So, as usual, I continue my research by observing those around me. Write what you know. The most recent hypothesis I have been testing is that there is a definite difference between GenX and GenY, and it is more than just age.
I am a GenX'er - my parents divorced early on in my life, and my mom worked full-time, so I was a latch-key kid. I was (and still am) very independent. I did my own thing, and was usually left to my own devices. I had chores. I had to do my homework. I had rules. But, with the independence I was given, I was also given the responsibility to watch over my younger brother and accountability that goes with it.
When I went to college, it was up to me to make sure I kept my scholarship or else rack up a pile of debt in student loans. I talked to my parents every once in while, but I shared a house with 5 other people so phone time was scarce (especially when some of my roommates had boyfriends at other schools.) I went home for major holidays, but for the most part, I stayed in Athens worked two jobs, studied and still found time to party like a rockstar.
Even during summers, I stayed at school - sometimes taking classes, other times just being a townie. I was not latched onto my parents and honestly, they had no idea what I was doing most of the time.
I got my first computer when I was a senior in college - in 1998. My first cell phone didn't come until the year after that. I was 23 years old before I had a cell phone. When I see 11-year olds in the mall texting on their mobile phones that are the size of a stick of gum it makes me nostalgic for my old Zach-Morris-Saved-By-The-Bell-Gigantic-Analog beauty of a cell phone I had back then. (Ok, maybe not, but it's still funny to think about.)
In my professional life, I have always been a self-starter. If I don't know how to do something, I teach myself, or find a way to figure it out. In turn, my independence has hindered my management skills. I have always found it easier to do something myself than to teach someone else to do it. It's not because I don't want to teach them, it's because in the time that I could show someone else how to do it, I could have done it myself.
This I have found is textbook GenX personality. GenX'ers did not grow up in an age of connectivity like the Millennials - once the umbilical cord was cut, it was cut and we were off and running.
GenX is motivated by success and recognition, but we are skeptics by nature - cynical against the decisions made by the generation before us, what is left behind for us now, and the new generation nipping at our heels. Our latch-key kid independence, epitomized by an "F the establishment and all that comes with it," take the money and run, mentality gives many the impression that we all carry the "What-Ever!" attitude around like a badge of honor, but that is not necessarily the case.
Many of us saw our parents treated like crap by their employers, laid off, or downsized and the "40-years and a gold watch" concept was something completely foreign to us. We grew up with an inherent insecurity for the job world, and take nothing for granted, yet understand that nothing is forever and unemployment is not a stigma that you have to wear like a scarlett letter.
We like to collaborate, but we are decisive and don't need to make a decision by committee and not everything has to be a team effort. We are survivors and have no feeling of entitlement, we expect to be treated fairly, but because we earn it and work our asses off for it.
GenY on the other hand...that's a story for another day.