Generation X (born 1965-1979)

As Baby Boomers took their time to grow up in a world that appeared bright and appealing to them, Generation X was pushed toward adulthood at an age earlier than any other recent generation. While Baby Boomers lined up for gas in the mid-1970s, Gen Xers watched from the back seat wondering what the future held. The oil crisis, Watergate and the arms race of the Cold War were still fresh in people’s minds, when incidents like the Iranian Hostage Crisis, the Challenger explosion, Chernobyl, the Northern Ireland conflict or the ETA- and RAF terrorism in Europe further shattered society’s belief in political and institutional competence. During the economic decline at the end of the 1980s, this generation realized that they would not be able to replicate the prospering lifestyle of their parents.

Generation X also spent less time with their parents than any previous generation. Coining the term “latchkey kids”, this generation was left home alone and took care of themselves and their siblings while their parents worked. Divorce, single parents and patchwork families became more frequent. Gen Xers were not coddled for every emotional need and want. Autonomy and self-reliance, rather than respect for authority, was a natural byproduct of the Generation X childhood. No wonder Gen X grew up highly skeptical of promises made to them. The 1986 music video “Land of Confusion” by Genesis beautifully captures this Generation X attitude.

However, Gen Xers also grew up in an era of emerging technology, music television and the fall of the Berlin Wall, finally ending the Cold War. Whereas computers were unimaginable for Traditionalists and had the size of a cubicle for Baby Boomers, the computer now became a desktop machine and a household appliance. Increasingly open frontiers, a growing number of television channels and various entertainment options brought different cultures into the lives of this generation. Gen Xers grew up embracing diversity and had to learn independence early in life, both of which they turned into valuable hallmarks as they progressed into the working world. View Values and Attributes of Generation X here

About the author

Lisa Mangelsdorf

I confess that I work to live rather than live to work. But when I can combine my passions into my work, I work best. This blog brings together discussions about one of my passions which is connecting people. I endeavour to fight the norm by chasing flexible working options and change seekers, hence my involvement with this blog. I'm fortunate to be connected with a global team at GAIA Insights. Retaining Gen Y within the workforce is an issue for most businesses across the globe. For help contact us because we know EXACTLY what they want from the workplace and we can help your business retain that key talent.

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