The "X" Factor

The next installment on our segment on generational issues brings us to Generation X....

Sandwiched between Gen Y and Baby Boomers and approaching that "magical" mid-life point is Generation X. Sharing some similar charactistics with their younger Gen Y sisters and brothers and some stark differences to their older Boomer relatives, this group pocesses it's own unique characteristcis that warrant closer examination.


Gen X, Xers, Baby Busters, MTV Generation

Birth Years

1965 - 1976

Current Age

36 - 47 years

 Suggestions to Motivate

  • Don’t expect long-term commitment from Gen Xers. Having witnessed their parents being downsized after decades of allegiance, their loyalty vests in people not organizations. They are not afraid to "jump ship" when unsatisfied.
  • Many Gen Xers believe that, at some point, someone will “screw” them. Create stability through in-organization mobility and learning opportunities that foster growth. Gen Xers view work as a process of developing skills and building a resume. Tap-in on the fact that they are risk takers and a highly-educated generation. 
  • Don’t try to impress or intimidate them with titles or threats. Many Gen Xers grew-up as latch-key kids, watching TV and are, therefore, independed and generally comfortable with defying or ignoring authority.
  • Entering the job market during down times and high unemployment, Gen Xers are skeptical of “everyone and everything.” They are the first generation to consider that they may not be able to do as well as their parents. This skepticism also roots in the fact that their parents divorced at triple the rate of the previous generation. Build trust and support through relationships (heart) and strong rationale (head) to gain support.
  • Provide “work/life balance.”  Unlike “Boomers” who “live to work,” Gen Xers “work to live.” Respect their need for time to focus on other life priorities. Whenever possible, create flexible work schedules.
  • Having been a part of the rise of the digital revolution (they are the first generation to grow up with computers), like Gen Y, this generation has technology woven into their DNA and is highly-adaptable and skilled in a variety of technical devices.  Peak their interest with investments in new technology. 
  • Comfortable with independent action, give them space, allow them to take risks and spark their entrepreneurial nature. Present challenges and let them figure out the solutions.

As a result of historical, post-Boomer circumstances, some say Gen X represents the “lost generation.”  Help them find their way.