The Search for Generation X

The "middle child" strikes back

Letter to the class of 2018 from a Gen-Xer


I want to begin this letter by congratulating you on making it this far.  To your parents, who are most likely members of my Generation X tribe, I say well done.  I hope that your offspring picked degrees that will get them closer to their desire for independence (and you closer to that man/woman cave that you have always wanted).

Members of the class of 2018, as you prepare to go into the workforce, keep in mind your boss will likely be a member of Generation X. According to 2017 data, the average age for a C-suite titleholder (CEO, CFO, etc.), is 54.  While this age leans late baby boomer, the average age of a Chief Information Officer (CIO) in the C-suite is 47, which is Gen-X.  The average age for people in middle management is 35, which is at the end of the Generation X span.

I would like to take this time to provide you with some pearls of wisdom on the following topics that may help you as you move forward.  Some of my comments are tinged with humor (but I mean every word).

Social Media

Yes, you are younger and possibly a little more tech savvy than my generation.  Do not think you are safe from social media evaluation.  When you are hired, you are a representative of the organization by-proxy.  Nowadays, most organizations have a social media/marketing specialist.  If you are on social media drinking Pepsi in every third photo and you are trying to get a job at Coca-Cola that is a problem.

Social media reflects your brand.  What you put out in the cloud tells your story (good or bad).  You have every right to express yourself based on the first amendment, but if your speech (and sometimes appearance) does not represent the mission, vision and/or values of the organization, we are not hiring you.

The Vocal Fry

If you do not know what a vocal fry is, click here.  Between the vocal fry and ending every sentence with a question mark (even when you are not asking a question), our dislike for you will increase exponentially.  Please note I am not speaking of people whose lower vocal register naturally creates a fry effect (Johnny Gill anyone?). Kim Kardashian and her sisters are wealthy; you are not (yet).  If you want to use a voice that will bring us a hearty laugh, try this one, otherwise, trust your voice is good enough.  In other words, be the best representation of yourself and not a poor imitation of a reality star.

Do Not Expect to Become CFO Immediately

We Gen-Xers are not giving up our leadership titles that easily.  We still have our own skills, dreams and ambitions. With that said, if you are trying to succeed, try asking us how it is done.  Most of us like to share our wisdom, and would love to become a mentor.  Do not be an “Eve Harrington”, wait your turn.

One Last Thought

Only forty percent of working-aged Americans have a college degree.  Once upon a time, I would have said this improved your success in the job search; this is no longer true.  While waiting for that “you’re hired” call, why not try entrepreneurship?  Go to Amazon FBA, Shopify, WordPress, or any e-commerce company or web development platform and start an online business or blog.  Set up a business page and promote your brand.  Not everyone adapts to the standard nine-to-five workweek.  Who knows, you might find yourself on a faster track to C-Suite status under your own umbrella.


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