Monday, September 29, 2008

Git-r-done: Outcomes-focused Xers want you to figure it out already

My husband once got in an argument with a colleague regarding how to complete an assignment (he works in the media) that ended with my husband saying, "F*cking figure it out!" While, not the most professional of lines, I do think it encapsulates the Gen X impatience with people who are process-focused, rather than outcome focused.

Two things happened recently that made me remember that story. The first is my good friend is struggling with managing Boomer and Gen Y employees, because she doesn't have a lot of extra time to discuss process.

The second was reading Jason Seiden's blog. He had this great post about Gen X and one of the things he pointed out is that Gen X has been flattening out the hierarchy of organizations since we entered the workforce.

I'm not sure there's a big lesson here as much as it's just something Xers have to deal with. Process is not that important to us. We tell you the result we want, and you figure out how. And when we're dealing with superiors, we just want to be told what result you want, and we'll figure it out.

Maybe that's why so many of us Xers run around quoting Larry the Cable Guy (an Xer, by the way). He's an idiot, but he's right.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Obama campaign staff: Social media genius

Barack Obama, who I follow on Twitter (and he follows me), just tweeted this YouTube. I bow to the master of social political marketing.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Are Xers appreciated?

I was on the phone with a friend last night when the topic of appreciation came up. It got me thinking. How many people feel appreciated at their jobs?

I feel appreciated at my job. Really, I do. However, I've been in the workforce since 1993 and this is the first time I have felt like the people I work with - and my boss - appreciate not just the work I do, but they appreciate the unique skills I bring to the table.

And when I say "unique skills," I don't just mean marketing or writing or public speaking. I'm great at those things, but so are a lot of other people. I mean things like the fact that people open up to me and say things to me that they wouldn't say to other people I work with. For instance:

Last summer I was facilitating a workshop with two other women on generational
marketing. We were talking about how younger generations tend to be more casual
in the workplace, which can annoy older (not that old, like my age) people. I was
sitting in the "circle" and the Xer next to me leaned over and said, "Yeah, they
really need to keep the junk in the trunk." She was talking about keeping your
butt crack covered.

When I told my boss the story, he thought it was great. Not because it was funny, which it was. Not because he agreed, which I'm sure he did. Then why? Because that meant that my student felt comfortable with me. You can't learn well under stress. And this student knew she could give me her opinion, which means interaction in the classroom, which means even more learning.

At my other jobs, I wouldn't have even mentioned this story, except to my Gen Xer friends. That's because my "superiors" wouldn't have even understood. That would have thought, "Oh, Gen Xers being inappropriate again." They didn't understand that Xers need to be able to communicate with their colleagues as peers - not as I'm "associate professors" but you're only "assistant professor" so you're not as cool as me. They didn't understand that the student was telling me she thought I'm "cool."

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Gen X T-shirts: It's fun to annoy others!

I'm seriously considering buying this shirt. I love it. It says "Gen X - you know we're right."

So here are the pros:

  • It's not that expensive
  • When I run into a Boomer or a Millennial, it will probably piss them off
  • All the other Xers will think I'm cool

Here are the cons:

Well, there is really only one con: I'm afraid that crew neck will make my chi chis look humongous - and that's not a look I strive for. Plus there's the whole issue of sausage belly - if it's clingy, this could squeeze me around the middle enough to make me look like the poster girl for Krysiak House Kielbasa.

So I'm wondering if the other Xers will still think I'm cool if I look like a sausage while being irreverent.

What would you do?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Bring Back Bill

One of the best parts of telecommuting is getting to watch the occasional daytime television show. Today, William Jefferson Clinton, my Billy, was on The View. He brought a tear to my eye - and shut up that Elisabeth gal to boot.

Check it out for yourself:

Another One Bites The Dust

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Gen X, Y lead the way in "connecting" with other people

A recent study commissioned by American Greetings has found that innovations in communications technology such as texting and social media have resulted in more people communicating more often with others. And Gen X & Y are spearheading the change.

Interestingly, the additional communications are not replacing traditional ones like greeting cards, talking on the telephone, or simply conversing face-to-face. The technology-driven communication is in addition to what we were already doing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moms on the Net

A recent study from finds that Gen Y moms and Gen X moms use the Internet very differently when it comes to parenting.

The basic scoop: Gen Y moms use the Net to connect to other moms. Gen X moms are much more task-oriented when using the Net (i.e. uploading photos).

Monday, September 15, 2008

Boomers versus Xers

You already know who wins!

Flip flops: Gen Xers know better

A column this week in Business Week features a Boomer complaining for the bizillionth time about Xers and Ys wearing flip flops at work. It's getting a little old already.

As someone who travels the country speaking on this topic to multigenerational audiences coast-to-coast, I don't get it. My colleagues all wear appropriate work wear - from the youngest to the oldest. As a college professor, I've seen students who dress ultra-casual (and I also did as a student in the 90s) - but in the workplace, heck no.

It is true that Xers and Ys manage differently, have different work styles, and want different things out of their careers than Boomers. But we do know better than to wear beach wear to the office. Knock it off already, Boomers.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Telecommuting: Some people just don't get it is reporting that bosses are worried that their telecommuting employees aren't working. That's inspite the fact that their work is done, on time, and at a quality level.

As a marketing director for an international association who telecommutes, I just have to roll my eyes. Here's my favorite quote from the story:

"The biggest issue I have is tracking time and knowing when he's working," said Princeton, the president of Design Management Co. "The doubt starts to happen when he has offsite meetings -- various doctor appointments or the vet. But, Princeton said, "he gets the work done. He does quality work for clients."

Isn't that precious? Are employers paying for time - or for jobs to be done? If you have an employee who can get their stuff done quickly at a quality level, what do you care if they take their dog to the vet? In fact, I walk my dog everyday at 3 p.m. - and my boss could care less, because I get my stuff done, on time, at a quality level.

Employers need to wake up. THE INDUSTRIAL AGE IS OVER. If you want to be successful in the 21st Century, you need to measure outcomes - not time put in.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Gen X (and Gen Y) marketing done oh-so-right...

For anyone who's a fan of HBO's Entourage (and more specifically, goofy older brother Johnny Drama), you're in for a big treat. Drama's former star vehicle - Viking Quest - is now a video game!

For anyone who's wanted to become an Ice Age Badass, your dream has been fulfilled.

Monday, September 8, 2008

And they say you can't go home...

Apparently, Millennials are not the only ones moving back in with mom and dad.

A new trend on the horizon is Baby boomers moving back in with their parents (members of the "mature" of "G.I." generation - born before 1946). Apparently things like lay-offs and divorce (Baby boomers have more divorces than any generation in history) are forcing the former Yuppies back into their childhood bedrooms.

This is at a time when senior citzens are filing bankruptcy in record numbers.

Meanwhile, a study released last month by Fidelity investments found that Gen Xers say a workplace retirement plan (e.g. 401(k), 403(b)) is their No. 1 tool for savings outside of their banking account.

80s music rules - why doesn't NPR understand that?

Blogger GREEN MULLET is taking on NPR for it's recent take on 1980s music. He's right - how can ANYONE rag on Motley Crue?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Why Gen X feminists don't support Sarah Palin

At 44, Sarah Palin is practically a Gen Xer. But many Gen X feminists won't be supporting her in the general election.

Boomer feminists question WHY we would even ask Palin how she will balance family and career. Their argument: They wouldn't ask a man the same question.

Xer feminists are more likely to ask WHY would she want to?

Brazen Careerist Penelope Trunk argues that we have standards for parenting and neither a man or woman in her situation (five kids including a special needs infant) should be focusing this much attention on their career. And Penelope is a CEO of her own company.

At the Wall Street Journal, Katty Kay and Claire Shipman authored an opinion piece pointing to the fact that the majority of working mothers are fed up with 60-hour-work weeks and demand more flexibility. They point to a term coined by The Economist: Womenomics.

"Mrs. Palin is actually putting a spotlight on a new women's movement we call "Womenomics." Thanks to women's fast-growing market value we can finally live and work in a way that wins us time and avoids that agonizing choice of career or kids. Today as never before women can define success on their own terms," they write.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Gen Xers have the "right stuff, baby"

Apparently there is some love for Generation X – in Hollywood.

“Nostalgia” until recently has meant Baby boomer nostalgia – “Father Knows Best,” The Beatles, the 1960s. But Gen Xers, who came of age in the 1980s, look back on a very different pop culture. And the entertainment industry is cashing in big time.

This fall brings television remakes of both Knight Rider and 90210 (which is totally awesome, by the way), not to mention a New Kids on the Block concert tour (not sure I’m going to stand in line for those tickets.)

Even The Bravo Network got in on the action. It aired two seasons of “The Two Coreys,” which chronicled the current lives of 80s teen heartthrobs Corey Haim (who’s a train wreck) and Corey Feldman (who although a little OCD is a productive member of society.) A lot of critics hated the reality show – but Gen Xers couldn’t get enough. You can judge for yourself.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I had to share this ...

Jon Stewart is my hero

Generation X philanthropy misunderstood

Fundraisers have been complaining for years that Generation Xers - born 1965-1980 - do not give enough money to their nonprofit organizations. However, a study released yesterday says that when Xers have the money - and enough information about the charitable organization - they give nearly twice as much as their Baby boomer counterparts.

According to Northern Trust’s third annual “Wealth in America” survey of high-net-worth individuals and families, "Gen X millionaire households (ages 28 to 42) gave nearly $20,000 in 2006, compared to Baby Boomers (ages 43 to 61) and Silent Generation millionaires (ages 62 to 77), who gave roughly $10,000."

In 2001, United Way of America released a report that said Generation X demanded more information about the charitable organizations they support than older donors. Interestingly, today's survey points to an increase in available online information about nonprofit organizations as one reason for strong philanthropic support from Gen X millionaires.

"The abundance of information about nonprofit organizations that can be found on the Internet and the ease of contributing to a charitable cause, or even starting your own global giving initiative online, is a huge convenience for younger generations, who are generally more comfortable with online giving vehicles,“ said Northern Trust spokeswoman Marguerite Griffin.

Check out GenerationXpert on!

Just wanted to let all you know I am now writing a Generation X column for Detroit edition. It's called Generation X Examiner. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Mean Old Goat

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. And I say the blog is mightier than the pen. So, when someone in the blogosphere annoys me, I make sure I let everyone know. Today is no exception.

I found this great new website called - and on it a Boomer blogger with an interesting perspective and great analysis. He wrote a piece about Barack Obama's reluctance to call himself a Baby boomer.

So there was one comment on the post by this guy named Stuart. Stuart is a mean old goat. When I posted my opinion on the topic, he hammered on all of Generation X. So I replyed. And then he hammered on Generation X again.

So being the Xer that I am, I figured, why argue? If you want to see the "conversation" click here, scroll down, and click comments. I'm curious to know what you think.