday, April 2, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Saturday, March 21, 2009
He wrote something today that's probably one of my favorite blog posts of all time. It's called Last night Eddie Vedder offered me a green job. Trust me, if you read it, you'll be hooked.
Friday, March 20, 2009
Thursday, March 19, 2009
One thing I’ve been thinking about is how it’s important to not only take advantage of your generationally-typical qualities (i.e., I’m an Xer and I usually don’t have a hard time learning new software, because that’s what I grew up with) but also the qualities you have that may be typical of another generation.
For instance, although I grew up in the 80s with computers, technology, acid washed jeans, I’m also an Xer who was raised by a leading-edge Boomer and trailing-edge silent. Sometimes I use some really out-dated slang (thanks, mom), which throws people off. On more than one occasion I’ve had my Boomer colleagues at work do a double take because I was talking their talk. I also know most of the Peter, Paul, and Mary catalog, because that’s what records my dad had when I was a kid. So enjoying a little beatnik folk music has endeared me to some, too.
I’ve been a long-time believer that the single most important indicator of success is your ability to get along and work with others. And most people like people with whom they have something in common. Often, it doesn’t have to be a major thing. Finding those similarities may benefit you a lot more than sticking to your generationally-specific uniqueness.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Friday, March 6, 2009
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Q: How many Babyboomers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Not really sure, but they're going to have a day-long retreat to brainstorm on the issue and will report back their recommendations.
Q: How many Gen Xers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Just one - the slacker who blew off the brainstorming session.
Q: How many Babyboomers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: The light bulb committee has determined it will take two - one to screw it in and one to supervise.
Q: How many Millennials does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: All of them. And the worked as a team! And it was the best light bulb screwing any generation ever did - so I gave them all a trophy!
Friday, February 27, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
My college friend, Jen, sent me this article (on my Facebook page, no less, talk about irony). It's basic premise is that Facebook appeals to my demographic because we want to find our old friends and we're not worried about being cool (because, again, we ARE cool).
The only part I don't agree with is that we don't understand Twitter (yes we do) and that we can't remember email addresses (you don't need to, duh).
Another thing about the article - it's obvious an Xer wrote it. Here's why: Xers aren't so much worried about getting old as losing our coolness. And a lot of us like sardonic humor - and think it makes us cool. That's why I call my most productive colleague "slacker" (it's okay, he's Gen X and he thinks it's funny.)
Friday, February 13, 2009
I also wanted to share this cartoon with you that Kathy sent to me. I'm sure it may annoy some - but that's what makes blogging so fun.
“The Children now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for adults, and love to talk rather than work or exercise. They no longer rise when adults enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter in front of company, gobble down food at the table and intimidate their teachers.”
-Socrates (469-399 B.C.)
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
And I thought to myself: This is ridiculous.
Despite the fact that there are NO CONCLUSIVE STUDIES that homework in elementary school has any impact on academic achievement later on, teachers continue to pile it on. They say it’s teaching children discipline (which all know is a crock – it’s teaching the parents discipline. How many 2nd graders do you know that would do their homework without being harped on?)
I think in some ways things have just flip-flopped. From the 1930s to the 1970s children used the Dick and Jane books to learn to read. In those books, adults worked and children played. Today, children work and adults play.
Seriously, in addition to the pressure to make sure kids are toiling away at their homework every night, there seems to be more and more pressure on parents to keep their children entertained (when they're not doing homework), which results in adults having to play games, Barbies, Wii, etc. I love spending time with my kids – but does it really have to be playing playdough? Isn’t that something they can do independently?
I found a blog called Free Range Kids that is great. It discusses giving our kids childhoods like the ones we had. I wish more people held this opinion.
Do you ever...
..let your kid ride a bike to the library? Walk alone to
school? Take a bus, solo? Or are you thinking about it? If so, you are raising a
Free Range Kid! At Free Range, we believe in safe kids. We believe in helmets,
car seats and safety belts. We do NOT believe that every time school age
children go outside, they need a security detail. Most of us grew up Free Range
and lived to tell the tale. Our kids deserve no less. This site dedicated to
sane parenting. Share your stories, tell your tips and maybe one day I will try
to collect them in a book. Meantime, let's try to help our kids embrace life!
(And maybe even clear the table.)
Saturday, January 31, 2009
I realize that this seems like a simple premise, and yet there are a lot – and I mean A LOT – of employers who don’t follow that rule. And when times are good, you can get by. But not now.
At the college, the next thing that would happen would be finger-pointing, blaming subordinates, and trying to just push that project through. At my current job, the most amazing thing happened. We stopped. Quickly recollected data. Found out the data had indeed changed in just a couple months. Repackaged. And we’re ready to roll. That's how I know we're going to be just fine during the recession, because egos are checked at the door.
Monday, January 26, 2009
The argument of who is better female bosses or male bosses can be argued to death. What I'm wondering is when you think about the best boss you ever had - was that person a woman or a man? Please take the poll below - and feel free to make comments, too.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
- No matter how old you get, if you come from a post-Boomer generation, the Boomers will call you “kid.”When I was 27, it kind of bugged me. Now that I’m 37, I’m kind of digging it.
- They will never give up the notion that The Beatles were the best band of all time. I disagree, of course. But you have to admire that kind of dedication.
- They are in total denial that they’re getting old. I don’t know why, but this one just amuses me.
- They are the masters of generational spin. As a marketer, I can appreciate people who can always find a way to present themselves in the best possible light.
- It took some time, but they’ve really lightened up since the ‘90s and learned to laugh at themselves.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
My husband's siblings range in age from late 30s to early 50s - which means his nieces and nephews range in age from early 20s to mid 30s. When we get together - we Karaoke. What I find interesting is that the Boomers among us sing - but only those who have great voices. The Xers will sing regardless of talent. And the Ys are not all that interested, because not having turned 30 yet, they are still cool and do not sing Karaoke (unless they've had one too many Coors lights.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
I think one of the hardest part about being a Gen X mom is the homework. Sure, I can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan. However, I don't think I was prepared for my 4-year-old preschooler to bring home homework - which since she is FOUR, I pretty much have to do.
Sure, the experts say homework for youngsters is a waste of time - but what's more important is to make us guilt-ridden Gen X moms do some coloring.
What do you think?