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Motivating Generation X The term Generation X is being widely used by todays media, to the point when the original meaning of this word is almost forgotten and the word itself is downgraded to the status of simple label. Nevertheless, certain psychological traits that we attribute to the representatives of this generation are still clearly visible among majority of Gen-Exers. Let us briefly analyze the origins of this term, as it will give us an insight on what can be counted as an advantages and disadvantages of Generation X, from the employers point of view. History of Generation X In 1964 British sociologist Jane Deverson had conducted a series of youth interviews, which revealed that the teenagers possessed a few psychological characteristics that were not being found in young people one generation ago, namely: they sleep together before they are married, don't believe in God, dislike the Queen and don't respect parents (Deverson, p. 5). Still, it wasnt the denial of conventional morality among these young people that shocked people so much, as flower children also did that, but cold cynicism and the absence of idealism. As more studies were being conducted on the subject, those that were born between 1965 and 1980 began to be regarded as Generation X.
Still, this term was only known to the tight circle of psychologists, before Douglas Coupland published his novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture in 1991. In it, he described the generation that came next after baby-boomers, as a part of complex phenomenon of social alienation, which began to show itself in more and more people, at the time when process of globalization started to gain a momentum. Basically, Coupland suggests that an increased inability to influence the social and political life, on the part of Generation X, resulted in fact that the majority of these people are withdrawn from any social activity and usually assume the passive role of observers, where baby-boomers would take more active stance. Todays popular perception describes Generation X as alienated, overeducated, coffee-addicted, body-pierced Liberals, who often strive for nothing less than elimination of injustice in the whole world, while being barely able to pay their cable bills on time.
Even though, such perception is one sided, it nevertheless properly represents Generation X, as a whole. The rise of political correctness caused many young people to associate themselves with wrong values. It is especially can be seen in the field of employment, when such underachieves cannot realize one simple thing it is their professional effectiveness that counts and not their professional appearance. This largely applies to the people that were being born in this country. But we also have many immigrants that were being born between 1965 and 1980. Their express distinctively different attitudes and they are commonly referred to as lost generation in countries of their origin.
What different them from natives is the fact that, along with being nihilists, they are also very ambitious. This makes them much more value as workforce in eyes of many employers. It is not a secret that 60 % of Microsoft top programs come from former Soviet Union. One of the biggest advantages of Gen-Exers from abroad is the fact that they were being largely spared of poisonous influence of modern Liberalism, therefore it is easier for them to stay focused on attaining profesional goals, because it requires both: commitment and ambition.
Position in the Workplace A) Work Ethics Gregory Smith in his article Baby Boomer Versus Generation X Managing the New Workforce gives us rather an idealized description of Generation X work ethics: Generation X employees tend to be less motivated by promises of overtime pay and more motivated by personal satisfaction with their jobs. They want to grow in their jobs and learn new skills. They will change jobs often as they seek jobs that offer them both better benefits and more opportunity for professional growth as well as personal fulfillment (Smith). But the potential employee will undoubtedly have a different opinion about workers that change jobs often, doesnt matter how much personal fulfillment such tactics can bring them. As practice shows, Gen-Exers are not usually interested in pursuing a long term career paths, since they rightfully think that their loyalty to the company cannot benefit them, the way it used to back in fifties or even sixties.
The individual factor in modern economy is being continually undermined by the rise of new technologies. Generation X is too young to establish any long-term financial goals, yet it is too old to be able to adjust to the realities of post-industrial economy, since its metaphysical roots grow from entirely different ground, comparing to where Gen-Exers moral values had originated. The classical concept of achieving means actual achievement, but the liberal version of it tells us that the achievement is when someone simply tries hard enough, even though the failure comes as a result. Also, a professional failure can be explained by racism or sexism at work place, with a substantial compensation paid to a progressive worker, as a result. The truth is that in America politics are the best described in terms of economy and the economy itself is slowly losing its economic essence, therefore it is being increasingly plagued by political ideologies that have nothing to do with improving the working conditions for the personal. As a result, many companies subject its employees to the politically-correct behavioral policies, when females cannot be looked straight in the eyes for example, as it might be considered a sexual harassment.
At the same time, companies try to cut down their expenses, regarding the issues that really matter, such as social insurance for the employees. The biggest danger of this tendency is not that it substantially decreases workers' productivity, but that it installs a totally new work ethics in the minds of the growing portion of today's employees Gen-Exers. These ethics emphasize the equality over quality, the pretense over honesty and wishful thinking over objective reality. In my opinion, the existing social preconditions cause Gen-Exers to be considered as less desirable by many employers, rather then their inherited moral wickedness. But once the socio-political reality in U. S.
is being brought back to sanity, it won't take long before Generation X becomes Generation Success. B) Beliefs The Survey and Review of Attitudes and Beliefs of Generation X Pharmacy Students, conducted by Frank Romanelli and Melody Ryan in 2005, shows a certain psychological trends that can only be attributed to Generation X: Gen-Exers are drawn to real life experiences and best relate when the impact of choices, knowledge, spirituality, and other factors are encumbered with the consequences and applications of what they so often term the real world Spending their formative years in the materialistic period of the 1980 s may have led many Gen-Exers to develop strong consumerist attitudes and senses of entitlement. These attributes are often frustrating for educators as they may undermine classroom civility and promote grade inflation. Gen-Exers place high value on entertainment. (Romanelli, Ryan). The same students were asked about what qualities they value the most about their instructors. 80 % responded: entertaining and friendliness. This survey tells potential employee what to expect upon hiring a Gen-Gen.
About 60 % of all Gen-Exers are heavily influenced by liberal ideology; therefore, they are more self-indulgent, undisciplined and whining than the representatives of any other generation. Basically, they believe in what is the best for themselves, with the notions of loyalty and social responsibility being unknown to them. Tapia Anders in her article Reaching the Post-Christian Generation says: The distinctive nature of Generation X results not only from massive changes within American society, but also from a paradigm shift in Western culture - the transition from modernism (the Enlightenment's legacy) to post-modernism (Anders). We might argue about whether it is good or bad, but the fact is that our society is based solely on the principle of economic profit. This is what children are being taught at school. According to our vision of democracy, what matters in this life is the level of comfort that individual can attain.
The ideal is to be able to earn as much money as possible with the least possible effort applied. Nevertheless, it is in comparatively recent times that such materialistic nihilism began to be promoted among young people and this is why Gen-Exers' beliefs are marked with a certain dichotomy. They still suspect that there are greater values than one's enrichment, yet they assign such values to security rather then to freedom. The years 1965 - 1980 are now commonly referred to as time between time, because the old geopolitical and existential concepts began to loose its credibility during these years, while post-modernist world wasn't going to become a reality before 1990. Hence, Gen-Exers's post in personality. We can say that Generation lack the idealism on conscious level, but it still posses it as part of its inner being.
Ted Halstead in his article Politics for Generation X points out to the most negative about Gen-Exers' beliefs, if such exist in the first place: Exers have internalized core beliefs and characteristics that bode ill for the future of American democracy. This generation is more likely to describe itself as having a negative attitude toward America, and as placing little importance on citizenship and national identity, than its predecessors (Halstead) C) Communication Methods It is quite impossible to say that Gen-Exers use different communicational methods than the rest of humanity. Yet, it is a fact that the Generation X in Western countries is affected more than any other by the consequences of racial mixing. As the result, we see that the vocabulary of Gen-Exers that succumbed to multiculturalism, is considerately poorer than the one of baby boomers. This is the direct consequence of much celebrated diversity. Racial mixing diminishes peoples ability to understand the meaning of abstract concepts.
For example, there are 20 different synonyms for word cocaine in Mexican Spanish, and none for word spirit. Predictably enough, one cannot expect diversified Gen-Exer to excel in the field of strategic planning, if he reaches the position of top manager. The simplification of Gen-Exers language can be valuable, when it comes to dealing with real life situations, such as working in fast-paced environment, but it takes not just an average intelligence to move up the ranks in every company. On the other side, we have Gen-Exers who are overly sophisticated.
Yet, they usually have a hard time staying in touch with reality. It appears that their intellectual qualities are largely undermined by their lack of idealism. They increasingly prefer to communicate through Internet and wireless phones. Yet, because they also tend to shorten words and phrases, for the sake of saving time, we can say that the English language has lost much of its expressional ability, being modified by Gen-Exers.
D). How they are Viewed in Contrast to Others It is not a secret that Gen-Exers are held in much lower regard, comparing to the baby-boomers or representatives of Great Generation, due to the fact that they had been spared of many difficulties in life that their parents went through. This made Gen-Exers much more demanding, when it comes to surrounding themselves with domestic comfort, yet they are not into applying much effort to accomplish it, since they are more mentally dependent on social institutions. We can say that the Generation X is more susceptible to the dubious value of instant gratification than previous ones. That is why 65 % of all credit card holders in America consist of Gen-Exers.
Also, older people think of Gen-Exers as more feminine. As a rule, they can be trusted to the much lesser degree, since they are unaware of many idealistic principles that held Western societies together, up to this day. But Gen-Exers also exhibit a few positive qualities, such as intellectualism. That is why they are usually regarded by their coworkers as more sophisticated than them. We can say that Great Generation possessed only the strength of character; baby-boomers had both the strength of character and intellectualism, while Gen-Exers have only intellectualism.
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