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Introducing Generation X

With all the talk about Millennials and Baby Boomers and how to live in harmony in the workplace, I get very confused. Why? Well because I’m neither.

As we tidily put people in buckets based on the year they were born, let’s take a moment to reflect on a small generation that belongs to neither and is quite different than both. May I introduce you to the middle child Generation X.

Kennedy was already shot. The destruction of the Vietnam War was being televised on our little black and white TV sets while we ate our morning cereal. A president resigned for reasons we didn’t fully understand but knew that he lied and that was bad. For 1 year, 2 months, 2 weeks, and 2 days, we were reminded of hostages being held in Iran. There were gas shortages and an energy crisis. We had a movie star elected as the president in a near landslide victory. We watched the Berlin Wall come down and began to think that communism was not as much of a threat as once thought, but we did see other threats to humanity.

We had parents that both worked and we were likely left to fend for ourselves as we went through life. We were dubbed the latchkey kids.

We had parents that both worked and we were likely left to fend for ourselves as we went through life. We were dubbed the latchkey kids. We didn’t get the fun of the hippy era of sex, drugs and rock and roll. We did get the sexually transmitted diseases, crime and addiction that came with it.

Trust me when I say we are not Baby Boomers. When we had children, both parents were expected to work to make ends meet. We decided that being latchkey kids wasn’t so great so we opted to have our children in daycares. As women, we struggled with when to get married, when to start our families, and how we would fit it all in to coincide with our career goals.

We laughed when we were told computers would be in every house. For what reason we had no idea. We didn’t have cell phones. We took pictures with cameras that required film. The pictures we took were of others and of the places we visited. Our music evolved from being stored on vinyl records, 8 tracks, cassettes, and CDs. We have watched technology evolve and reshape how we communicate with our fellow humans.

Our lives have been nothing but change, nothing but adversity, nothing but compromises for the greater good. Much like how we are between the Baby Boomer and Millennials, we are the ones that fill in the gaps in the workplace. We are self-taught, fiercely independent, and are not afraid of being left alone. In fact, we prefer to be left alone, after all, that has been our entire life.

We are observers. We see history repeating itself. The generation before the Baby Boomers was as concerned about leaving our country with the drug smoking, rock and roll loving hippies as they are now concerned about the leaving it to the Millennials and their quest for happiness, approval, and balance.

Perhaps that is where Generation X is really unique. We were unnoticed. We supported the Baby Boomers rise through the ranks and we are supporting the Millennials as they start to find their way. We recognize that the Millennials have the floor. We have an obligation to nourish their development into the leaders of tomorrow.

So, as we are classifying people into categories based on their year of birth, know we are out there, we are silent, we are watching and we can still make a difference.

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Raissa Urdiales
Raissa Urdiales
Raissa lived most of her life along the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. She currently lives in the quiet city of Tega Cay, South Carolina, just across the border from the very active art community of Charlotte, North Carolina. Raissa has not always considered herself as an artist. She spent a great portion of her adult life staring into computer screens and managing computer system implementations and upgrades in the traditional corporate setting. It was through a chance paint night that she discovered her passion for painting. On her 51st birthday, she treated herself to some acrylic paints and brushes and has not stopped painting since. She balances her passion for creating with her day job as a systems analyst. In the wee hours of the morning, you will find her painting before she immerses herself in the technology that is consuming the world today. Although Raissa does not have formal training in the arts she is very conscious of the benefits it has on the human psyche. She holds a Bachelor's of Science majoring in Psychology where she focused her studies on Organizational Psychology. Through her corporate career, she has learned how to strike a balance between that which provides monetary reward and that which fulfills us as humans. For her, this balance is obtained through painting, writing, and exercise. She is currently a member of the Guild of Charlotte Artists where she exhibits select pieces during the quarterly art shows in and around the Charlotte Metropolitan Area. She has also submitted and is featured regularly in the Light Space & Time online gallery. When she is not painting or working with computer systems, she is writing. She currently has a column with BIZCATALYST 360° named “Artful Being” where she writes on topics both in and out of her corporate life to help others gain balance on what it is to be human.

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4 CONVERSATIONS

  1. RAISSA what a great article! And the way you described the Gen-X as the middle child of the generations before and after it is brilliant. Your Generation laid the political, intellectual, social, creative and personal groundwork upon which the Millennials walk, talk… and text, today. You described the Gen-X as the Latch-key Silent Generation who Watches and became comfortable, even happy with being alone. Millennials are very happy being alone, too. Do you think they somehow got that from your generation? LOL? I’m glad someone has stepped forward and opened a dialogue with the world concerning the Silence Generation because the Gen-X Silence is Golden. I love your article and am sharing it on all my social media pages.

    • Thank you for your comments and for sharing! We are a very quiet group but it isn’t from a lack of things to say, it’s more from a lack of being listened to. I greatly appreciate your willingness to share the message of many that are silent.

    • Raissa Urdiales I hope you will stand up and speak up more. You have so much to say that the world needs to hear. As a Boomer we Boom our feelings and ideas. We do stand in our power and speak our mind. Perhaps we could learn to be a bit more quiet about it like you and you could dare to be a bit louder like us we could find wonderful common ground.

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