An Xer friend recently sent me an article entitled Why Gen X Can't Get Ahead at Work. "Hah!" he wrote, "Finally I find an article about what I have been saying and thinking!" The article was about Xers being squeezed between two massive generations—Boomers and Millennials.
I see it in my work. In some industries, Boomers are skipping Xers to recruit leaders from the Millenial bunch. That’s usually because Boomers think Xers are not driven or are distracted (mostly by having a life). Meanwhile, Millennials assume they out-perform Xers and always will. Survey after survey has confirmed Xer career frustration.
Warren Zevon nailed the feeling.
I’m an innocent bystander,
but somehow I got stuck
between a rock and hard place
and I'm down on my luck.
Could be an Xer anthem.
On the other hand, I’ve noticed a new trend. When I give speeches, I ask people to identify themselves, and we clap for each generation. In recent years, Boomers have begun applauding less loudly, and Xers are really giving it up for themselves. There's a shift.
And no wonder. In this running-lean, unpredictable economy, there is growing appreciation for the independent, get-er-done DNA of Gen X. I often work with industries that didn’t hire during the recession and now lament their shortage of experienced Gen Xers.
A word to Xers. Boomers are retiring late, but they are retiring; and in this economy organizations need pragmatic yet entrepreneurial leaders. Before you give up on your opportunities within a company, come out of your cave (yes, you’re known for working alone) and look for ways to lead. You may find that your good day has come. Tweet this