Gen-X: Do Not Feed After Midnight
I usually do not give a flying f…. about generalisations and the whole Boomer/Gen-X/Millenial/Gen-Z/Alpha marketing/cohort bla-bla. But Michael Girdley’s list of „10 mind hacks to use with Gen X” hit home with me. I switched between feeling entertained and „I feel seen”. His disclaimer
I’ll be generalizing. Not every Gen X will think this way. I would definitely underwrite and emphasize.
Here are Michael’s 10 mind hacks to use with Gen X (the list is all his, all errors are mine):
1 Motivate Gen X with two phrases, “Do it your way” and “Don’t sweat the rules”
Many Gen X grew up in divorced single-parent homes. So were forced to be self-reliant and unsupervised early on. They want independence to get it done their way.
2 Send your Gen X colleagues well-written emails.
Gen X grew up with email – but before SMS or apps. Their teachers stressed correct writing, too. Poor grammar drives Gen X nuts.
3 Acknowledge Gen X’s emails quickly.
They will love you. Gen X wants to know who is responsible at all times. They grew up when institutions weren’t to be trusted.
4 Focus with Gen X on mission and results.
Not seniority, effort, or hours worked. You’ll often hear Gen X say, “If someone gets the job done in half the time, that’s fine.”
5 Allow Gen X a balanced life.
Gen X grew up with workaholic Boomer parents. Seeing that, Gen X thinks work is part of life but not why they live.
6 Bond with Gen X as individuals.
Not as part of a tribe (Millennials) or institution (Boomers). Institutions from Gov’t to marriage showed they couldn’t be trusted during Gen X’s youth.
7 Be direct with Gen X.
Give them data. Gen X says “Tell me how it is!” and cuts out the fluff. For generations like Millennials, this is hard.
Millennials want the “shit sandwich” for feedback.
8 Just acknowledge Gen X exists.
Gen X feels forgotten. Only 20% of the population. They’re also the people in your org with their heads down, getting stuff done. But, take them for granted and they can bolt.
9 Expect Gen X to be pessimistic.
Boomers/Millenials grew up in ages of abundance. Gen X is the first generation to NOT do as well financially as their parents or kids did.
10 Expect Gen X to want work-life separation.
Expect them to be friendly but not “friends” at work. Unlike recent generations who bring their personal life to work.
Generation X has the benefit of possessing the best characteristics of both the boomers and the millennials, and none of the downsides. We know how to work hard and we know how to play hard. Generation X-ers are very industrious. Boomers don’t understand the internet and millennials were raised on it. Generation X created it. We stripped off and dove into the glittering waters of this brand new thing, and made it what it is today.
And yes, the title is a quote from a Gen-X movie.