Moving Forward or Moving On
The Rise of Generation X
Part 1: Moving Forward or Moving On
Whether we are a forward-thinking Boomer, Gen-Xer, or Millennial searching for a way to make a difference, knowing what we’re up against and seeing what’s around the corner is essential for success.
A lot has happened over the last 40 years to get us to this point, and more change is coming. Business as usual is coming to an end.
Know the Times and Know the Stakes
Generation X has persevered and is now on the rise and resolute on change.
Those born between 1965 and 1980 are 38 to 53 years old now and have 15 to 30 years’ work experience.
The Gen-X wave is only now beginning to peak and it has major implications for leaders and for organizations.
The stakes are high for those holding on to the past: either become wiser to grow and prosper or cling tight and be scorned and suffer.
Mockers of the “win-win” will lose. Resisters to inclusion and opportunity will be isolated and irrelevant.
Having a Cause
Greed, hubris, winning at all costs, damage to the family, the abandonment of community, isolated living, inflated housing, required dual incomes, out-of-control tuition, a world of debt, a lack of investment, the “passing of the buck”, selling-out, racism, sexism, ignorance, and any form of blind ideology.
These words fire-up, tick-off, and motivate the vast majority of those on the rise.
No matter who or what is to blame, Generation X has no interest in watching this happen or seeing any of it persist.
Foundation of Strength
As a group, we have endured the “latch-key” days, growing up fast and on our own, unprecedented technology change, and no less than three recessions – the 90’s, the dot.com, and the Great One – since entering the workforce.
We embrace the resulting independence, resourcefulness, and self-sufficiency, as well as our ambition, skepticism, and heart for others.
We know that our awareness and openness attracts, and that our connectedness helps set up the “win-win”.
“Generation-X not only connects Boomers and Millennials, we uniquely connect and translate conventional thinking with technology and the future.”
-Peter C. Atherton
Moving Forward or Moving On
While many Xers continue to disrupt broken industries and conventions, even more Xer’s, including those who have been loyal for years and decades, are ready to move. They are ready to either “move forward” within their organizations under new terms or “move on” from those who resist.
Despite the desire and the skills and experience to succeed, Xers would prefer to move forward together and alongside those who have come before and those poised to follow behind.
As a generation we are possibility and purpose driven.
Individually, and as a workforce and society:
- We want to excel and to win – but not at all costs,
- We want to have impact and make a difference both inside and outside the office,
- We want more control over the direction of our future,
- We want to trust that our actions are aligned with our ultimate goals, and
- We want to take action to succeed in ways that are more relevant and effective for the new era in which we live and the evolving marketplaces in which we must compete.
Accomplishing these will require significant operational enhancements or pivoting in a new direction.
Individually speaking, pivoting in a new direction could include moving to a forward-thinking competitor, the exploding freelance economy, or to a side-hustle.
What will not happen is continued “perseverance”; those days are over for Generation X.
We are going to move change forward with or without those currently at the helm.
It will be better and more lucrative for all parties to peacefully transfer power when the goal is “win-win”.
The only question is whether those currently holding on will be able to break free from conventional thinking and be able to win in the new.
History is behind us and the stage is now set. This series on “The Rise of Generation X and the End of Business as Usual” continues in Part 2 to answer why Gen-X should be part of every leadership team and any strategic and succession planning process. Part 3 will reveal how to best attract and retain top Gen-X (and Millennial) talent to grow and win today.
To your winning,
PS – I invite you to schedule a free, no-obligation 30-minute conversation HERE. We will walk through the I.M.P.A.C.T. process and I guarantee you will leave the call with a few new ideas and a clearer vision.
PSS – Click HERE to receive a free download of “10 Top Leader Traits to Thrive Today”
About the Author
Pete is the President and Founder of ActionsProve, LLC and author of Reversing Burnout. How to Immediately Engage Top Talent and Grow! A Blueprint for Professionals and Business Owners. ActionsProve works with professionals and business owners to create greater growth and profits through more effective employee attraction, retention, and impact. Prior to founding ActionsProve, and for more than 20 years, Pete was a very successful and accomplished professional engineer. Pete sold his engineering firm ownership to focus on designing systems for you and your organization to grow and succeed in more relevant and effective ways. For over a dozen years, Pete has also been serving in multiple capacities in the non-profit sector to achieve both local and global impact, and is a co-founder of the 100 Men Who Care chapter for Knoxville and the 100 Men Who Care chapter for Southern Maine.