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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Gen X: A Distinct Generation

To celebrate the launch of this New Year, 2010, this week I will review What’s Next, Gen X? (by Tamara Erickson, Harvard Business School Publishing, 2010). This is the SECOND post:

Erickson discusses what constitutes a “generation,” how they’re programmed, and how specifically X’ers can move forward in their lives, given their “sandwiched” position.

A generation, according to Erickson, is “…a group of people, who, based on their age, share not only a chronological location in history but also the experiences that accompany it.” She argues that who people are now/today is a direct corollary of what they have collectively experienced personally and culturally as teens. She bases her opinions on Swiss biologist and psychologist Jean Piaget, known widely for his theories and research on child development. So, she concludes on this basis with some observations about X’ers, who have:
  • A gift for detecting rhetoric (BS)
  • A healthy distrust of organizations
  • Strong survival skills
  • Great personal networks
  • A way of operating globally and digitally
  • Are looking for alternative roads forward
  • A tendency to be free agents
  • Are entrepreneurial, yet pragmatic
  • Are dedicated to being good parents
Here’s her take on when the various generations were born:

Traditionalists: 1928-45

Boomers: 1946-1964

X’ers: 1965-1979

Y’s: 1980-1995

Re-Generations: 1996

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