Generation X - Sandwiched Between Baby Boomers and Gen Y and Forgotten

Somewhere out there another article or blog this week will address the Baby Boomers retiring or discuss how to manage Gen Y in today's ever changing workplace. Honestly, as a Gen X, I am tired of hearing about either generation and for a moment would like to spotlight the "Sandwich Generation" - Gen X. Back in May 2003 Time Magazine wrote an article focusing on "the sandwich generation” referring to 30 and 40 something adults sandwiched between caring for both young children (some Millennials) and aging adults (Boomers) and the financial stress it placed. Financial responsibility should not be our only concern.

Within the workplace Gen X is sandwiched between Baby Boomers and Gen Y and have been forgotten. However, the contributions we make are ideal for today's workforce. From my perspective Gen X is the best of the Baby Boomers and Gen Y combined. Evolving into mid-level and upper-level management positions we bring with us maturity, adaptability, flexibility and team orientation as pointed out by a recent blog article "Why Generation X Managers are different". Not to mention technical acumen greater than the Baby Boomer Generation ever acquired or applied. We have the ability and comfort to multi-task with the utilization of blackberry’s, cell phones, and email just as well as the Gen Y. We acquired the professional etiquette and soft business skills from the Baby Boomers providing the workplace environment with the professionalism and traditionalism it so desperately is afraid of losing. Staying in touch with all levels of the organization utilized by respected Baby Boomer Leadership is not lost on us either. Based on our team orientation, preferably we like to speak with people face to face or in group meetings rather than emailing the colleague in the next cube or picking up the phone to your colleague across the hall; in some cases bringing a more comfortable social interaction than Gen Y.

Granted we do separate ourselves from the Baby Boomers with our desires for a greater work/Life balance and flexibility. The 60 hour work week is not desirable to us. The book The Next Revolution: What Gen X Women Want at Work and how their Boomer Bosses Can Help Them Get shows :

  • 61% of Xer women said they'd leave their job for one that was more flexible
  • 51% of Gen Xers said they'd quit if another employer offered them the chance to telecommute

However, with our ability to multi-task, work independently, autonomously and no need for micro-managing coupled with technological advances we can produce the same quality and amount of work without missing our children's school plays, t-ball games or nightly dinners at 6:30 pm.

Gen X might not be as large demographically as the Baby Boomers and Gen Y but we do bridge the gap between two extremely different generations very welll. Gen X will help the traditions and business savvy of the Baby Boomers remain apparent in the workplace while taking advantage of the techno-literacy of Gen Y. The next time you read an article about either the Baby Boomers of Gen Y ask yourself where is Gen X? The answer bridging the gap between the two and getting the job done.

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