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The Xer Meme: Thoughts from the bottom of the (generation) ladder

Have the members of Generation X sold out? Have they gone mainstream? Are they still trying to change the world (without telling anyone)?

Kiki L'Italien tagged me in Maddie Grant's Gen-Xer meme, Have We Sold Out? However, I'm at the bottom of the generational ladder. I'm a Gen-Yer (feel free to guess my age, but suffice it to say I'm the baby of the office!) and I work with a lot of Gen-Xers here at MemberClicks.

I do find the research about generations pretty fascinating. We've all heard that Xers were slackers who try to change the system and Yers/Milliennials want more balance between their work and personal lives, etc, etc... Blah blah blah generalization generalization generalization...

Maddie's original post was inspired by Jeff Hurt and a book by Xer Jeff Gordinier. I did a little research and according to an article in Time Magazine, Gordinier graduated college during a recession in 1988, just one year after the stock market crashed.

Ummmm wait a minute .... The exact same thing is happening right now.

Many of my close friends were hardcore journalism majors in college and some of them have "sold out" for public relations or a job outside the media industry. From my own (unscientific) observations, many members of different generations have experienced the same frustration over "selling out" that some Xers might feel now.

The Boomers were supposedly the flower children and hippies who become CEOs and now refuse to turn those corporate jobs over the Millennials. But very few people from that generation actually agreed with the "hippie" message.

Our interests evolve over time. GenXers have mortgages and kids now, and raging against the machine probably won't pay the bills (unless you're really amazingly lucky!). Us Millennials have learned from the mistakes of Boomers and Xers and don't want work to become our lives. I know some people who feel they have sold out, but many of my friends are participating in Teach for America, a teachers corp that sends newly graduated individuals to teach in low-income areas around the country. According to some research and reports, my generation is the most service-oriented ever.

And from whom did we learn about community service? Honestly, I don't think it was the Boomers. I'd be willing to bet it was those subversive Xers.

I'm sure in 10 or 15 years, though, the number of Milliennials in the Peace Corps will have greatly diminished.

This is not a “life stage” thing. We all have to pay the bills. Whatever.  This is a MENTAL thing, Maddie said.

I get that. But from what I've seen, GenXers have done some amazing things. They're the ones who helped create and foster the technologically insane world we live in today.

If you, GenX Reader, feel like you have sold out, try to get some of that fire back while still paying the mortgage and buying groceries. But let me be one of the many to thank you for making it (mostly) OK for me to have a tattoo (it's small and on my ankle and almost always hidden, but you get the point). Thanks for Google and YouTube and Starbucks and Nirvana.

Every generation has become more altruistic, more entrepreneurial and more individualistic. Where would us Millennials be without GenX? Probably stuck in cubicles and working for the man like our Boomer parents. Sigh.

A colleague of mine pointed out the GenXers are so entrepreneurial because they had to be — they're the ones who will get passed over in favor of youth and enthusiasm when the Boomers retire and die. And "when you do it yourself, there's no one to sell out to."

And I've seen tons of great posts around the blogosphere, but I still want to hear from Deirdre Reid and Jeff Hurt!


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