If you’re born between the years 1965 to 1980, then you fall into the Generation-X category. And that means you’re either in the middle of your career and heading towards the peak or you’re in the more later phase of your professional life. Ouch!
As Gen-Xers we’re often regarded as the neglected middle child, sandwiched between two massive generations either side; the Boomers and the Millennials. As a result, we’re often overlooked and under-represented in the market. Just look at who the media and advertising are targeting right now. Not us!
When it came to our careers, the previous generation (those Boomers) told us that that the key to success was to study, get a degree, work hard and do a good job. Then we’ll be rewarded and climb the ladder.
We were also told that we shouldn’t make a fuss or a noise, keep our heads down, and for God’s sake, don’t draw attention to ourselves because no one likes that.
Well, what a load of crap!
You see, I’ve worked with a lot of Gen-Xers over the last decade and here’s the thing most of them reveal – they’re frustrated, angry, feel stuck and they’re cynical. In fact, many of them are still living from paycheque to paycheque, even at this stage in their career. By now, they thought they would be so much further ahead in their lives.
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As the narrator in the movie Fight Club (a great Gen-X flick) says…
“We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression… We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”
But I shouldn’t even be mentioning this because we all know what the first rule of Flight Club is.
You see, we still follow that damn outdated model of success given to us by the Boomers.
I call us the ‘head-down-bum-up generation’ because we’re quietly doing a brilliant job in the background but no one gets to find out about it because we don’t like to make a song and dance. This means we don’t get the recognition we deserve because the Millennials, who are good at promoting themselves, are taking all the glory.
But all’s not lost Gen-X.
OK Gen-X, it’s time to get real. You’ve about 10-15 or so years left and then retirement.
How are you going to maximise these years and make them really count?
As a small generation, we’ve got to work a lot harder to make our voices heard. We have to challenge that outdated career formula, put aside our misplaced modesty and amplify our voice because no one else is driving our career and success.
We’ve got a lot of expertise, experience and wisdom to offer but we just got to get better at communicating it. We’re a highly educated generation of global thinkers, who are sceptical but will also take risks.
We’re discerning and value quality and respect for our knowledge. We’re also the first digital generation but we also knew how to find shit out without Google. And we also have a thicker skin as a result of surviving tough financial times. The 2008 GFC anyone? In fact, our cynicism is well-placed as we know what uncertainty looks like when it comes to the job market.
In other words, we’re bloody tough, resilient and resourceful. Hell, we even survived the Spice Girls (jokes, I like the Spice Girls, deal with it!)
Gen-X, it’s time to shake off the shackles of an outdated Boomer model for career success.
As Mikey in The Goonies said, “Down here it’s our time. It’s our time down here” and “Goonies never say die!”
And that means it’s our time to step up, take control over our careers and stop being the head-down-bum-up mid-life/mid-career worker bees in the background. So, stop your silent moaning and complaining. It’s time to claim your space!
Because where you end up in your career, is ultimately up to you. It’s your choice.