Membership

Lunchtime Links: In Defense of Generation X

By / Jan 6, 2014 (Design Pics/Thinkstock)

The unsung generation X definitely deserves some of your attention. Also: Become a well-oiled machine for learning in 2014.

Generation Xers haven’t had it easy over the years, being unfairly saddled with the “slacker” tag and treated as a footnote by much of the media compared to baby boomers and millennials.

It’s time to reassess their spot in the food chain. They may represent your association’s biggest audience these days.

One full-throated defense in today’s Lunchtime Links:

Sticking up for Generation X: Like Rodney Dangerfield, generation X gets no respect. Despite the fact that its members make up a big portion of the workforce, they’re overshadowed by the boomers and not nearly as flashy as the millennials. In his latest post, the provocatively titled “The Boomers Don’t Dominate the Workforce,” Jamie Notter tries to set the narrative straight (or at least straighter), explaining that Generation Xers have represented a larger percentage of the workforce than boomers for more than a decade. “Now, during this time,” he concedes, “the boomers have no doubt been the ones in the positions of power. Xers had the numbers edge as the boomers grew older, but the boomers were still the ones doing the supervising. So in that sense, they HAVE dominated the workforce.” But his ultimate point is that the pure numbers don’t back up the narrative that baby boomers or millennials are currently dominating the workforce. Agree? Disagree?

Work on your “you” strategy: With 2014 in its opening days, now’s a pretty good time to think about how to improve the way you function so that you’re working at peak performance. Author and development professional Jeff Cobb of the blog Mission to Learn has plenty of strategies to help you sharpen your mind. In his latest post, he offers tips emphasizing five different aspects—the body, the mind’s focus, social interaction, self-esteem, and that ever-limited resource we call time—to help you become a better learner. “To be clear, these are indirect strategies—they don’t have to do with the content of your learning or with activities specific to learning (like for example, effective note taking or testing yourself),” he explains. “Rather, these are more about establishing and maintaining a solid foundation and receptivity toward learning.” Read on for more of Cobb’s ideas on life and learning.

Leading those who don’t follow: The startup world can be a great hiring pool if your association is trying to increase innovation, but there are some caveats. The kind of people who work at startups aren’t necessarily the kind of people who like to be told what to do. Inc.com contributor Mike Figliuolo says that they can be team players—and making that happen goes beyond simply looking at your organization’s hierarchy. If you’re trying to sell a team member on getting past the whole independent self-starter thing, he offers this advice: “Instead of explaining the org chart (trust me, everyone already knows it), help them understand the power of directing every team member’s creativity, hard work, and determination toward a few key goals.” The role that you play as leader is to set resources, and your job is to make sure goals are hit. By working on focusing their energy, you could be able to get better results from them.

What’s on your reading list today? Tell us all about it in the comments.

Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is the social media journalist for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. More »

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