The Gen X profile
We shouldn’t pigeonhole, label or stereotype any demographic or generation, but having a better understanding of the backstories and perceptions that surround a particular group of people – a generation, helps us appreciate their differing attitudes, viewpoints and motivations. This in turn enables us to more effectively lead and engage them.
Generation X is described or referred to as the:
- grunge generation
- MTV generation
- options generation
- baby busters
- latchkey generation
- sandwich generation
- work hard play hard generation
The term Generation X first appeared in the 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture by Douglas Copeland.
Gen Xs are beginning to fill the leadership roles as baby boomers retire. Where boomers have the experience, Gen Xs also have the qualifications, so they're talent well worth keeping in the business.
The ‘latchkey’ children of baby boomer parents who often both worked, they are portrayed as the neglected ‘middle child’, squeezed between the older baby boomers and the younger millennials. Not only have they grown up in a largely ‘hands-off’ culture without much adult presence, their parents are also the most divorced generation in our history.
They are the first generation to use computers in their homes and schools. Brought up in an era of technological and social change, they’re tech-savvy and open to change. They thrive on diversity, challenge, responsibility, honesty, and having creative input. As an adaptable and fiercely independent generation, Gex Xs are more peer-oriented than previous generations striving hard for a balanced work and family life.
Gen Xs currently fall into the age range of roughly 40 to mid-50s and are entering either the ‘opportunity decade’ or a mid-life crisis. Whichever it is, many are soul searching, seeking greater meaning in their lives and considering significant changes to their career direction and lifestyle.