Since the 1960’s, when the term ‘generation gap’ was first coined to describe the differences between generations, they have been learning how to co-exist and trying to straighten out the ripples in the workplace caused by the generation differences. Could we possibly work with different generations, particularly Generation X? If so, how could an individual adapt him/herself into working with a generation like the Xers?
Each generation has a unique perspective on the world of work. Its members tend to hold similar views and values about what comprises an attractive workplace. Understanding these generational differences is critical to organizations that try to impart the values, philosophy, knowledge and skills upon which the smooth running of the business depends. Generation Xers have a different take on this particular aspect and we will further discuss this in this report.
Born 1965 – 1980, Generation Xers grew up with financial, family, and societal insecurity; rapid change; and excessive diversity. Learning independence in earlier in life this turned into a valuable hallmark as they progressed in the working environment. Just as the Gen Xers were about to emanate into the workforce to make their mark in the world, there was an economic decline at the end of the 1980s. Now things didn’t look so bright for the Gen Xers, jobs were more and more competitive; they weren’t able to replicate the lifestyles of the Baby Boomer before them. Career advancement became a norm causing Gen Xers to go from one job to the next, because of this scarcity of employees become the criteria for job selection and satisfaction.
DISCUSSION OF FINDINGS
This report outlines three ways in which one could understand Gen Xers reasons for striving a better life: socially progressive in attaining traditions and goals, misconceptions of Gen Xers, and their working conditions striving to maintain their freedom in the workforce.
Why are Generation Xers Culturally Progressive? Development in technology and exposure to the media brought different cultures into the homes of Gen Xers. Either single – parents or combined families helped this generation understand that families can come from all different places, shapes, and sizes. More comprehensive of others and accepting of differences from themselves or their experiences, it clearly shows this generation is accepting and embracing of diversity (Catalyst, 2001). Attaining goals for Gen Xers is a key factor in order to progress in life whether it is at the workforce or at home.
Due to the early growth of parenting of Generation X children, defining parenting roles for themselves as distinctly different and more effective than the way they were raised had been a challenge (Catalyst, 2001). Attributable to the lay-offs and job insecurity of their parents (Baby Boomers 1946-60), members of Generation X often lack a sense of company loyalty and they feel the need to take care of their own needs over those of their employer (Bova & Kroth 2001, pg. 58).
Figure 1 demonstrates an image of a women representing Gen X, and how career choices and family life can sometimes be very difficult. Meanwhile, using a mixture of traditionalism and pragmatism, Gen X parents struggle to bring new meaning and balance to childbearing. According to a new Canadian study Gen X are struggling to raise families, researchers discovered that parents today are having a difficult time raising children due to less income (Nauert, 2011).
Half of Generation X Source: (Half of Generation X, 2011)
Generation X Misconceptions The attributes of Generation Xers may offer insight into the ways they prefer to learn. Described as independent problem solvers and self-starters we can already understand a little bit of what they want in life, in regards to a career and a steady lifestyle. Generation X