Generation X workers are viewed as `lost in the shuffle'

ON THE JOB

November 28, 2007|By HANAH CHO

If you're a baby boomer, employers are worried about filling gaps left by your generation's flood of pending retirements. If you're a 20-something worker, employers are trying to figure out how to attract and keep you.

And if you're a Generation X worker, employers are -- well, let me think about this one.

A recent conversation with a colleague got me thinking about Generation X getting overlooked when it comes to work force issues. Generation X is broadly defined as those born between 1965 and 1977.

Bruce Tulgan, author of Managing Generation X and founder of RainmakerThinking, a management consulting firm, says Generation X employees are often ignored because they are at the center of "an age bubble on one end and youth on the other spectrum."

Bill Pisano, 37, director of branch operations at the Timonium office of Stephen James Associates, an executive recruiting firm, says it is frustrating.

"Everything I see is about retirement and anything else I look at is `how you get your career started,'" he says. "What about the people who've been in their careers for a few years? We're such a small group compared with the two groups that we're forgotten about. We seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle."

Pisano is particularly concerned that his generation is not getting leadership training. And Tulgan says companies not paying attention to this generation can lose out.

"You have to worry about this population. These are your midlevel managers. If they're not feeling part of the core group, part of the future of the business ... you may lose your midlevel leaders or have midlevel leaders who don't care about leading," he says.

Pisano says his fellow 30- and 40-something workers can be proactive and lead changes in their workplaces. Plus, Generation X could play a unifying role in the workplace now occupied by up to four generations, he says.

"They need to demand the training, the mentorship and figure out how to learn from other generations," he says. "Our generation is the bridging generation, the one that fills in the gap between the old and the new guard."

Speak up, Generation X workers. Are your needs lost in the workplace? Tell me what you think.

Send your stories, tips and questions to working@balt sun.com. Please include your first name and your city. On the Job is published Monday at www.baltimoresun.com.

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