Feb 022012

business coaching, service coach, managing cash flow, seasonal businesses

Sure, as business coach, business leader, and trusted advisor I am supposed to remain positive. I am supposed to look at the glass as though it is half full.  Do you believe that the economy is the reason that your business is struggling? If you would have told me that a few years ago I would have said  the poor economy was just an excuse. I would have said if you “believe” something to be true than how could the outcome be any different?

We’ll the time has come(2010). I do believe that there is something going on with the economy that is affecting our businesses. And I believe that it isn’t going to get better anytime soon. We are currently in what is known as a Generational Depression. The simple fact that the current X generation(born between 1965 & 1981)  is smaller than the boomer generation(born between 1946 &1964), leaving a void in the sheer volume of spending that our economy is used to. The boomers are retiring, they are slowing their spending and the majority are focused on saving. The Y generation(born between 1982 & 2000) and the generations behind the Xer’s are still to young to fill the void. Our current economic condition will not get better until the Y generation & earlier generations graduate college, get jobs, get married, buy their first house, and start contributing to the economy.

So Coach Jason, what’s with all this doom and gloom? If the economy is not going to get better anytime soon what are we to do? Keep an eye out for my next post, “3 ways Gen Xer’s are getting rich”. In the mean time do some research. Take some time to understand our current economic condition. Below you will find some articles that I found to be interesting and relevant to this topic. Also, feel free to comment below with your thoughts on this topic. I would love to hear them.



 February 2, 2012  Posted by at 6:00 AM Growth Tagged with: , ,  Add comments

  5 Responses to “Why generation Xer’s are getting the shaft in today’s Business Climate”

  1. Ed Selkow • Here’s my guess but it’s only a few big ones I see:

    1. They have an over inflated sense of their own self importance (they actually think they can “save” our 5 billion year old planet, they are making some “contribution” by having earbuds Super-Glued to their ears and listening to the ageless wisdom of Lady GaGa, etc.)

    2. They are “owed” success and comfort (watching MTV’s Rock the Vote and putting Obama in the White House who was just going to magically give it to them).

    3. They think that their college years actually had anything to do with education, it did not. It only gave them a piece of paper and a head full of theories from the very last people on the planet they should ever believe, namely college professors. (The very worst nonsense you will EVER hear will come from the mouth of a college professor).

    4. They have not progressed beyond Walt Disney’s cartoon theory of reality, that wishing and believing cause events to materialize in the physical world, they do not. That is called magic.

    5., 6., 7. They are not doing the work of educating themselves beyond 30 second reads on the internet, they need to pull their pants up, turn the baseball cap around, discover that tattoos and facial piercings are only cool if they plan on a career in the circus, they need to figure out that politicians and the government are the number one enemies of their businesses, that TV rots your brain, that Woodstock killed rock and roll for good, that business IS risk and only with brains, blood and sweat are companies built and that failing is the very best teacher.

    Gen Xers are not getting the shaft, they are just getting their own turn to create something that takes decades to do. It’s not the shaft, it’s the way things have always worked. They need to stop whining, stop believing in magic and easy answers and go to work just like every generation before them.

  2. Ken Walker • Demographics aren’t the be-all and end-all but they are factual and that is why the industries that trade in demographics like Insurance, Consumer products, Finance, social media, and all the industries that support them (i.e. our WHOLE economy!) pay attention.

    The economy largely pays attention to the Boomers and the GenYers who are emerging as the leaders of the new economy. I was at a convention of the cleaning industry a couple of years ago and a plenary session was on demographics. When the survey was done of who were Boomers in the room of Cleaning business owners literally 96 of the 105 hands went up.

    In spite of their appearance and the jaded behavior the Gen Yers know that their parents (young gen Xers) were screwed and that they, the Gen Yers, neither need to nor want to conform to the Boomer-led culture (same attitude as the Boomer ’60″s lifestyle actually!).

    Gen Xers aren’t the ones with the piercings, tattoos and homeboy fashion and the sense of entitlement as they enter the workforce (that is the Gen Yers) because they have been out of school now for nearing two decades. The closest any demographic group has been to the Gen Xers in the last 200 years is the Depression generation, actually.

    The Gen X demographic have followed the largest consumer group in human history through the greatest expansion of economy in human history and they–the baby boomers–continue to look to cash in and have a comfortable retirement. I am on the trailing edge of Boomers and can see that careers are stalled for Gen Xers who have to fight against the historically run up economics costs by the consumption patterns of the Boomers and lose out to emerging leaders from the Gen Yers who “get” the new economy.

    In 1972 the cost of a house was an average of 3x earnings when the Boomers were starting to control the housing market. The average cost of housing in 1992 when the Gen Xers started to control the housing market was 5x annual earnings and climbing 10% a year and at near record interest rates. Once they were nearing the halfway point of ownership and had paid the majority of those interest charges on their house the bubble burst on house values and they lost a lot of equity. Again, the majority of Boomers either owned their houses outright or were now making mostly principle payments on their mortgages.

    And Gen Xers will be starting to “Pay” for the higher costs of a human service economy as the Boomers age. The Gen Yers will be paying the bills and doing so without the government nets that the Boomers had. The government is now hobbled with the highest level of debt with the lowest GDP-to-tax levels in 4 generations–going back to the Depression generation. And like the Depression generation the Gen Xers will just hold on and survive in their reality because it is what it is.

    The Gen Yers are the digital generation and while they seem fashion challenged to some they are leading new business creation and having a greater, faster impact on the economy at a younger age than at any time in human history. Even the ones that aren’t in business KNOW that their generation is shaping the new world. They know their power is real because when they protest they do it digitally and virally and see that the political and business powers cave in to them within days instead of years as was the case of protest in the 1960’s.

    Gen Yers have a pretty good sense of independence and mistrust for authority because they watched their parents lose their jobs, their houses and face record levels of healthcare-caused personal bankruptcy while watching the government reduce taxes for the companies that were laying off their parents and under-funding their education system. They do believe that they can “save” the world because they are the generation that will save what is created in the next 50 years. And they will have to live with what they save and they are OK with that.

  3. Ed Selkow • Jason,
    I am a guy that has grown older but refuses to BE old. I have seen the next generation and am enthused about what and who I have seen. The future will be just fine, the young people who give me confidence are busily working their butts off and don’t have time to make noise and don’t complain.

    My daughter dated a US Marine and I got to meet a bunch of his friends. They were all freshmen in high school and watched 911 on TV. They graduated high school and instead of the numerous scholarships these best and brightest had access to, they went off to Parris Island. They were scared but convinced they were going to do the right thing. They came back from battle (but not all them and we cried for those who did not return) and they are at work now.

    Your generation is producing no fewer heros than any other, they are just busy making things happen.

    I have NO fear of the future, not even one little bit because of the men and women I have met who do the right thing no matter how popular it may be.

  4. The Fourth Turning by Strauss and Howe (http://www.fourthturning.com/) discussed much of the generational transition going on today and is a good read.

    My short take: The X Generation is not being screwed, but rather, has lived in the shadow of two generations and that has stunted many of their growth. Their grandparents as members of the “Greatest” generation cast a long authoritative shadow and the “Boomers” dominated the economy. Gen X is finally getting their opportunity now, out of the ashes of the “Greatest” bust in 80 years, in which to build their own dreams finally.

    Some Generation Xers will step up the next decade and assume leadership roles and/or get wealthy. Others will not. In fact, most will not. That’s a shame, but not to be unexpected. As a group, the Xers have drifted along for a long time and it is tough to take the steering wheel after being in the back seat for so long.

    There is a sub-segment of people, the younger Xers and older Yers, who have some sort of issue I am not entirely sure how to quantify. They are the ones I worry about. They have very little drive that I can see and a very “who cares” attitude. It might have something to do with the combination of 9-11 and not being able to find work for the better part of a decade after growing up pretty spoiled, at least that’s my amateur psychoanalysis.

    Then again, maybe I’m wrong and just getting cranky about that particular group, but I don’t think so. I am generally impressed with the college and high school age kids. I think they will do well if the country doesn’t go back to the sorts of policies we had from 2001-08 that shocked the system into near complete failure.

    Demographically, the United States has the challenge of paying for a very long baby boomer retirement. However, as I have written about on Market Watch (Wall Street Journal network), the new natural resources export economy should pay for the boomer retirement and provide a lot of jobs to those who are younger for the next several decades. So long as we don’t allow greed to lead to hoarding and a ruined environment, the United States is more likely on its way to a new boom era versus a prolonged decline.

  5. All good stuff. Thanks everyone for commenting on this hot topic.

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