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What's Next, Gen X?Stuck behind a large generation of Boomer leaders, challenged by an eager generation of Millennial whiz kids, and facing the tough mid-career years, Generation X faces a multitude of challenges in the workplace. In What’s Next, Gen X?, award-winning author and organizational demographics expert Tamara Erickson explains what has shaped the members of Generation X and how they can successfully apply their unique traits to get what they want in the next phases of their personal and professional lives. The book takes an in-depth look at the past events that have influenced Generation X, examines today’s evolving workplace, and offers insight into future leadership possibilities.

As Generation X employees work hard to keep up with other generations and move ahead into more fulfilling careers, they must:

  • Understand what shaped Generation X. Born between 1965 and 1979, members of Generation X experienced social change and uncertainty in their formative teen years. From a stagnant economy to technological innovation and the rise of alternative rock, Generation X teenagers learned to distrust corporate life, value their friends over their families, and develop global empathy.
  • Figure out where Generation X stands today. Members of Generation X face risky financial positions as they continue to raise small children, care for aging parents, and pay off college debts and home mortgages.
  • Know what the other four generations are thinking. Generation X shares the workplace with four other generations: Traditionalists, Boomers, Millennials, and the Re-Generation. Each group thinks and behaves differently, and to be successful, Generation X employees must know how to interact with colleagues from every cohort.
  • Reset life and work priorities. Members of Generation X have many shared desires, including control, affluence, balance, and to be good parents.
  • Look at the changing workplace. The nature and availability of work is changing for Generation X. With the advancement of technology, Generation X can work from anywhere and at any time. As Generation X expects more flexibility in work arrangements, the employee-employer power balance will be forced to shift.
  • Make organizations work for them. Most Generation X employees work within organizations. To be successful at work, they must maximize their effectiveness, leverage what they do, expand their options for greater long-term career sustainability, and balance the demands of their organizations with the other priorities in their lives.
  • Find alternative workplaces. Generation X employees are more likely to work independently, establish entrepreneurial ventures, join small firms, and juggle multiple jobs than employees of other generations.
  • Become next generation leaders. Generation X will need to create work environments that support innovation. To do this, leaders will need to increase collaborative capacity, ask compelling questions, embrace complexity, shape organizational identity, and appreciate diversity.

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For the first time in history, corporate managers face the challenge of managing four generations at once: the Matures, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y (the Millennials). As Boomers get ready to retire en masse, their children offer a unique challenge to corporations, which need to change their workplace cultures, recruiting methods, and retention strategies or face a loss of billions in turnover. Managers need to help their organizations and employees adapt to the highly educated, technologically savvy, confident, and demanding Millennials. The Millennials, born between 1980 and 1999, do things differently than their Boomer parents and bring a fresh new perspective to the workplace. If corporations make the changes necessary to keep their Millennial hires, all generations will ultimately benefit. In Keeping the Millennials by Dr. Joanne G. Sujansky and Dr. Jan Ferri-Reed, corporate managers learn strategies to create a multi-generational workplace.

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