Generation X, also known as Gen X or Gen Xers, includes people born between 1965 and 1980. As workers, Gen Xers are in their forties and fifties, the prime of their careers and lives. They have much to offer employers, but they often get lost in the mix. After all, they fall in between Baby Boomers and Millennials, the two biggest – and some say loudest – generations in the workforce.
Discover what Gen Xers offer employers:
Among the first traits associated with Generation X are self-reliance and independence. This was a generation of latchkey kids. The first generation to experience labor force participation among their mothers and fathers, Gen Xers spent much time at home alone without adult supervision. They learned how to cook, clean, and respond to household mishaps like a clogged drain.
These experiences have made them resourceful. Some, who have written about the generations, say they were the first DIYers. In fact, their independent nature is the number one trait of this generation, according to Indeed.
Members of Generation X came of age as technology advanced at incredible speed. They saw the arrival of the personal computer and the Internet, iPods and iPhones, and now artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning, and more. They are the most connected of any generation, in fact. Unlike younger workers, they are not addicted to their devices. They know how to use them, but they do not overdo it.
While most focus on and the ascendency of Millennials, CNBC reports that Generation X is the one leading digital transformation in the workplace. They determined this by looking at data, including Nielsen’s finding that Gen X was the most connected generation of all.
By gaining independence at a young age and experiencing the hardship of having parents who work all the time, Gen Xers came to appreciate balancing their life with work.
They are well-known for their work-hard-play-hard attitude, according to Indeed. This perspective on life is coming in handy as workers try to figure out how to avoid burnout, manage stress, and find more happiness in their work life.
As managers, they model the kind of behavior that makes it all right for employees to use their paid time off and set boundares around their work day and expectations. Some media outlets describe Gen X as working to live rather than living to work. Younger generations are running with that philosophy, which is a marked change from previous generations.
Bridge Among the Generations
Being sandwiched between the two biggest generations, Baby Boomers and Millennials, Gen Xers can relate to both groups. They are savvy with tech, so they can interact well with Millennials, who were raised from the start with access to all things digital. They also know the world of landlines and primitive or nonexistent automation like Boomers. As a result, they can communicate and bridge the gaps of understanding when participating in multigenerational teams.
Generation X has much to offer employers. Unfortunately, it gets ignored relative to the attention Gen Z, Millennials, and Baby Boomers get. When employers finally recognize Gen Xers, they are rewarded with loyal employees, who have more than two decades of experience in the workforce, and substantial life skills. Most importantly, they can help colleagues transcend generational differences.