Career Development in Generation X Essay

2185 Words 9 Pages
Career Development in Generation X

Generation X refers to the population cohort following the Baby Boomers. Sources differ as to the exact years during which this cohort was born. Coupland (1991) suggests 1960 to 1970; Bradford and Raines (1992) propose 1965 to 1975; and Howe and Strauss (1993) suggest 1961 to 1981. Whatever the birth years, it is their common life experiences that give this cohort an identity. Individuals born in Generation X are reputedly more global, technologically oriented, and culturally diverse than the generations before them. Coming of age when the linear career path no longer exists, where average income is falling, and where continuous change is the norm, does this generation have different values, work
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The twenty somethings of Generation X who are currently in the work force entered the labor market with no expectations. Many of them believe the best years (in terms of society) are behind them (Howe and Strauss 1993). They have been told that they are the "only generation since the Civil War to come of age unlikely to match their parents' economic fortunes" (ibid., p. 7). They place little faith in job security. "They saw their parents laid off without cause and their perceptions of the working world were shaped in time of economic turmoil. Consequently, they tend to see every job they take as temporary and every company as a stepping stone to something better, or at least to something else" (Filipczak 1994, p. 23). Since they have adopted the philosophy that there are "no guarantees," they are not interested in working their way up. They want to be valued immediately for their skills (Bradford and Raines 1992). They see their career strength in their ability to solve problems and do jobs that others are not able to do. "They believe that security nowadays comes from the transferability of one's skills to other jobs rather than from advancement in hierarchically managed organizations" (Wilkinson 1995, p. 67). They use job hopping as a way to build their skills and make themselves more marketable (Filipczak 1994, p. 27).

Although individuals in Generation X may be cynical, they do not lack drive. They