I wrote this post in March 2011 and, not surprisingly, it is still relevant to me. When I originally wrote it I was embarking on a journey to another country working in a totally different career. I ended up having an awesome year-and-a-half adventure in Asia which involved lots of travel and doing things I had only dreamed about. Since returning to the U.S. I moved to another state and started a new career which combined elements of my old careers. I am much more satisfied then I was in March 2011.
I think Gen X’ers are a pretty cool bunch. We are small in numbers compared to the surrounding generations and there are tons of generalizations about us. But after reading a bunch of information on different sites and books, I realized how accurate a lot of the generalizations are. In regard to my career I have always felt lost and aimless. I have constantly changed my career looking for something that excites me enough to want to stick around. Schooling took me ages to do because I couldn’t find one thing and stick to it.
But I never felt it as much as I have during my 30’s. In AZ I was stuck in a job I was burnt out in and a mad dash to move to a new state only led me to the exact same thing, stuck in a job I didn’t like. And here I am at 40 doing the same thing again. Turning my life upside down to reinvent myself and my career.
So a little info about Gen X’ers:
In a Time review of the book, X Saves the World: How Generation X Got the Shaft But Can Still Keep Everything From Sucking, I came across the following info:
“Sandwiched between 80 million baby boomers and 78 million millennials, Generation X — roughly defined as anyone born between 1965 and 1980 — has just 46 million members, making it a dark-horse demographic ‘condemned by numbers alone to nicheville,'” as Gordinier puts it in the book.
The article goes on to explain how it is something like a national case of sibling rivalry:
… with millennials playing the part of the spoiled, naive baby and boomers acting as the self-righteous firstborn. Gordinier’s book, then, is like the earnest ranting of a forgotten middle child.
The forgotten middle child, that is what we are. While the baby boomers get all the attention for being the smart, responsible ones, and the millenials getting all the attention and gifts for being the babies, we get forgotten and locked outside to survive on our own (sob).
Some refer to us as the 13th generation – 1961 to 1981. 1970, the approximate mid-point of the “13th Generation”, had the lowest birth rate of this period. My mom barely squeezed me out in the 12 month to up the numbers by one! According to the book Generations, who coined this term:
this generation is considered a “Reactive” or “Nomad” generation, composed of those who were children during a spiritual awakening.
This must be why I am constantly needing to be on the move and the word commitment causes me to bolt in whichever direction is the opposite of the dreaded commitment. I was born to roam!
I found a few more names for our generation from a site called GenXpedia. (this site no longer exists so you are either going to just have to trust me or do a web search. I say trust me; I am rarely ever wrong)
In France Gen X’ers are known as Génération Bof. Bof meaning ‘Whatever’. (My fave!)
In Iran we are the Burnt Generation.
In Latin America the Crisis Generation.
Check out that site to see why these terms are used, I can’t do all the work for you! Gaawwddd! (oops, can’t do this)
In the US:
“Generation X was generally marked early on by its lack of optimism for the future, nihilism, cynicism, skepticism, political apathy, alienation and distrust in traditional values and institutions”
I found this following excerpt about the employment of Gen X’ers very interesting especially since they can now add 2010’s to the list of economic recessions affecting our generation.
The employment of Generation X is volatile. Generation Xers grew up in a rapidly deindustrializing Western world, experienced the economic recession of the early 1990s and 2000’s, saw traditional permanent job contracts being supplanted with unsecured short-term contracts, experienced offshoring and outsourcing and often experienced years of unemployment or underemployment at typical jobs, such as McJobs in their young adulthood. Many found themselves overeducated and underemployed, leaving a deep sense of insecurity in Generation Xers, whose usual attitude to work is ‘Take the money and run’. They no longer take any employment for granted, as their baby boomer counterparts did, nor do they consider unemployment a stigmatizing catastrophe.
Overeducated and unemployed… hmmmm.. that sounds like someone I know with a useless bachelors and masters degree gathering dust in a corner.
But after all that and my upcoming changes and my short little escapade in “What am I doing with my life” and “why are we treated like a red-headed stepchild and ignored all the time”; you know what I have to say about all of it?