Unit 3 Generation X
What They Think and What They Plan to Do
1 It’s often said that kids today aren’t what they used to be. But is this new generation of teenagers and young adults, commonly referred to as ―Generation X‖ or the ―baby busters,‖ really so different from previous generations? What makes them
tick? What impact will they have on us and our institutions as we move into the future?
2 Twenty years ago, employers didn’t worry about finding enough good people. Just like a box of tissues, there was always another candidate that would pop right up. But the 18-year baby boom of 1946-1964, when birth rates peaked at 25.3 births per 1,000 population, was followed by the 11-year ―baby bust,‖ when the rate fell to a low
of 14.6 births per 1,000. This means the smallest pool of entry-level workers since the 1930s. ―Generation X,‖ as they were dubbed in a 1991 novel by Canadian writer Douglas Coupland, realize the numbers are on their side. They are now mainly in their 20s, and they see themselves as very marketable in the workplace. They feel that they can be patient when choosing a job, and they can look for the best wages. 3 This generation has watched more TV, and as a result has probably witnessed more violence and murders, than any generations in history. In addition, their gloomy view of the world has been shaped by numerous negative events, such as the Persian Gulf War, escalating crime, riots, AIDS, the nuclear threat, and pollution. 4 They parents practiced birth control and abortion and were highly concerned about ―making it‖ financially. About 40% of X’ers are products of divorce, and many were brought up in single-parent homes. The emotional upheaval and conflict this causes helped shape their view of the family and the world. It seems to have sent out a negative message to X’ers about their value and worth.
5 Many young believe that their economic prospects are gloomy. They believe that they will not do as well financially as their parents or their grandparents. They know that the average income for young people, even with two or three college degrees, has declined significantly over the past generations. Many feel that their chances of finding the job and salary they want are bleak.
6 Couple with the high divorce rate with the fact that many were latchkey children and you get a generation who may have had more time alone than any in history. They are also the first to spend considerable time in day care. At home, they were weaned on TV, high tech, video games, and computers. They became independent at a young age. Many had to grow up fast, taking on family responsibilities or part-time jobs to help out. All this has helped them become very freedom-minded, individualistic, and self-absorbed.
7 Many resent the fact that their parents were not home to spend more time with them. An often heard sentiment is that things will be different when they raise their own families.
8 The loyalty and commitment to the workplace that previous generations had is gone. Generation X’ers watched their grandparents slave away only to receive a gold
watch and pension upon retirement. Thirty or more years of loyalty sometimes ended with a security guard helping them to clean out their desks and escorting them out the door. Their parents’ dedication to the company has been repaid with downsizing and layoffs.
9 Young people feel there is no such thing as job security. They feel they don’t want to wait around and pay their dues when there is no long-term commitment from the top. They can’t believe that their boomer bosses spend 60 or more hours a week at a job that they constantly complain about. They strongly believe there is life after work.
10 Generation X’ers take longer to make job choices. They look upon a job as temporary instead of as a career, partly because they want to keep their options open. They are always looking to jump ship when they can upgrade their situation. They will often leave a job at the hint of a better position.
11 This generation seems to do things at a much later age than their parents. They graduate from college later, stay at home longer, and marry much later. Many who leave home come back again, sometimes more than once. This is due in part to the high cost of living and the fact that many have piled up huge studentloan debts. In contrast with the baby boomers, who couldn’t wait to leave home, Generation X’ers save their money so they can live better when they do leave. It may be that some just want to delay the time when they are on their own, because they spent so much time alone as children.
12 Many of X’ers’ parents were busy in the morning getting ready for work and too tired to have any quality time with their children at night. X’er classrooms were often overcrowded. It was hard for the X’ers to get noticed, so as adults they have a
need to be noticed. Often, they seek that attention in the workplace. 13 Whether from watching TV or from being spoiled by their guilt-ridden, seldom-home parents or grandparents, X’ers have come to expect a whole lot for
nothing. They have a strong propensity for instant gratification, wanting it all and wanting it fast. Their favorite TV programs are soap operas. They would like their world to be filled with the same good-looking people, dressed in the latest fashions, with lots of money and prestige, and without having to work too hard. 14 It is not uncommon for X’ers to get out of high school and expect to be paid well despite minimal skills. Many disdain low-wage ―McJobs‖ at fast-food chains.
Young college graduates look to start at high paying positions with power and perks. They have little patience for working their way up.
15 Yet, the X’ers feel that making money is not as important as experiencing life. To be a workaholic is to have no life. Consequently, a paradox exists between how they view life and what they think they need from it.
16 Many positive trends appear to be associated with Generation X, and they may change society for the better in many ways.
17 The first boomers are only 10 or 12 years away from retiring – and finally out
of the way of the next generation. The X’ers will begin to take over in politics, arts and culture, education, media, and business. This should lead to a time of better
problem solving and quicker solutions, as they hate political maneuvering and want to get to solutions in a fast, no-nonsense way.
18 X’ers don’t like the fact that their parents spent so many hours working. They promise to do better with their children, being more accessible and providing a more stable home life. Since many of them will marry later when they are more mature, the divorce rate will finally begin to dip.
19 When X’ers control the organizations of tomorrow, they will create a shorter workweek, so people will have more time to spend with their families and leisure activities. Productivity won’t suffer, as technology will enable people to be more productive. In addition, the X’ers’ disdain for office politics and desire to solve problems faster will improve productivity. If organizations do not manage their human resources better, X’ers will leave to find or create a more humane workplace.
20 Many Generation X’ers have a freedom-minded and individualistic nature.
They like to be left alone to solve problems. They are a perfect group to become consultants, as already evidenced by so many venturing out on their own. 21 Organizations will come to rely on the X’ers’ entrepreneurial spirit to foster innovation. They will create systems that will allow ―intrapreneurs‖ to create and run
small businesses within a business. The organization’s financial support will allow young people to research and create new products at unparalleled rates. Outside entrepreneurs of this generation will team up with these ―intrapreneurs‖ to create joint
22 Generation X’ers have started to use their technology skills to create virtual businesses, and they will be the driving force behind this marketplace in the future. They have been quick to take advantage of the lower overhead and quick start-ups that the Internet provides. Being able to reach millions of people with new ideas and products instantly attracts this generation.
23 Generation X has evolved in dramatically different ways than previous generations. What motivated past generations is far different from what motivates this new breed. But the changes will be for the better in many ways. Kids may not be what they used to be, but if we listen, there is a lot we can learn from them. The future will be a better place if we do.
1 Do you know why the generation in America during the decade of the 1950’s was dubbed as/was referred to as the Silent Generation?
2 I should not let him take on this job; he has been working overtime every evening. 3 On Children’s Day, many restaurants are crowed with people, and customers are
kept waiting around for a whole hour.
4 In that country, university students must pay a large amount of tuition and, as a result, some students from poor families have piled up student-loan debts. 5 Young people tend to jump ship whenever they have a better chance to improve their situation.
6 That pop singer teamed up with some other people and established a new band, which enjoyed great popularity among young people.
7 They look upon training as a way to learn a new skill or behavior that makes them more marketable.
8 Most foreign visitors to London will live and eat in the West End, while others prefer to venture out into the historic part of London on their own. 9 Ted cleaned out his desk and left the office when his request for a raise had been turned down.
10 The young generation hates slaving away all their life as they think that there is life besides work.
1 No one can predict what the consequences of urban growth on such a scale will be for the people living there or elsewhere.
2 Human beings are paying a lot for medicine and are not getting all that they think they are paying for: a guarantee to endless betterment.
3 Despite his low opinion of professors – or perhaps in an effort to improve he
breed – Smith himself eventually became one.
4 By the word scientist we mean one who is equipped to spend a lifetime for the advancement of science to the best of one’s ability.
5 Any culture, which, in the interests of efficiency or in the name of some political or religious dogma, seeks to standardize the human individual, commits an outrage against man’s biological nature.
6 The stroke left him with serious difficulties in speaking and with an impaired memory for recent events.
7 As for the last point, it is perhaps not generally realized how difficult it is to make verbally accurate translations of extremely technical material.
8 This has caused them to deduce that science is mathematics and hardly anything else.
9 There is no doubt that China has benefited greatly from her population policy. 10 The university, faced with tightening budgets and declining enrollments, is casting about for new ways to support and enlarge its research activities. 完形
Generation X activists, Rob Nelson and Jon Cowan, say their generation has every right to worry about its future. To help the X’ers, Nelson and Cowan have written Revolution X: A Survival Guide for Our Generation.
―We grew up as America, in many ways, fell down,‖ they write. ―While older generations watched Neil Armstrong plant an American flag on the moon, we tuned to see Christa McAuliffe killed in the Challenger explosion. We are … the first to inherit a lower standard living than our parents and a debt that may soon eclipse the size of our economy.‖ Among the harsh realities that Generation X’ers face are: A U.S. teenager in 1990 was less likely to die of an accident, a cardiovascular disease, or pneumonia than someone born in 1960, but more than twice as likely to die by suicide or homicide.
During the last 30 years, the number of children living in poverty has increased by nearly 30%. Half of the uninsured population in the United States is under age 25. Since the mid-1970s, poverty among young adults has gone up by 50%; the median
income of under-30 parents fell by one-third.
In 1993, AIDS was the top killer of young adults in 64 cities. The number of people with AIDS worldwide is expected to rise from 14 million to 30 million by 2000. ―Only when millions more of us get in the face of the system – read up and
derstand the crises we face, talk about them to friends and family, volunteer, vote, un
and speak our minds – only then will we see an end to the reckless policies that have mortgaged our future,‖ the authors conclude.
1 Unlike the young people today, we had to take on family responsibility and help our parents with housework when we were teenagers.
2 Generation X’ers take work seriously, but they disdain the workaholic,
slave-to-the-job mentality of their parents and bosses.
3 Many kids today can work with a variety of software programs on their own and comprehend them quickly.
4 They were referred to as the Lost Generation because they were disillusioned and did not know what to do with their new liberties.
5 The young people with diverse culture backgrounds all have in common a love for the same clothing styles, music and entertainment.
6 Generation X has a strong propensity for fun and enjoyment, and it is a priority for them to have a good time whether they are at work, school or home. 7 Most people in China look upon their job as a career and have loyalty and commitment to the workplace.
8 These young people desire to upgrade their situation and they are always jumping ship at the hint of a better position.
9 Being spoiled by their guilty-ridden, seldom-home parents, X’ers are not ready to
take over in politics, education and business.
10 Young entrepreneurs are encouraged to team up with their colleagues to do research and create new products at unparalleled rates.