Sunday, July 26, 2009

The movies are at it again - are Gen Xers really possessed by the devil?

Okay, so when I do my presentations on Gen X, I usually like to include a part about how we've been dealing with an image problem since we were born. Basically, while the images of Boomers during their youth were wholesome, all-American kids like Gidget, Frankie, and Annette, Xers were portrayed as being possessed by the devil (Damien, Rosemary's Baby, Regan).

However, in 1984, a movie called Firestarter came out. It was the last of the child-as-demon genre. I argue it's because Gen Y was now around and therefore kids were "good" again.

Well, recently, I saw those trailers for that new movie called "The Orphan" and I thought, "OMG, they're going to do it to our kids - Gen Xers' kids also are going to be portrayed as demon-possessed."

But then I read the spoiler to this film. Here it is. I won't ruin it for you if you want to see the movie, but let's just say Generation X's demons apparently have not been exorcised yet.

Give us a break already, will you Hollywood?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The value of wisdom

There’s a lot being written these days by Millennials (born 1980-1999) about how they will revolutionize the workplace, mostly because they are 78 million strong and know how to work a Blackberry. However, with the risk of sounding like the glib Gen Xer that I am, I have to remind our young friends that a lot of their generation is still in elementary school and technology is always changing (therefore, your cohorts born in 1999 will kick your ass at technology when they enter the workforce in 2021).

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.

I could argue that Gen X is as tech-savvy as Gen Y, because we also grew up with fast-changing technology. Being tech-savvy is about being able to keep up with the technology. So then, it becomes a numbers game. The advantage is that Gen Y is a big generation. However, those middle school Millennials born in 1996 aren’t going to be entering the workplace for another 10 years.

In the meantime, the Boomers are still out there. They love to work. People keep saying they’ll retire, but I think they just like working too much. So for argument’s sake, let’s say they’re not as tech-savvy as the rest of us. Then how the heck did they get (and retain) so much control?
In the end, I think it comes down to relationship building and patience. And those things you learn from experience.

A couple years back I tried dying my hair red and it looked horrible. And I was in distress. And my 90-year-old Auntie Helen said, “Go to Sally Beauty Supply and buy this stuff and it will take the dye out. Sometimes you try things and they just don’t work.” I’m freaking out, but she told me to just go fix it.

We had to buy Auntie Helen a special remote control for her TV that is made for the developmentally disabled because she kept breaking the normal ones. So we can safely say that she is not tech savvy. But successful business people use Auntie Helen’s advice all the time. If it doesn’t work, fix it and move on.

What’s all this have to do with the Millennials? I would say most people, regardless of generation, have a harder time admitting their mistakes when they are in their 20s. I would also say that we’re a little more head strong at this age.

I think our successes in the workplace have less to do with numbers or technology than they do with wisdom.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I know I said I was going camping, but I had this one thought about Gen Y...

As I was lurking around the Brazen Careerist site today, I asked myself how come we Gen Xers haven't developed our own "blog community" like the Ys at Brazen. Then I realized the answer - it's about team work versus individual work.

A lot has been written about how Gen Y likes to work in teams, because they've been working in teams since elementary school - team book reports, team volunteering projects, field hockey team.

Xers, on the other hand, grew up with a different experience. In our school experience, your work was your work - nobody else's. You were on your own. There was one valedictorian, one winner, one capitan, one editor-in-chief.

I'm not debating which is better or worse. I'm just saying Ys blog as a group and Xers don't. That's why Xers won't have a blog community. Even though we say we want one, we really don't. If we did, it would be out there.

Then why do so many of lurk on the Brazen site? I think it's because we're self-study folks. We're interested in the Y perspective. So we're really not going there to be part of the group - we're going there for the blogs. It's an easy place to find a lot of Gen Y blogs at one.

Okay, this time I really am off to go camping.