Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gen X and Motivation

Here is a humorous look at Generation X's view of motivation at work:

Some Gen X Humor

Video: How Gen X Thinks About Work:

You Might Be A Gen X-er If...

I received an e-mail the other day with a great list for Gen X’ers. There was not an author listed, so I do not know who to give credit to for the list. But whoever it was, CUDOS! The list is awesome!

The list is a take off of the old “You Might Be a Redneck If…” tag line, but the “You Might Be a Redneck” has been replaced with “You Might Be a Generation X-er If…” tag line. I personally found the list to be extremely funny and it definitely brought back some wonderful childhood memories.

So take a look at the list below and let me know your thoughts. Also, if anyone has anything to add to the list, leave it as a comment so we can continue to build on the preexisting list.


  • You remember when Jordache jeans were cool.

  • In your fifth grade class picture, you’re wearing an Izod shirt with the collar up.

  • You’ve ever conversationally used the phrase “Jane, you ignorant slut.”

  • You know by heart, the words to any Weird Al Yankovic song.

  • You ever rang someone’s doorbell and said “Land shark.”

  • The words: “Atari,” “IntelliVision,” and “Coleco,” all sound familiar.

  • You remember the days when “safe sex” meant your parents are gone for the weekend.

  • You remember “Friday Night Videos” before the days of MTV.

  • You remember when MTV was really a music television station.

  • A predominant color in your childhood photos is “plaid.”

  • While in high school, you and all of your friends discussed elaborate plans to get together again at the end of the century and play “1999” by Prince over and over again.

  • On family trips, before the invention of the minivan, you rode in the back of the station wagon and you faced the cars behind you.

  • You watched HR Puffenstuff as a child, but now that you’re older, you really understand that it would have been much better had you known about drugs at the time.

  • Schoolhouse Rock played a HUGE part in how you actually learned the English language.

  • You ever dressed and/or had a hairstyle to emulate a person you saw in a Duran Duran, Madonna, or Cyndi Lauper video.

  • You remember when Hooters was a rock band, not a restaurant.

  • The first time you ever kissed someone at a dance came during “Crazy for You” by Madonna.

  • You remember the paid the sad day when the Green Machine hit the streets and instantly made your Big Wheel obsolete.

  • Honestly remember when film critics raved that no movie could ever possibly get better special effects than those in the movie TRON.

  • (For Girls) You thought Shaun Cassidy was “dreamy” and you lusted after “Gopher, your ship’s purser” on the Love Boat.

  • You freaked out when you found that you now fall into the “26 – 50” age category on most surveys and questionnaires.

  • Your hair, at some point in time during the 80’s, became something that can only be described by the phrase “I was experimenting.”

  • When Star Wars opens, you were still in single digit ages, and you thought the creatures in the movie were way cool.

  • When The Empire Strikes Back opened, you were now in early double digit ages, and you were convinced that the special effects in the movie were much better than Star Wars, that the characters were cool, and you wanted one of every collectible out there.

  • When Return of the Jedi hits the theaters… you were a teenager, and you could not get our eyes off of Princess Leia’s breasts or Han Solo’s butt.

  • You’re doing absolutely nothing pertaining to your major in college.

  • U2 is too “popular” and “mainstream” for you now.

  • You spent endless nights growing up dreaming about being the Bionic Woman or Wonder Woman or the Six Million Dollar Man.

  • You know entire introduction to the A-Team by heart.

  • You had ringside seats for Luke and Laura’s wedding on General Hospital.

  • You remember “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”

  • You know who shot J.R.

  • You ever wanted to learn to play “Stairway to Heaven” on the guitar.

  • You were unsure is Diet Coke would ever catch on because of TAB.

  • You know all the words to the double album set of Grease.

  • You ever had a Dorothy Hammill haircut.

  • You sat with your friends on a Friday night and dialed “8-6-7-5-3-0-9” to see if Jenny would answer.

  • “All-skate, change directions” means something to you.

  • You ever owned a pair of Rainbow suspenders just like Mork used to wear.

  • You bought a pair of Vanns and wanted to order pizza in history class so you could be just like Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

  • You were too young to see the Blue Lagoon, so you had to settle for second hand reports.

  • You remember when there was only “G, PG and R” rated movies in the mainstream movie theaters.

  • You learned to swim about the same time Jaws came out and still carry emotional scars to this day.

  • Your jaw would ache by the time you finished those brick-sized packages of Bazooka gum.

  • You remember Bo, Luke, Daisy and Uncle Jesse.

  • You remember when VCR’s cost $1,000 and were Betamax.

  • No one questioned why Burt and Ernie were living together.

  • You remember rotary dial telephones.

  • You anxiously awaited “That’s Incredible” with Fran Tarkenton and John Davidson on Wednesday nights.

  • You actually believed that Mikey (famed for his “life” cereal commercials) died after eating a packet of pop rocks and drinking a Coke.

  • The theme song to “Greatest American Hero” still comes back to you on occasion.

Is Homeownership Becoming Out of Reach for Young American Workers?

America is in the middle of an affordable housing crisis, with only people in the highest income brackets now easily able to afford home ownership. For middle class America, especially those earning mid-level incomes, home ownership is simply out of reach. Working men and woman who are the back bone of our economy are being squeezed by the housing-income imbalance that currently permeates in America.

For a local example, according to the Center for Housing Policy, most working people earning between $20,000 and $50,000 a year in metropolitan Philadelphia can’t afford to buy a median-priced house (currently a median-priced house in metropolitan Philadelphia is $294,000). The study goes on to state that in order to be in a position to afford a median-priced home in the metropolitan Philadelphia market, you need to earn an annual median income of $100,715.

Keep in mind, this annual median income level is just to be able to afford a median-price house. This issue is even more extreme if you have other debts and obligations to fulfill. For example, most young college educated Americans now enter the work force with a significant amount of student loan and credit card debt. On average, a recent college graduate entering the work force will have between $10,000 and $20,000 of student loan debt alone. Additionally, incomes in corporate America are shrinking and barely keeping up with inflation (even for the star performers in most organizations).

So how are young American workers “buying” their piece of the American dream today? If they can at all, most are being forced to purchase homes far from the places they work. For example, according to Bob Hay, a real estate broker in the Pocono region of Pennsylvania, there has been a huge influx of people from northern New Jersey and New York City buying homes in the Pocono Mountains because of significantly lower housing prices.

The problems associated with living so far away from your place of employment are significant. There are now people who live so far away from where they work that they must leave their homes at 4:30 a.m. and usually do not get home until 9 or 10 p.m. at night. This type of work schedule is hard on both the employee and his or her family. Eventually, something will have to give. Such a demanding schedule cannot be continued indefinitely. Usually, that something is a divorce or an employee so disengaged with his job that they end up leaving the work force.

From a personal standpoint, I have been affected by the housing affordability crisis as well. I am highly educated, having completed both an undergraduate degree in Accounting at Temple University and my MBA at Penn State University. Additionally, I am employed as a professional in the financial services industry, now having over 10 years experience. However, due to the housing affordability crisis, I have a commute to work that is over 1 hour long. On top of this, the home that my family and I own is only a townhouse unit, not even a single family house. Don’t get me wrong, I love my current home and the area that my family and I currently reside. But I do truly despise my daily commute to and from my office.

So what can be done to provide affordable housing located close to the major areas of commerce? Although there are not any easy answers to this question, I do believe there are things that can be done to ratify this problem. First, local communities need to become aware of the housing affordability crisis that is currently griping working class America. They need to become educated about the issues associated with the crisis, through which there can be an open dialogue for finding real solutions to the problem. Second, State and Local Housing Agency’s need to begin to explore programs that provide housing assistance to the middle-class working American as well. This can be done through requiring affordable housing for all classes of American’s become a mandatory part of any planning and development ordinances in the future.

Affordable housing, especially close to the major areas of commerce, should be an important aspect of every community in America. Providing housing options for all members of the community, regardless of income, should provide for a highly diverse and truly sustainable community. And it sure would be great to not have a 1 hour commute to and from work every day.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Can You Be Part of A Generation You Wern't Born Into?

Do you ever feel like you don't fit into or identify with the generation you were born into? Or do you ever feel like you have characteristics of more than one generation? I personally often feel like I should be considered a member of both Gen X and Gen Y. Born in 1972, I am a late Generation X member, with Generation X consisting of those born between the years 1965-1976. This might explain my feelings about being part of both generations.

This issue continued to bug me until the other day, when I had the opportunity to read Penelope Trunk's Brazen Careerist blog entry
What Generation Are You Part Of Really? Penelope presents a great test to determine what generation you really belong to, based upon your use of media, rather than your age. I recommend you take the test to see what generation your score places you in. In the end, I scored a 12, placing me at the high end of Generation X.

I love being a part of Generation X. But it is nice to see that I can still connect with the younger generation as well (at least through my use of technology and media outlets).

Generation X -- What is next? How About The Gray Ceiling?

It is true that every generation in America has come of age at distinct moments in our country's history. Generations X (those born between the years 1965-1976) were the first technology driven generation in America. We experienced Pac-Man and Frogger as hit games at the arcade. We grew up watching MTV, when it actually played music videos. TV shows like The Cosby Show, Seinfeld and Friends helped define our generational values.

But as we now come of age and dare I say become adults, what is next for our Generation? Most of my fellow Gen X colleagues answer this question with a shoulder shrug and a quick "I don't know!" It seems that once again, Generation X is stuck. We graduated college when the economy was poor, taking our expensive, heavily debt financed degrees to work at places like Starbucks serving coffee for minimum wage (by the way, nothing against Starbucks... I love their Lattes). Now, after working hard to advance in our careers, with the promise of better things to come, we are once again stuck in the middle.

After working hard to become the most productive generation the American workforce has ever seen, Generation X is ready to move up to the next level of organizational challenge. The problem is, we have no where to go. As was highlighted in the Fortune article titled "Are You Stuck in Middle Management Hell," by Anne Fisher, it now appears that a whole generation of workers now cannot get ahead, because the aging Baby Boomers above them won't budge. In essence, they have created what is now known as "The Gray Ceiling."

No matter how manner hours we work or weekends we give up to create value for our organizations, advancement is still almost non-existent. We are stuck. In addition to being stuck behind the Baby Boomers who won't let go and move on in their careers, we now have the next great generation, Generation Y, moving into the work force. This generation is just as technology driven as Gen X, but not as interested in corporate politics and games. Gen Y is willing to come into an organization and work hard to complete a specific task or job. Once the task at hand has been resolved, this Generation will most likely look to move on to a new challenge or experience. The problem for Generation X is that organizations know that they can get the same technologically savvy employee in a Gen Y'er that they could get with a Gen X'er, but for significantly less cost. After all, experience and knowledge costs more in the workplace.

So what can Generation X do the break through this "Gray Ceiling?" For many, the answer is to start their own business. Generation X is known as the most entrepreneurial generation in the history of America (remember the internet boom of the late 1990's). As large, well established organizations continue to inadvertently advertise that younger workers will never get promoted if they come to work under their Baby Boomer managers, the "latch-key" generation will continue to evolve and move forward in its own special way. Whether it is starting a new business, making a lateral move internally, or jumping to a new industry all together, the "slacker" generation will find a way to break through the "Gray Ceiling."