The Question Matters

Get a Grip, Gen X

Posted in Change,Generation X,Generation Y by treyfinley1008 on December 2, 2009

Gen X Has a Right to Doubt

A lot of ink has been spilled over the years about the cynicism and skepticism of Generation X.  My birth year has me on the back end of that generation.  I share our doubts about institutions and our disgust at the lack of concern for life balance in the generation that precedes us.  I’ve seen firsthand the impact of the economy on my job, and embraced the need to be entrepreneurial and open minded about how and where I earn my income.

I don’t generally share our victim mentality.  Gen X has gotten a raw deal in some ways.  We’re stuck between two much larger generations.  If that doesn’t sound too bad, consider what it means to us that the Boomers are resisting retirement and Gen Y will work cheaper than we will because they have fewer financial obligations.  The worst is assumed of us, sometimes at the expense of the facts.  Take, for example, the most recent Presidential election.  Many pundits assumed that Gen X would be the least represented generation at the polls.  After all, we’re politically disinterested–though not politically uninformed–and doubt that our vote has any impact on real life, anyway (a perception I share).  Nope–turns out a smaller percentage of Gen Y turned out than Gen X.

No Generation Has a Right to Whine

It’s in that vein that I want to reiterate the title of this blog post–cheer up, Gen X.  Every generation has its challenges.  The Builders had the Great Depression and lost many of their members to a World War.  The Boomers had the loss of innocence.  They watched world leaders publicly fail and get assassinated, and were given the mistaken impression that their world would somehow turn out just right if they tried hard enough.  Gen X has had multiple economic corrections, the rise of terrorism, and the absenteeism of parents.

An article yesterday in the Cincinnati Post opined that Gen Y is probably getting a good dose of maturity because of the economic climate.  Perhaps these will be the times when these pesky little young-uns give up their sense of entitlement and their need for affirmation.

Like all generations, Gen Y needs leaders who lead by example.  Gen X–we have an opportunity to demonstrate resourcefulness to a generation whose economic experience is starting out much like ours did.  We have an opportunity to demonstrate resilience in the face of others’ doubt.  We have an opportunity to build generational bridges rather than emphasize differences.  In short, we can choose either to lead from the experiences of our lifetime or to fold up in our little generational bunker and whine about the injustice of life.

We’re better than that.


2 Responses to 'Get a Grip, Gen X'

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  1. treyfinley1008 said,

    Thank you for the comment, Robyn. I see you’re searching your name online. 🙂 I applaud your work with your students, as well. Creative. Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you’ll return and share your insights.

  2. Robyn said,

    I like your thinking, Trey, and could not agree more with your last paragraph here. How do we nurture and influence, yet work hand in hand with the next generation to insure a peaceful survival on our planet? Obviously, we must work together and pass the torch, while respecting personal differences and social preferences for free speech. Thanks for your commitment to this important topic.

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