Aug 24, 2022 - Economy & Business

Finish Line: Gen X's message to the youth

Illustration of an office chair with the backrest shaped like a speech bubble
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Part 2 of a 3-part "Generations" series... There's a generational divide in workplaces across America, and we're exploring different perspectives to better understand one another.

The big picture: Think of this as a mind meld with the generation that came of age before social media — Gen X. It’s one perspective on life and work, to help other generations understand us.

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At Axios, we’ve been intentional since Day 1 about including other perspectives in our decision-making, including an Emerging Leaders program that puts sharp, skeptical young minds around our executive table. In that spirit, my 5 points breaking down Gen X:

1. Remember that a job is, among other things ... a job. I write and talk a lot about the importance of purpose and mission in a modern, successful company. But in addition to being a great colleague, I'm paid to do a particular job well. That's my Job 1.

2. Promotions aren't perennials. My generation was lucky to get big pay raises or true promotions a few times in our young careers. That's changed, and we've changed. But if you want a better title, think about what new responsibility — and accountability — you'll take on. 

3. Ask yourself: Do I really need to tweet or TikTok every thought? Will this make the world a better or smarter place? My generation aged and grew with the internet. But our instincts aren't to go public with every agitation or desire. The more you say, the harder it is for others to hear you when it truly matters. 

4. My personal views aren’t universally held. It's a big, wide world full of conflicting, complicated viewpoints. My views and your views are real and awesome — just not always shared by everyone. Sometimes people are silent because it’s too exhausting to argue about hot topics. Or they’re busy working. 

5. One disagreement does not a bad employer make. We judge an employer on the totality of the culture, mission, pay, benefits, decision-making, opportunities — not on one thing you wish they did, said or had. Hell, until the last decade, we didn’t even know what culture and mission meant 😀.

Go deeper: Catch up on Part 1 of our series: Millennial unplugged.

Go deeper