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The X Factor

Charli's Blog

The X Factor

GenX to Millennials

I was recently reading a LinkedIn blog “I’m A Gen Xer — Here’s Why You Should Stop Ignoring Me” by Jarrod Walpert.

It reminded me of a post I’ve wanted to write for a while now!

I was born Feb 2, 1981, so I am officially a millennial (Millennials are the generation born between 1981 and 2001) – but I am also so close to all you Gen Xers out there (Gen-X is 1961-1981…so you see, I’m right on the cusp). I believe what has made my company successful in bridging the gap between traditional media and new media, and Cieana also agrees as she’s also right on the edge of the Gen Xers….is that we basically understand both worlds, giving us a unique perspective!

Paperback Books vs Kindles
Newspapers vs Twitter
Scrapbooks vs Facebook Pages
Landlines vs Facetime
Snail Mail vs Instant messaging
We were there for the first PC, blackberry, and IPhone!

I laughed at Walperts article discussing Gen Xers watching Dirty Dancing and MTV.  This was me… I was BABY and practiced that lift with my sister at the Lake more times than I want to admit!  But more importantly, I watched it while pulling the mile long phone cord from the kitchen to see my favorite part while talking to a friend. I understand what it means to multitask.  We were the first to use cell “bag” car phones but also still frequently used our calling cards at the payphone. (And you think paying for unlimited data is limiting).

We were the first to use email and understand the feeling associated with the sound of a dial-up and waiting for the screen that says…  You’ve Got Mail.  I love that scene in the movie where Meg Ryan shows her excitement about receiving a message because I lived it… I think I got the first high from a ‘text message’ but it was far from an instant message.

My friends all had MySpace accounts but I can barely remember that J I always wonder if that is still live somewhere?

We were still having sleepovers and actually looking at each other when we talked at events. Times have changed; now we look at each other through taking selfies and enjoying skyping or Facetiming with friends as part of our socializing.  Today, I hear how addicted we are to our phones, which I personally think is silly.  Yes there are moments when we all have been too attached to something… a girlfriend, a boyfriend, a hobby… now its using all of that… all at once… and all the time J I totally could relate to the line “If you take away our technology you won’t scare us; you’ll just annoy us.” Where’s my phone!

This is me… I don’t understand when someone tells me not to have my phone out when there is nothing happening… Would you tell me to stop talking to a friend if they were sitting there… no – its just you don’t yet understand that my friend is now on the side of the phone, somewhere else in the world… and I can see them almost as good as if they were sitting next to me.  This is the PLEASURE of technology.  This is what I embrace and appreciate!  We can see and talk to anyone … anytime…. anywhere!

On the flip side, I understand if I am with the VIP of the evening… a text, photo, or checkin can wait. Being fully in the moment is priceless and when this happens today, you should note – you are truly enjoying that person, place, or thing!

Technology is amazing and there is power to reach others like at no other time in our history.  I feel a personal responsibility to talk with people… to share stories… to use words to encourage… to educate… to build something better together…

So back to what I started this blog with “I’m A Gen Xer — Here’s Why You Should Stop Ignoring Me”

The reality is, as the title of this blog mentions, the US is basically ignoring this amazing resource; instead it spends its time worrying about the exiting of the Baby boomers and the entry of the Millennials. The amazing fact I learned recently was that the US economy relies very heavily on Gen-Xers – which is an often-overlooked group of 81 million Americans and the largest population of the workforce … wow!

So I want all the Millennials and Gen-Xers out there reading this blog to think about this and what it means to them. Just think how much a Gen-Xer can teach a Millennial about what it takes to be in business and hopefully to succeed [think about my bullets below]; and what a Millennial can teach a Gen-Xer about all the cool technologies we use and take for granted each day and how they can use them each day to make their work easier. WE CAN LEARN FROM EACH OTHER!!!! There are so many examples I can give for both of these that show the power we have to make a positive change for everyone in industry regardless of whether you’re entering, in the middle, or on your way out.

Gen-Xers are quickly becoming the NEW decision makers and have time to make a difference, so don’t discount this group in your marketing, hiring, and mentorship programs!

Match your Gen-Xers up with your Millennial workers and get that industry knowledge transferred to the incoming generations. I believe millennials will help build a better world because they get that we are connected for a purpose. We just have to help them figure out what it means to have purpose.  It’s not to have a job that pays you to be present.  It’s about believing you are right where you are for a purpose and you should make the best of your ability to grow, improve, and take that purpose to the next level.

I watched a video that said it is our job to teach millennials what work and purpose should look like.  So I’ll start here since I am a millennial talking to millennials I tell you what I have learned.

We (business owners) expect…

1.     Someone that does what they say they are going to do
2.     Truth and honesty gets you further than vagueness
3.     When we email you a task, you don’t ignore it because you don’t want to do it!  (This was my most frustrating experience with a millennial… that individual just thought it was ok to ignore the request as if it was never given. I think I am still in shock about this… I would never dream of ignoring my boss’s request).
4.     If you want a free lunch, you must put in the work.  If you come in late, you work late.  If you come in early, you can leave early… put in a good days work and finish what you said you were going to finish
5.     Respect… remember it’s earned not demanded
6.     Work Hard and We will Play Harder.  This doesn’t mean “looking busy”. Communicating with friends (including text), hobbies, or workouts should be done on your personal time – not during work hours.  It means when your work is done, you can take a well-deserved break and celebrate! It means you should organize your work and personal time and not combine them… even if you’re the boss.  Then keep in mind too much of either isn’t respected and can still cause issues.

Share your thoughts with us! Tell us what you think Gen-Xers should be teaching Millennials and what Millennials can teach Gen-Xers. We want to hear from you!

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