A Millennial’s Guide to Working for a Gen-X Boss
Generations in the workplace is a fascinating subject. With Baby Boomers hanging on for a later retirement and Millennials continuing to rise in numbers, the next generation is also coming of age in 2017. But there is still one other generation in the middle of the modern employment ecosystem: Generation X. And, in many cases, the 20-30-something millennials are struggling to learn how to work who bosses who were once considered part of the slacker generation. This stereotype couldn’t be further from the truth, so learning how to work with Gen-X is an important skill for younger employees to have. Here is a quick essential guide to working for your Gen-X boss.
- Gen-Xers are hands off. Helicopter parents weren’t a thing when Gen-X was growing up. In fact, many were “Latchkey” kids who stayed home alone between school and the time their parents got home from work. This means that they aren’t likely to hover or be micromanagers, but they will expect that work is accomplished according to the standards and expectations they’ve set.
- Gen-Xers like to work alone. While millennials are known for their collaborative nature, Gen-X has more of an entrepreneurial spirit. They want to be left alone to figure things out on their own, which means they will likely treat their employees the same way. Don’t be offended if you ask for collaborative help with your project and don’t get it. Instead, appeal to their independent nature when approaching them for assistance.
- Gen-Xers are skeptical. Generation X is also skeptical in nature. They aren’t likely to accept things at face value and they like to know how things work. Gen-X likes to figure things out for themselves rather than being told how something works. This means they might butt heads with younger employees who are more used to technology simply working at the touch of a button.
- Gen-Xers aren’t used to praise. Another stereotype of the millennial generation is the overabundance of praise, even when it isn’t earned. People often refer to the participation trophies for everyone as an example, even if a performance wasn’t outstanding. Gen-X grew up in exactly the opposite environment. They were rarely praised, which means they rarely praise others. When they do, know that it’s earned and exceptional.