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The Alchemy of Leadership Blog

Generation X, Millennials and Boomers

gen x

I’m really looking forward to hearing my colleagues David Sole OBE and Gemma Sole discuss the impact of Millennials in the workplace and how to leverage young talent in organisations on Thursday 8th February, 12pm.

Ahead of that I’ve been thinking about demographic cohorts quite a bit lately, not least of all following various family get togethers over Christmas. At times I feel it’s faintly ridiculous to make sweeping statements about generations and yet our experiences and our ways of looking at, and making sense of, the world do differ.

For example, I joined the workforce in the early Eighties, starting in a clerical job in a large branch of a UK bank. Other than the typewriters of the two secretaries the only other keyboards in the building were on a pair of huge computer terminals upon which we recorded the branch’s daily transactions. The environment would be alien to anyone starting work in 2018.

We often hear of Baby Boomers and Millennials yet sandwiched between the two there is Generation X. Like the other demographic cohorts, there are no precise dates for when Gen X starts or ends. Demographers typically use birth years ranging from the early-to-mid 1960s to the early 1980s. This, then, apparently makes me a Gen Xer.

In the 1990s we were sometimes characterised as slackers, cynical and disaffected typically portraying us as "unfocused twenty-somethings … rather self-involved and perhaps aimless...but fun."

In midlife, we have been described as active, happy and achieving a work–life balance. We’ve been credited with entrepreneurial tendencies.

This reminded of David Barnett’s article in The Independent. Barnett writes that in the war between Millennials and Baby Boomers we have forgotten about the work-hard, play-hard Generation X.

Now I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a war but like Barnett I believe that Generation X has the benefit of possessing the best characteristics of both – with none of the downsides.

He writes; “Boomers live in the past and have ransomed the future. Millennials fear the future and are ignorant of the past. Generation X acknowledges what has gone before, learns from it, and resolves to shape the future into something better.

The problem with you Millennials and Boomers, though you’d never admit it, is you’re too alike.”

David Sole OBE and Gemma Sole will draw on their diverse experiences both as an executive coach and an MSc student specialising in reverse-mentoring to help you understand how millennial mentoring can help drive diversity, employee engagement, innovation and agility in an ever-changing business context.

To learn more about Millennial Mentoring, why not sign up to our free webinar on 8th February. Click here to register


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