Baby Boomers are Jealous
Generation X’ers have been described as “fanatically independent
individuals pathologically ambivalent about the future, and brimming with
unsatisfied longings for permanence, for love, and for material possessions.”
(Lauren, p.64) This less-than-flattering description of our generation has
since been expanded by the media to the point that myself and my peers are
described as a bunch of apathetic slackers unconcerned with family values,
godless cynics resentful of the preceding generations.
Since Douglas Coupland’s Book Generation X came out in 1991, many things
have been said about the twentysomethings. Labeled by Coupland and the media
as Generation X. Although the name has stuck, Coupland’s book is virtually
impossible to find. Why is that? Could it be because Generation X describes us,
me, everyone who was born between the years of 1963-1983 as “white and
privileged and living in a suburb near you” (Giles, p4). In addition,
Advertising Age referred to Generation X’ers as “That cynical, purple-haired
blob watching TV.” (Giles, p2)
What makes our generation so special, is that we have proven them all
wrong. Generation X consists of those between the ages 13 and 33 years of age.
We as a group have become the productive, interested, and hardworking
individuals that we are today. We have grown to realize that the future’s
undiscovered country is awaiting our arrival, and is there for the taking.
It isn’t at all ironic that during our short lives the world has seen so
many changes. Through the work of our generation and the reactions of the Baby
Boomers generation, we have helped turn this world into a new age of wisdom; a
cut-the-crap, truth seeking generation, both richer and poorer because of it.
Do not feel threatened, however, our future, our generations future, and the
future of the human race, is in the hands of the most informed generation to
date. Growing up in an ever shrinking world. X’ers mostly share an impatience
with racism, greed, and ignorance (Lauren, p. 70). The common use of the
computer opened the ever expanding horizons to the highways of the world
Fact be known Gen X is neither white, nor rich, nor do they all live in
a suburb near you. 70 percent of X’ers are white, while 13 percent are black,
12 percent Hispanic, 4 percent Asian, and 1 percent are Native American (Giles,
p4). In addition, according to a recent survey conducted by the sociology
department at the University of Maryland, Generation X’ers can now be classified
by the term Neat’ (Carnoy, p.80) Dr. John P. Robinson recently supervised a
telephone survey and concluded that 57 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds said that
having a neat and clean house was “very important” to them (Carnoy, p. 80).
When compared to the Baby boomers, only 48 percent of the 30- to 49-year-olds
felt the same way (Carnoy, p.80)
Examples proving that Generation X is not a bunch of slackers’ are
prevalent all through our society today. Swing, Might, Paper, Curio, and myriad
other magazines are all published by X’ers, for X’ers. T.A.G. formally known
as The Alternative Group’ is after representation. ” For too long our needs
(Generation X) have gone ignored in our local, state, and national governments.
In truth, we hope to be a grassroots lobbying force for our age group.” (TAG,
Objectives) Adam Werbach (23) is breathing new life into the Sierra club,
America’s oldest, largest, and most middle aged environmental group. Thousands
of X’ers are popping up all over the place, taking the reins of society and
quietly changing America.
“Young People are less commited to their jobs now. My father started
working for AT&T as soon as he graduated from college and he just retired last
year, at 55, I don’t know anyone my age who is likely to have the same
situation. These days, three or four years is the longest anyone stays at one
company. People want more out of life than just a job. They want to be doing
something they love, and they want to move up fast. It’s no longer a sign of
weakness to leave a job after a short stint. Now, it shows that you’re
ambitious.” (Schiman, Swing)
“The Boring Twenties: Grow Up, Crybabies. You’re America’s Luckiest
Generation.” Headlined the Washington Times (Giles,p2) Unfortunately, but we
aren’t America’s luckiest children. More than two-thirds of today’s college and
university students receive some sort of financial assistance during their
academic career (T.A.G., Aid). It is no wonder then, that when the Congress
begun talk of “cutting” financial aid, many campuses across the country made
their voice heard loud and clear. On top of that, many graduates entering the
work force did so during the recession of 1990-1991. “Today the average full-
time salary for a male between twenty-five and thirty-four is $26,197; the
average for a female is $21,510 (Giles, p.4) For Generation X’ers to grow up in
homes where the divorce rate even hit 50% (Leveridge, p15) the could be
considered Americas unluckiest children. The recent resurgence of retired
people moving closer to college campuses is astounding. The number of Gen X’ers
that want inter action with the retirement community is unparalleled (Harris, p.
After all this is said and done, Generation X has far surpassed proving
their worth to the baby-boomers. Could the Baby-boomers nostalgia of the good
ol days’ be the determining factor in the constant barrage of our generation.
One day they will figure us out, but by then it will be too late. It is the
drive, determination, and inspiration that our generation has, that will allow
every single one of us conquer, and never be conquered. It is also this which
brings us together, and defines us a generation, Generation X.
Atwan, Robert, ed. Our Times. 4th Edition Boston: Bedford 1995
Carnoy, David. “Into the Great Divide.” Swing: September 1996: 80-81
Forrest, Bret. “Douglas Coupland: Thoughts and Reality” Swing: July/Aug 1996: 75
Giles, Jeff. “Generalizations X.” Our Times. Ed. Robert Atwan. 4th edition.
Boston: Bedford, 1995
Goldman, Debra. “Generalizations X.” Our Times. Ed. Robert Atwan. 4th edition.
Boston: Bedford, 1995
Harris, Lou. “Family Values.” Swing: September 1996: 81
Lauren, David. “Who We Are.” Swing: April 1996: 62-72
Leveridge, Brett. “Men My Mother Dated” Might: Nov/Dec1996:16
Liu, Eric. “Generalizations X.” Our Times. Ed. Robert Atwan. 4th edition.
Boston: Bedford, 1995
Schiman, Ben. “Work Life.” Swing: September 1996: 80
T.A.G., “Electoral Objectives” Http://www.mindspring.com/^tag/electorial_
T.A.G., “Securing the Future of Student Financial Aid”