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Why are Generation X’ers workaholics?

The latchkey kids. The Lost generation. The movers and shakers.

Poor #GenerationX. They are often referred to as “#thelostgeneration”. They had the misfortune to follow the #BabyBoomers who thought they could change just about everything in society. There was so much happening in the world while the X’ers were small children. As we moved through the 70’s, that change started to slow down. The world became a quieter place. The war in Vietnam came to a close. There were no other active global wars (except the cold war).

“The evening news shifted to things happening at home. Nixon traveled to China before resigning a couple of years later. The Apollo program continued to explore space. The United States celebrated its bicentennial. Three Mile Island had its meltdown.”

On the home front, the economy was getting strong. Families saw the opportunity to have more than they ever dreamed. The popularity of two parent wage earners became the norm as homes got larger and cars got more exotic. Debt rose commensurately. The need to earn in order to manage the debt left its mark on the #GenX’ers. They saw that you had to roll up your sleeves and work hard if you wanted to have the good things in life.

They were the “#latchkeykids”; the ones who were left to take care of themselves after school until their parents came home from work.

In this role, they learned to live within a structure and rules. They were generally expected to make sure their homework was completed prior to watching television. They knew what they were allowed to snack on and in what quantities. They knew who they could talk to (or which friends were allowed over. They also understood what they were not allowed to do. They understood not to answer the door or the phone unless their parents called with the correct “ring code”. Their lives were self-managed and structured.

This generation grew up with continued personal structure.

As they moved into #highereducation, they were driven to “do whatever it takes” to complete the task at hand. At the same time, they copied the formula for success that they had seen in their parents and realized that they could have nice things if they played their cards right. They developed a strong home/life balance and were willing to do what it took at work in order to have what they wanted in their leisure time.

"Generation X developed a work ethic that has never been matched. All of the things they learned and experienced carried over into the workplace. They became people business could count on to deliver results."

As such, they found that rapid promotions “up the #corporateladder” were within their control. This drove them even harder.

Competition with others of their generation became a strong motivator. They saw success and wanted more of it.

In life, we all learn what works for us and develop patterns in our lives to see that we are successful. The Generation X #workforce has exemplified this as #businessleaders. We, of other generation need to understand why they are who they are and embrace them for what they bring to the success of our organizations. Gen X’ers need to remember that not everyone else is as driven as they may be and be patient with us as we all work together.



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