Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Book Review: What's Next, Gen X?

I know it may come as a shock but I've actually been entrusted by an author to review her book. And, since I'm a lazy jackass, it took me a month before I looked past the cover (Sorry!).

Author Tamara Erickson isn't one of us. In fact she's a baby boomer that had the guts to walk between us pack of hyenas and examine our behavior as we gnawed on the corpse of our lame careers. After all, us Xsters are a snotty bunch and seemingly wish for outsiders to critique so that we may strike back with sarcasm they never seemed to understand. Yet, in this book Erickson basically sits you down, grabs a fist full of roses and says 'Here! Smell these goddamn things'.

Although I've worked at my company for some time now I still haven't thought much about my career. I do fairly well (save a lot and I have neat toys like surfboards and a motorcycle that can quickly make life look like a video game) so I don't concern myself with what next step I should consider. Lucky me that some of the chapters dealt with fools like myself that haven't realized they've painted their asses in a corner (who the hell paints floors anyhow? Just curious.) I actually work at a multi-faceted company that will allow me to cross over to other departments and learn skills that would help me become a more versatile employee and make it more difficult for the company to can me when times suck (like the times we live in now). Seems obvious, right? Well, it wasn't because I never thought about it because I've been busy doing financially fine, surfing and riding my motorcycle.

However, the book applies to others beside myself. Times presently suck. Suckier than the early 90's or even after the tech bubble burst. If you're unemployed or underemployed Erickson helps provide clarity, and, even more importantly, focus on how to get your broke ass out of the jam. Being able to refocus seems to have gotten lost after we've worked for a decade or two. Not in the pages here. Nah-ahh. She helps us re-summon up the same type of motivation we used to snatch jobs in the 90's when the boomers seemingly wouldn't let us have them.

One of the items addressed helped me to have a better understanding of other generations. Particularly the baby boomers. Now don't get me wrong here. I may have a better "understanding" of how baby boomers think, but it's a far cry from having a better "appreciation" of how baby boomers think. Anyhow, what I'm saying is I see now why other generations hold the pathetic thoughts they own and why they also view GenXsters as complex. It's really impossible for me, born in 1972, to expect someone that grew up in a different era to have enough commonalities to say with conviction "I know what you mean". Even if we grew up in the same town, that is. But, we can at least show a little respect. And, believe it or not, I've actually begun doing this at work (just don't expect me to commit to respecting boomers on this blog).

I rec'd reading this. Especially if you're one of those that, even though middle aged, still wonder "What do I want to be when I grow up?".

Buy it here if you wish.


Kath said...

Well, since this sounds like an insightful, thought-provoking book, I won't read it.

But I LIKE your review! Very, very nice. Maybe you have a career in book jacket writing. That would be so cool.

You need to do more of this!

Wek said...

Ahhhh thanks! Although I didn't exactly do them any favors by taking a year to begin reading it.