This one is for you, Gen X!

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Okay, okay, the 'song' might be a bit over the top but even so, it pictures the world in which generation X grew up and how this influenced their thinking pretty well. And yes, generation X gets much less attention than the other generations. Hey, this generation is sometimes referred to as 'Generation Nothing' or 'The Lost Generation'. Completely unjustified, as you will find out when reading on.

Generation X has experienced a lot of technological, political and socio-economic changes. There was the economic depression of the 1970s and, for example, the international tension between East and West with the fall of the Berlin Wall. The number of divorces rose enormously and there was a deep economic crisis. But generation X was also the early adopter of, for example, the mobile phone! Take that, gen Z ;-). In this post, therefore, I will discuss a number of developments that characterise generation X. For more understanding and appreciation.

Character: modest, down-to-earth and just do it

Lovely, isn't it? No-nonsense and hands-on.

Attitude towards co-operation: building bridges and quality

Used to polarisation, generation X has learned to deal with differences in a constructive way, and always look to connect and join.. In cross-generational teams, this team member can be the lubricant that makes a team work and perform smoothly. An indispensable quality for a team.

And, as befits the character, this generation finds it important to do things and to do them well, very well.

Attitude towards carreer: craft professionalism

Generation X was the first that put him- and herself first: loyal to themselves and their profession, not to the employer. This created independance and the first 'carreer portfolio's'.

Attitude towards the world: skepticism

Confronted with many negative sentiments in the world during childhood, generation X developed a healthy skepticism: trust yourself and not (too much) in others. This also reinforced the trend towards more individualism and independence.

Communication: e-mail and text

People of this generation are indicated as 'the Digital immigrants': being the first to adapt to technical innovations as the personal computer and mobile phones. Communication shifted from letters and calling to e-mailing and texting.

Strength: adaptability and flexibility

A clear strength of this generation is that, given its experiences, it has developed a strong capacity to adapt and to navigate. Change as a constant.

Aspiration: work-life balance

Boomers went for job security, millennials want freedom and identity, and Gen Z focuses more on security and stability. For generation X, the balance between work and private life was and is important: 'work to enjoy life'. That means a nice balance between job responsibility and "fun" things. However, this balance is rocky and very difficult to maintain.

So there you go, a more in-depth look at this generation, how the past has build the characteristics of this generation and how valuable they are in cross generational teams. Go gen X!

Pascal van den Boorn

Founder / Moderator, Generation Magnets

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