Monday, February 14, 2011

You may not want to hear it, but you really need to get some Gen Xers on your team

I've been writing about Gen X for a long time. It started out as a response to all the "slacker" articles that were written about my generation in the last century. Seriously, even when they were trying to compliment us, they'd still find a way to call us slackers.

Today, Gen X is largely ignored. Filmmaker Sharon Hyman even says she had trouble finding people who were still writing about Gen X while doing research on this cohort. But here's the interesting thing - I don't think Gen Xers care if you ignore them. Being ignored IS better than being called a slacker, after all.

But if you want to be successful in this century, you're going to need to get some Xers on your team soon. Because the Boomers are retiring. And there are a lot more Boomers than Xers. And even the most rabid Xer-hating Boomer has to admit that it would be very difficult for a 25-year-old to come in and fill their shoes.

Yes, Millennials are great. They have a lot of spunk. But as someone who is less than a month away from turning 40, I know it takes more than a positive attitude and being born into the Information Age to run a successful business. It takes some mad skills and a strong foundation that can only come from experience.

I'm not talking about "paying your dues." I'm not talking about towing the line for X number of years until someone else says you're "ready." I'm talking about most of us have our heads up our rear ends when we're young.

So this is all a numbers game. There are less Xers. And they don't care if you ignore them. But they also won't come work for you. Or take your torch when you want to retire. Not unless you hook them before the mass Babyboomer exodus.

It may already be too late. So many Xers have already thrown up their hands in the face of companies that offer lots of team building exercises and very little opportunity. They've gone out their own and are making money while others are busy having cookie exchanges or relay races as a way to create camaraderie in the office.


KateNonymous said...

You're right--I would rather be ignored than called a slacker. And I don't particularly like being ignored. But I have the sneaking suspicion that Gen X is going to wind up the Prince Charles of the working world--the Boomers will hang on as long as they can (because retiring would be admitting that they aren't young anymore, and also they can't afford to leave), and by the time we have a real shot at things, the Millennials will be the age we are now. We'll wind up being in charge for a decade or so, and then the Millennials will act as if they're finally able to claim their birthright.

I guess that's the part of me that one former boss commented on, with the words "So young to be so cynical."

Unknown said...

I love your post - you are hysterically funny and YES I'm proud to say that I'm an Xer!

The USA Today just last week published an interesting statistic: "Starting in January, 10,000 Boomers will retire DAILY for the next 19 YEARS."

They're going to stay in the workforce because they aren't ready to retire. They don't have the money.

That's where my Boomer friends are right now - corporate, white-collar slavery.

I've started my own Network Marketing business and my Boomer friends snickered at me. Little do they know that because of my home-based business I can: write off a portion of my insurance premiums including my long-term health care insurance monthly premiums of $150/month, I can control my income, my time freedom, etc.

I can do all of this because I decided to work for myself. To think out of the box.

I think the train wreck that's going to happen is when the Boomers realize that when they're forced to leave the work world because they are unable to work anymore, the Y's aren't going to be able to handle the workload and the only ones left standing will be the Xers like me that are able to think outside of the traditional business/corporate/J.O.B. income producing model.

Go ahead and ignore us Xers. We'll be LMAO all the way to the bank!

Anonymous said...

What is it with the Boomers and the stupid team-building exercises? One of the primary reasons I left a huge national-level corporation was that they didn't allow us to get our work done, because we were always doing stupid things like reporting to HQ to run around looking for chocolate Hershey's kisses wrapped with questions to ask our supervisors about their favorite movie (I swear I'm not making this up) or planning stupid theme luncheons that nobody cared about. It didn't bring anyone closer together; it just annoyed the whole population of Xers.