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HOW TO WORK WITH GENERATION X
    Photo of Don Sutaria
April 2011
 
 
 
My dear friends, colleagues, clients and students:

In this issue we present an article on a contemporary topic, How to Work with Generation X. Next month be sure to read the complementary article, How to Work with Generation Y.

An additional article, Food For The Soul, has tips on how to have a good day and also peace of mind.

Book Endorsements
Our book, Career and Life Counseling From the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), has received many excellent reviews. Ten reviews give the book a 5-star rating, and four have a 4-star rating.

Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? says:
"Don Sutaria is one of the career counselors I most admire in the U.S. He talks about things other career counselors don't, like "your soul." Now he has written a book I like a lot, with brilliant short chapters you can digest day by day. I recommend it unreservedly to everyone."
We are deeply grateful for his endorsement.

  Career and Life Counseling From the Heart book cover
This book has been nicknamed as Chicken Soup for Your Career! Take a peek inside this book at Amazon.com before you decide to buy it. It is also available as an e-book from iUniverse.

Career Doctor Don's Column
Career Doctor Don Answers Your Questions appears as a regular feature in the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) - New Jersey Chapter newsletters. Visit www.ispe.org to read more.

February Gift for ISPE Members
ISPE has also included CareerQuest's January 2011 article, Keep Your Faith During Your Job Search, in their February Gift for ISPE Members. The article provides perspective and encouragement to those seeking work during these challenging times. If you are not a member of ISPE, you can still read this article in CareerQuest's Newsletter Archive on our website.

Articles on www.Biz4NJ.com
Several of our articles will continue to appear on www.Biz4NJ.com. The mission of this website is to "Help Garden State Business Grow."

Your feedback is always appreciated. Keep it coming!

Until we meet again through the magic of e-mail,

Peace! Love! Shalom!

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach
CareerQuest


 
  How to Work with Generation X (born between 1965 and 1980)  
  by Don Sutaria

At various seminars and symposiums I am frequently asked: "Do you see any differences between working with Generation X clients and working with Baby Boomers? If so, what are they and how do you deal with them?"

Yes, of course there are many differences working with Generation X (Baby Busters) clients versus Baby Boomers. I can say that from first-hand experience because I have raised two Gen-X sons, Norman (born in 1975), a journalist turned schoolteacher turned instructional technology specialist at a college, and Dale (born in 1979), a website designer turned e-commerce entrepreneur. I also do career counseling and career coaching with many young men and women in the 20 to 29 age group.

      
First, a little bit of analysis before I offer a few insights and strategies for managing Gen-X.

Generation X is the first in the past 80 years that has not inherited a lifestyle superior to that of their parents, and because of that they feel very resentful, although they may not say so. However, it is manifest in their attitude and behavior. In their eyes, the economy has been thrashed, leaving an enormous national debt that they will get a bill for. Until the recent advent of dot.com companies and the Internet, the Gen-X unemployment rate was near Depression-era levels. And not too long ago with the collapse of dot.com companies, hopes were shattered, sending many back to the starting point, like the game of "Chutes and Ladders." Some encouraging recovery has been witnessed since 2005.

My generation, the Baby Boomers, which started the sexual revolution in the 60's, may have started the ravages of AIDS. The Timothy Leary culture of "turn on, tune in, drop out" drug experimentation twisted into a spiraling cyclone of crack and violence. The "convenience and disposable fast-food nation" has bequeathed environmental chaos, a landscape of landfills, and toxic Superfund cleanups. Gen-X has been called the "Fix-it Generation" since there is a lot that is busted; there's a lot that needs fixing. The world went from sweet to sour as youth approached it.

While working with Generation X, keep the following in mind:
  1. They don't like labels. When we put a label on them, it gives rise to "us-versus-them" mentality.
  2. Their generation is the most racially diverse generation in U.S. history. Acknowledge that fact and do not over-generalize the solutions of the past generations.
  3. Growing up in weak family units has caused tremendous pain and possibly permanent emotional scarring. Many feel alone, abandoned and alienated.
  4. Many of them see the world through a cloud of cynicism and skepticism without a lot of faith in institutions: political, religious or financial. They may not be idealists, but they are pragmatists.
  5. They are America's first Computer Generation, and they can become catalysts for combining technology and human freedom in ways that promise to restore this country to economic leadership. They also bring an understanding of diversity and a global mindset. Let us respect and encourage that, harnessing their strengths.
  6. As Boomers work with Busters (Gen-X), they should try to remember that Busters never wanted to rule the world, but only their own destinies.
  7. Boomers ask the question, "How can I get ahead?" (Conquest). Busters ask the question, "How can we get along?" (Community and Friendships).
  8. Many Gen-X college graduates have heavy student loan obligations and cannot find jobs with decent salaries.
  9. Remember that the top attributes of Gen-X employees is that they are good at managing change, comfortable with technology, independent, financially savvy, not intimidated by authority, and creative.
  10. If you are managing Gen-X employees, try not to do the following:
    - Micromanage
    - Fail to give timely feedback
    - Ignore employee suggestions
    - Overlook unacceptable behavior
    - Give assignments without reasons
    - Allow a cluttered, dirty or disorganized workplace
    - Assign jobs without proper training
    - Give insincere thank yous
    - Give virtually meaningless raises
    - Expect overtime without compensation
  11. The best counsel I can give managers (usually Baby Boomers) who supervise Gen-X (Baby Busters) is that we need to "walk our talk" as best as we can. Of course, we will fail occasionally, because we are only human. We should practice what we preach on things like a positive mental attitude, empowerment, employee involvement and valuing our people. Hypocrisy destroys our relationships with Generation-X employees. Pretty basic stuff here, but very true.
  12. In summary, I would stress the following with Baby Boomers who supervise Baby Busters, in the hope that they would adjust to each other's expectations, for mutual benefit.

    Gen-X is turned on by job sharing, cross-training, flexible benefits, full status for part-time employees, spending time with managers, respect for their suggestions and ideas, potential for internal promotion based on good work, flextime, regular staff meetings, and a collegial and productive work atmosphere relatively free of dirty politics.


    Gen-X is turned off by hollow incentive programs, hype, pretentiousness, inadequate compensation, high-stress work situations, social irresponsibility and poor quality products.


  Food for the Soul: How To Have A Good Day  
  Adapted from the Sermons and Writings of Dr. Norman Vincent Peale

THINK a Good Day. Since we become what we think, it follows that events are governed by creative thought.

THANK a Good Day. Thanking God in advance is an affirmative way of thinking.

PLAN a Good Day. Plan your work and outline your procedures. Organize your time and effort.

MAKE a Good Day. Make it your business to put good thoughts and good attitudes into the day.

PRAY a Good Day. Start and finish every day with God. Pray that we may make it good with everybody we contact, even in a small way.

GET GOING...the good old American principle. It's no good sitting around very long just talking (or even just thinking positively!). You've got to get going—so get going!

You Will Have A Good Day!
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
- John 14:27
If we have peace, no matter what else we may lack, life is worth living. Without peace, though we may possess all things else, it is not enough.
- Rabbi Joshua Loth Liebman, from the book Peace of Mind
I feel it is time that I also pay tribute to my four writers, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
- Bishop Fulton J. Sheen



Don Sutaria, also known as "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).


 
 
Don Sutaria, M.S., I.E. (Prof.)   
don@careerquestcentral.com     www.careerquestcentral.com     http://careerquestcentral.blogspot.com   
Phone: (908) 686-8400     Fax: (908) 686-8400 (on request)     Cell: (908) 377-9015   
CareerQuest     2165 Morris Avenue; Suite 15     Union, NJ 07083     Satellite Office in New York, NY