Gen X Offers an Overdue Apology to Baby Boomers Everywhere

It’s safe to say that there is a communication gap between the generations.  When it comes to careers, for example, Boomers want to build a solid but fantastic one, whereas Gen X wants to ensure security through portability–a major divide in perspective.  Or, take training, as another situation where the two differ greatly.  Gen X wants, needs, must have training–good training–in their job or they’re gone.  Baby Boomers, who were never given much training other than the basic skills needed to perform their required duties, don’t see training as that big of a deal. 

generational divide

At, there is an excellent article by Heather Havrilesky that indicates that maybe the generational divide has shrunk some recently.  In An open apology to boomers everywhere, Havrilesky apologizes on behalf of her generation, Gen X, for being so impatient with Baby Boomers, their idealism, their tales of peace rallies, and their unending devotion to a “cause.”  The article’s cultural references put the story into focus as she partially excuses the conduct of Gen X.  After all, her generation had to deal with the influences of a motley crew including “Mister Rogers, Son of Sam, the Iran hostage crisis, Catholic school, the Hite Report, “The Day After,” Edwin Meese, rampant divorce, “Fantasy Island,” “Endless Love,” Jeffrey Dahmer, the Happy Meal, the Lockerbie air disaster, Toyotathons, John Updike, and ‘Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire?'”

The piece is really a political one, likening the connection between Gen X and the president-elect to that of Baby Boomers and JFK.  Having come of their political age, Gen X is only now able to understand their parents’ “idealism” and “notions about community.”

The article poignantly recognizes some of the real-life experiences that make the two generations so different.  And, it concludes, as Generation X continues its own journey into maturity, it has come to understand some of those differences with modern-day replays of the experiences of their parents. 

[H/T to Lisa’s Generation Relations Blog]

For more on the Generational Divide, see:

Succession Planning and the Particular Needs of Gen Y Employees
HR Glossary: Generations at Work
Why Recruiters Need to Understand the Helicopter Parent
How to Use Reverse Mentoring as a Retention Tool for Gen Y Employees
Gen Y Demands Employers Open the Checkbook for Technology Requests
The Connection Between Training and Employee Retention, According to Gen Y
What Makes a Good Leader? If You Lead Gen Y’s, You’d Better Find Out.

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