Generational theory makes me cranky. I was born squarely in the middle of the Gen X birth years, which according to the theory would make me completely unlike the generations on either side.
Being an X-er nowadays feels like driving down the freeway in my old, tin-can Ford Aspire, pedal to the metal, trying to avoid being crushed by two huge, aggressive SUVs. Gen X is the baby bust between the Baby Boom and the Boomers’ babies. We are a tiny generation of self-deprecating cynics trapped between two massive generations of idealistic, self-confident world-changers. While Boomers and Millenials need reminders that they could be wrong, Gen X-ers need to remind themselves that they could be right.
I’ve been thinking about generations recently in the context of a Millenial’s comments about work supervisors. I began to wonder how it must feel to be an X-er boss of a Millenial employee. What happens when an X-er who still can’t believe she’s in charge has a conflict with a take-charge Millenial subordinate? How does the X-er find the confidence, and the Millenial the humility, to negotiate the situation? Can they find ways to teach each other?