10 ways Generation X is hosed

Members of Gen-X hate their jobs, have racked up crazy debt and have given up all hope of a comfy retirement. No wonder they're so grumpy.

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Jul 11, 2013 11:49PM
We pay much closer attention  to things  like Occupy Wall Street and the government spying on us.  Of course when you're broke... it just isn't that relevant.  This article also missed other reasons we're clinging to our jobs. 1. we're the last generation with any work ethic. 2. after the implosion of the "nuclear family", we had to become survivors.  3. we can see the handwriting on the wall so as companies "re-structure" and "shift-priorities" we position ourselves to remain employed since work is is often the only stability Gen Xers  have ever known.   
Jul 12, 2013 12:30AM
I was born in 1961.  So I'm on the cusp between boomers and X'ers.  Whatever, it's all a little arbitrary anyway.  Much in the article is true.  What can one say?  Numbers don't lie.  But I'm not grumpy about it.  I'm taking care of myself, and planning on working into my mid to late seventies.  If I die before that, then I die.  Life will go on and I'm not spending what's left of my life cranky about our situation.  We live far better lives in America than 90% of the world.  And historically speaking, better than 99.98% of all the people who have lived since history started being recorded.  I understand that pain is still pain.  But perspective is important nonetheless.  It can form a basis for some kind of gratitude.  And gratitude is essential for happiness.  Stop feeling so entitled and you will stop feeling so deprived. 
Jul 12, 2013 12:41PM

This article is pretty much bang-on.  When you're made to think you're expendable by companies, it kinda leaves a sour taste in your mouth.  You do a little research and notice the CEOs are getting insanely huge bonuses and companies and banks are making record profits, all the while you've been asked to tighten your belt.  They took so much away after the last recession and never gave it back.  Don't even get me started on politicians....


And when you start reading crap about "not failing a student because it may affect his self esteem", or "let's not hold him back a year because it'll scar him for life...", it scares me to think that 20 years down the line, that brain surgeon might not be qualified at all for the job but was pushed through for fear of damaging his self-esteem.


I hate the way kids are being raised now, with all the sense of entitlement in the world and expensive smartphones that they won't even mow the lawn to help pay for, or the Gen Y-ers that come into the workforce wanting all the perks and benefits and huge salaries, but can't even write 2 sentences down without mispelling half the words...


So yeah, I'm 40, I'll never be able to retire, and I'm bitter about it.  Anyone else would be!

Jul 12, 2013 12:48AM

If you live more than half a century, there is no escaping adversity.  For Gen X, our grandparents lived through the Great Depression and WWII.  Our parents lived through Vietnam, Watergate, and the '70's recession - although, all things considered, our parents probably had it best of all generations past.


Most of the Gen X were too young to go to Vietnam, but old enough to see our brothers, uncles, and neighbors be drafted and never come back and old enough to worry that if the war didn't end soon, we would be old enough for the draft. 


We graduated into the stagflation of the 1970's and 1980's.  The greatest exodus of USA manufacturing  jobs happened right when we were in our twenties and trying to get started in life.  Homes were expensive and interest rates were double digit.  We saw the "new" management style come from Ivy League's fresh MBA graduates that didn't build wealth like former generations, but dissected existing businesses and cut employees with an utter callousness not seen before.


Today's Gen Y don't really have it that bad- YET.  GEN X  didn't have the government supports like they do today.  Today's economy is bad, but not as bad as the late 1970's and 1980's with stagnation, inflation, and double digit interest rates.  HOWEVER, this is the beginning for Gen Y.  They too will see great adversity and I do not envy them.  There is a new level of greed and callousness in government and Wall Street that has not been seen for a long time.  There is an almost sociopathic wave of extraordinarily privileged people who have an insatiable need for more and have little moral conscience about how they get it.  Gen X had it tough, but I think Gen Y is going to have it tougher.  Gen Y will have to bear the cross when we drop and that cross will be heavier than it was when we bore it.

Jul 12, 2013 12:25AM

I was born in '71 during the height of the "Cold War."  Our involvement in Viet Nam at the time, just like the USSRs later involvement in Afghanistan were proxies in a bigger picture. We had the constant threat of nuclear attack and radical Islam was taking hold in Iran.  In 1987 the markets crashed and no, it wasn't good for our parents. My freshman year of college was the fall of 1989. Ouch.  


What separates us from the "bubble-born bedwetters who got trophies for breathing and whose parents hovered over their every move like the air cavalry" is the fact that we all got jobs at Starbucks selling five dollar coffee to yupees to have beer money while we put ourselves through school with grants, GSLs, and a lot of Top Roman. No, we don't understand the entitlement generation or their little occupy statement. Most of us would like to see them get back in school or get a job. At some point they will be responsible for our welfare and frankly, that's frightening.


Personally, I have absolutely no debt but I do own two houses and a vacation home. All of my vehicles, personal and recreational are paid for. My student loans have long been paid off. My family and I vacation every summer, my retirement is secure and my kids college tuitions are provided for. This was accomplished by the good old traditional American values of hard work and dedication. In my opinion, that is what we, as Americans, lack most these days. Any generation can excel with these simple values. Unfortunately, we've bred an entitlement generation who's becoming more and more dependent on a nanny state to take care of it's every need. Everybody wants something for free these days but nobody seems to understand that nothing is free

Jul 12, 2013 9:32AM
As a Gen X'er I have always been a patriot and optimistic about the American way of life. Served in the Marine Corps during the Gulf War, started my own successful business, went on hiatus when Afghanistan/Iraq started so I could serve anther combat tour in Fallujah; but in the past few years I have lost all hope in this country and the way it is ran. I'm now of the notion that I will take care of my family and everything else doesn't matter.

It doesn't matter what generation you are with, American's have become takers as a whole instead of givers.

25 years into the work force and the only thing that has remained constant is the love of family, everything else seems unimportant.

Jul 12, 2013 8:27AM
This is also the generation that suffers from the biggest wage reduction in real dollars. We are making 30% less now than the previous generation was 30 years ago.  Now we are getting stuck with the bills that the previous generation (Social Security, entitlements) voted to help support their growth era.
Jul 12, 2013 2:17PM
We're the children of the fake idealists.  They talked of changing the world, but really just changed it so they would get theirs.  My grandmother lived during the depression.  One of the first things she told me was that the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer.  Save your money, live cheaply, and prepare for the worst. 

Maybe that's the key for the Gen X folks.  While mom and dad were out living it up, we were the latch key kids staying with depression era grandma and grandpa.  We absorbed their lessons, unlike their rebellious kids.  Now we've seen the bad times repeat themselves so we're depressed, but we keep plugging along like grandma told us. 

Jul 12, 2013 12:54AM
I hate to say it but yes, our generation got royally screwed. I know lots of us grew up as latch-key kids, started working younger than Millennials even think is legal for a kid to work, and had just as hard a time if not harder than the Millennials once we hit the adult job market. My parents and grand parents were able to build wealth I can only dream of despite me being a professional with a decent career. Can't say I'm terribly thrilled with what we inherited from older generations. At least we are survivors. If the SHTF I think the Millennials would be toast....
Jul 12, 2013 7:55AM
Gen X beginning in 1961?  Sorry, people born in 61 are boomers.  Generation X started in 1965.
Jul 12, 2013 7:52AM
#1 reason Gen X is hosed....................................They have Obama as President during the prime of their lives.
Jul 12, 2013 11:18AM
There's a big gap between someone born in 1961 and 1984. I'd say Gen X is more like 1965 to 1980.
Jul 12, 2013 12:28AM
It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again...
Jul 11, 2013 10:44PM
The article is dead on about how we got waxed by recessions. In the early 90's. I had to drop out of an expensive university after freshman year and go to community college back home then state school while working to pay for it when my parents were hit by that recession. Just as my career was going well in 2000, the next recession came along and my company was hit hard and my career stagnated for several years. When things were finally going really well for me the the great recession hit and I was laid off. I'm just starting to recover. I'm not crying about it, but it is what it is. I have no debt except a few grand left on student loans, own my two cars outright, but not much else.
Jul 12, 2013 1:01AM

Looking back, Gen X didn't really live through several recessions.  More accurately, we lived through one long and gigantic recession starting from the 1970's to today with one decade of growth during the Clinton years (OK,OK, maybe Clinton didn't do it, but it was a boom)


Think about it:


1970's:  Oil shocks, stagflation, prime interest rate at over 20%

1980's  Continuation of stagflation - mass exodus of of USA manufacturing going overseas

1990's:  USA, Japan, and most industrial nations have massive economic slow down

1997:  Asia and South American economies tank - money rushes into the USA and happy days are here again for nearly a decade

2008:  Bush announces there is a recession as he leaves office - much to our surprise.  The GOP want to use the recession to hurt the Dems and the Dems want to use it to hurt the GOP.  Finally, after long media and political bombardment, people and business start to believe it and the economy does indeed slow down.

2013:  A decade later and Obama finds that it is easier to yell "fire" and cause economic havoc than it is to say "All clear" and have the economy recover.


Jul 12, 2013 8:23AM
At graduation I remember a few of "lucky" ones who got jobs at the up & coming tech companies...I was so jealous and thought to myself   "It really pays to know someone"....Why not me?

30 years later?  Those same "lucky" kids are adults who were laid off from that first job in the 90's and have been reeling in the years every since. They have NO retirement,NO job security,NO vacation & now they are 40 somethings bumping 50.

Without job protection what do you have? If they can fire you after a decade because they can replace you with younger blood @ $5/hr cheaper and the CEO's do not share the company earnings through retirement plans but stuff it in their own bloated bank account then ONLY way to win is be self employed. Can we ALL be self employed? 

Jul 12, 2013 6:41AM
Amusing article and unfortunately true.  I am forwarding it to my Xer kids -  including the ones who live with me! Again.
Jul 12, 2013 12:58AM

This just means they're still jealous because we had Kurt Cobain and all they got was bieber. Your generation failed.

Jul 12, 2013 10:34AM
So, hows the deregulation that's been going on since the 70's working out for you?  

Then again, maybe there's a reason why Truman, Eisenhower, JFK, LBJ, Nixon, Carter (!), and Clinton all managed to produce enough economic growth to lower the countries debt load (despite rising dollar amounts of debt), and every other post WWII President (Ford, Reagan, Bush (41), Bush (43), and Obama) have seen increases to the debt/GDP ratio, regardless of party control of Congress: Because Kynesian Economics works, and Supply-Side economics doesn't.

And until the country shifts it's focus away from business and back toward labor, things will continue to get worse.
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