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The Forgotten Generation X - Overlooked?

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Generation X don’t get much of a mention...maybe we are overlooked 😉  

 

Article on link below in summary states Gen X should now be in their peak if earning capacity but have received less promotions in the past 5 years than Millenniums and Boomers. 

Born in the centre of Gen X and employed in a financial corporate all my working life this definitely rings true. 

Article states Boomers hanging on until they hit late 60’s or provided with their ‘entitled’ redundancy package, so reduce progression....and those pesky Millenniums leapfrogging over Gen X due to enthusiasm, hunger and a little subconscious prejudice from employer....leaves Gen X carrying a heavy workload with not as much reward. 

No bitterness on my part because as the article suggests Gen X are perceived as a lazy generation and I see that too....it’s not that they are actually lazy but it’s a question of competition.  I reached a level where 50/60 hours was the norm...but the next step up was a ‘biggy’ and whilst in the past a promotion provided relatively easier role it had become much more exposed and certainly 60+ hours a week. I wouldn’t do it so I guess the Millenniums needed to. 

My observation was the financial benefits. Boomers kept everything (not their doing, but employer struggled to remove at short notice)....Gen X had everything and lost 90% of it. (One reason I left and drew a pension at 50 was because every year I stayed the pension benefit was proportionately eroded ie it was completely flat until drawn) 

However the Millenniums never had anything. This brought about a generation who could be made redundant at 32 years old with 2 young kids and a new mortgage (that never ever used to happen...it was always an unspoken ‘volunteer’ type process) and Millenniums didn’t have my health care, staff products or my final salary pension scheme. Millenniums were therefore resourceful but they weren’t ‘loyal’...but why would they be? Its not a moral issue that made me ‘loyal’ it was because of the pension, car, BuPA etc.  So millenniums were hungry, fought for promotion and were also quite happy to leave for another employer. And current employer knew that. 

Interestingly some Boomers and Gen X resented promotion of the very young...but I always knew I could do what they were doing (including swapping employers or at least divisions in the company) but I also knew it wasn’t in me...and that helped me to come to peace with my place and indeed mentor many who would go on to much higher levels than I.

Definitely no resentment to Boomers or Millenniums and HPI what’s been truly against Millenniums which perhaps brings my sympathy overall. I wonder if I would have felt the same and as supportive to Millenniums if house prices had fallen over the past 25 years? Hmmm....best not over think that one🧐

Very easy to get tied up in Generation Wars and reality is individuals shouldn’t be judged and there are huge exceptions to the rule (including Boomers 😉) but it makes interesting observations. 

https://hbr.org/2019/07/are-companies-about-to-have-a-gen-x-retention-problem

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I'm a gen x'er and one thing i've noticed in my trade (joiner) is the sheer number of blokes my parents age still working is incredible (and not in a good way). It seems boomers just won't retire or maybe can't? My mother still works as she has to and shes in her 70's. I thought my prospects were being limited by migrant labour, and that's certainly true with commercial site work but private commissioned work is always boomers that are the problem/competition.

As for Gen x'ers being at peak earnings, if this is my peak i'm f***ed as i have no pension and next to no savings - i look to the future with a great sense of foreboding.

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2 hours ago, Pop321 said:

Definitely no resentment to Boomers or Millenniums ...

Very easy to get tied up in Generation Wars and reality is individuals shouldn’t be judged and there are huge exceptions to the rule (including Boomers 😉) but it makes interesting observations. 

Sorry I have to say it - the correct word for those born between 1981 and 1996 is "Millennials" not "Milleniums" ;)

I think the article makes some interesting points - although I think ultimately what matters more than precisely which generation you're in is:

- Do you have a DB pension?  (If boomer, probably yes, if Gen X, maybe, If Millennial No)

- Do you have a house?  (If boomer, probably yes, if Gen X, maybe, If Millennial probably not)

If you have both you're sorted, if you have one you're OK, if you have neither it's hard.

Also the article talks about promotion and progession at work as if it's 100% a good thing, and not "progressing" is something to despair over.  I'm not so sure - yes progression generally brings more money but less time, and greater risk of redundancy in bad times.  Not getting progression is only a problem if you want it.

 

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1 minute ago, scottbeard said:

Also the article talks about promotion and progession at work as if it's 100% a good thing, and not "progressing" is something to despair over.  I'm not so sure - yes progression generally brings more money but less time, and greater risk of redundancy in bad times.  Not getting progression is only a problem if you want it.

Amen to that. One former manager I had didn't appear to be able to get his head around not wanting to "progress," he didn't seem to quite grasp that I couldn't see the point in having to do more stuff I really don't like doing (planning, organising, managing etc.)

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Once you get to a certain level of earnings, you have to ask yourself whether you actually want the extra money for the promotion when the promotion brings loads of extra work, pointless drivel and responsibility. Far easier to just carry on doing whatever you were doing at your level and let someone else take the extra money and extra work/stress/pain etc.

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3 minutes ago, Errol said:

Once you get to a certain level of earnings, you have to ask yourself whether you actually want the extra money for the promotion when the promotion brings loads of extra work, pointless drivel and responsibility. Far easier to just carry on doing whatever you were doing at your level and let someone else take the extra money and extra work/stress/pain etc.

But without that extra money how are you supposed to always have the latest pointless electronic gimmick?

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9 minutes ago, Riedquat said:

But without that extra money how are you supposed to always have the latest pointless electronic gimmick?

Credit

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4 hours ago, Pop321 said:

Generation X don’t get much of a mention...maybe we are overlooked 😉  

 

Article on link below in summary states Gen X should now be in their peak if earning capacity but have received less promotions in the past 5 years than Millenniums and Boomers. 

Born in the centre of Gen X and employed in a financial corporate all my working life this definitely rings true. 

Article states Boomers hanging on until they hit late 60’s or provided with their ‘entitled’ redundancy package, so reduce progression....and those pesky Millenniums leapfrogging over Gen X due to enthusiasm, hunger and a little subconscious prejudice from employer....leaves Gen X carrying a heavy workload with not as much reward. 

No bitterness on my part because as the article suggests Gen X are perceived as a lazy generation and I see that too....it’s not that they are actually lazy but it’s a question of competition.  I reached a level where 50/60 hours was the norm...but the next step up was a ‘biggy’ and whilst in the past a promotion provided relatively easier role it had become much more exposed and certainly 60+ hours a week. I wouldn’t do it so I guess the Millenniums needed to. 

My observation was the financial benefits. Boomers kept everything (not their doing, but employer struggled to remove at short notice)....Gen X had everything and lost 90% of it. (One reason I left and drew a pension at 50 was because every year I stayed the pension benefit was proportionately eroded ie it was completely flat until drawn) 

However the Millenniums never had anything. This brought about a generation who could be made redundant at 32 years old with 2 young kids and a new mortgage (that never ever used to happen...it was always an unspoken ‘volunteer’ type process) and Millenniums didn’t have my health care, staff products or my final salary pension scheme. Millenniums were therefore resourceful but they weren’t ‘loyal’...but why would they be? Its not a moral issue that made me ‘loyal’ it was because of the pension, car, BuPA etc.  So millenniums were hungry, fought for promotion and were also quite happy to leave for another employer. And current employer knew that. 

Interestingly some Boomers and Gen X resented promotion of the very young...but I always knew I could do what they were doing (including swapping employers or at least divisions in the company) but I also knew it wasn’t in me...and that helped me to come to peace with my place and indeed mentor many who would go on to much higher levels than I.

Definitely no resentment to Boomers or Millenniums and HPI what’s been truly against Millenniums which perhaps brings my sympathy overall. I wonder if I would have felt the same and as supportive to Millenniums if house prices had fallen over the past 25 years? Hmmm....best not over think that one🧐

Very easy to get tied up in Generation Wars and reality is individuals shouldn’t be judged and there are huge exceptions to the rule (including Boomers 😉) but it makes interesting observations. 

https://hbr.org/2019/07/are-companies-about-to-have-a-gen-x-retention-problem

Can't say this fits with the experience in my industry (software development).  There were a lot of entrants to the industry around about the millennium then very few after the crash.  Most folks I've met have been around about my age with one or two younger trickling in.

Outsourcing and offshoring have had there effect no doubt and only now I think it is starting again to look like an attractive career to graduates.

My peak earnings were the last 5 of contracting which I doubt we will ever see again due to changes to the tax laws.  The career structure is poorly defined but I've bumped up the ladder a few rungs then come back down as I prefer being on the tools than getting involved in the tedium of management (too much stress for too little reward).

Generation X have ruled the IT industry for the past 15 years and still do, there were very few boomers to get in the way.

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, Errol said:

Once you get to a certain level of earnings, you have to ask yourself whether you actually want the extra money for the promotion when the promotion brings loads of extra work, pointless drivel and responsibility. Far easier to just carry on doing whatever you were doing at your level and let someone else take the extra money and extra work/stress/pain etc.

I hit a 'block' when my next promotion would have paid £10k, but after tax, NI, pension deductions, student loan and losing my child benefit payments I would have taken home less than £2.5k in cash.

As my employer has hacked out entire layers of management the jump up in responsibility is mammoth as well. 

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4 hours ago, Errol said:

Once you get to a certain level of earnings, you have to ask yourself whether you actually want the extra money for the promotion when the promotion brings loads of extra work, pointless drivel and responsibility. Far easier to just carry on doing whatever you were doing at your level and let someone else take the extra money and extra work/stress/pain etc.

It's refreshing to read perspectives like this. I'm a gen x'er, born in '79, and have been a lorry driver all my working life. No kids, no wife, no divorces, no mortgage, no house, no pension, good health. 

I've worked my way into a driving job where I'm relatively comfortable and happy, with average of 40-ish hours per week, for what I consider to be a good salary for what I do (significantly above UK average). Yet I've always felt an angst over not 'progressing', mainly into management, training, or running my own vehicles. But when I've considered those roles, they've always looked too boring, pressured, and insecure, whereas driving a lorry is as stressful, or not, as you want it to be, and generally more secure (ten-a-penny job). And as crap as many aspects of the job are, as much as it lacks social status, and as much as transport's always a cut-throat race to the bottom, fundamentally, I'm always on the move, always with an audio-book playing, always on my own - job's a winner in that regard as it suits my character. It's as if I'm being paid to read books, thus freeing up my spare time to do things other than reading. 

BUT... the angst that my boomer parents never had is always there. My thoughts rattle my mind often: "Forty now, now other skills (apart from a degree in psychology), no house, no pension, no desire to 'progress' or change career. You should be developing" etc... But life isn't too bad at the moment, and moving up the ladder would depress me, I'm sure. But the should I/shouldn't I? question is there constantly, especially as I watch my gen x IT friends do really well with houses, kids, marriages, pensions etc. My peers are at the buying 4 and 5 bedroom detached house stage now. I'm in a rented granny annex. BUT, I'm happy. It's true that comparison is the thief of all joy. 

Edited by Orb

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47 minutes ago, Orb said:

It's refreshing to read perspectives like this. I'm a gen x'er, born in '79, and have been a lorry driver all my working life. No kids, no wife, no divorces, no mortgage, no house, no pension, good health. 

Can you save for the future at all? It doesn't sound as if you are measuring yourself against others that much, which is healthy. 

But I wouldn't rely on the state to care for your future well-being in any significant way, and it's definitely not too late to start socking away money for later. 

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5 hours ago, Riedquat said:

But without that extra money how are you supposed to always have the latest pointless electronic gimmick?

Help to Wifi 

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38 minutes ago, PeanutButter said:

Can you save for the future at all? It doesn't sound as if you are measuring yourself against others that much, which is healthy. 

But I wouldn't rely on the state to care for your future well-being in any significant way, and it's definitely not too late to start socking away money for later. 

Since getting my HGV licence in 2004 I've managed to save £72k from unspent wages, and currently saving on average £700 pcm. It's all currently in savings, premium bonds, and 1 year growth bonds. I was one day hoping to perhaps buy a small freehold property in my hometown, then squirrel away a modest pension once the house was bought. I'm a stubbornly independent free-spirited mo-fo, and highly resented the notion of being mortgaged, so tried to do it by saving. I'm dead against mortgages - I once mused it, and began looking into it, and the experience literally brought on depression. By now £72k should, if things had been normal, have been enough for a decent 2 bed semi or terraced in my hometown. As it stands, that will just about buy the cheapest, grottiest, 1 bed leasehold bedsit above a kebab shop in a bad area, on a busy road. I could go anywhere north of say, Stoke, and get a terraced, but, jobs and crime innit. 

Just out of curiosity, and I apologise if I've temporarily hijacked the thread (though it's at least on topic), but if anybody fancies offering their thoughts, what would people here do if aged 40 with nobody and nothing to maintain, but £72k in the bank and the freedom to do as one pleases with all of it?

Edited by Orb

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Im late generation  x. Of course my generation had it better than people now in their 20s, an opportunity to buy an affordable house and no massive student debt for a start. I personally think my generation suffers because we were brought up with the same expectations as our boomer parents, a nice steady career job and a decent pension( even early retirement). It is now clear that unless you are on the gravy train, work has become far more demanding, dog eat dog, (doing a steady job is now regarded as unsatisfactory coasting)  and the retirement age pushed further away. Somebody in their forties is thinking no way can i do another 20 plus years of this for a pension that might not even be there. Well, that is how i think about it. 

The culture of generation x, 70s and early 80s, is also regarded as being more cynical. So having that outlook also probably doesnt help. 

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18 minutes ago, Orb said:

Since getting my HGV licence in 2004 I've managed to save £72k from unspent wages, and currently saving on average £700 pcm. It's all currently in savings, premium bonds, and 1 year growth bonds. I was one day hoping to perhaps buy a small freehold property in my hometown, then squirrel away a modest pension once the house was bought. I'm a stubbornly independent free-spirited mo-fo, and highly resented the notion of being mortgaged, so tried to do it by saving. I'm dead against mortgages - I once mused it, and began looking into it, and the experience literally brought on depression. By now £72k should, if things had been normal, have been enough for a decent 2 bed semi or terraced in my hometown. As it stands, that will just about buy the cheapest, grottiest, 1 bed leasehold bedsit above a kebab shop in a bad area, on a busy road. I could go anywhere north of say, Stoke, and get a terraced, but, jobs and crime innit. 

Just out of curiosity, and I apologise if I've temporarily hijacked the thread (though it's at least on topic), but if anybody fancies offering their thoughts, what would people here do if aged 40 with nobody and nothing to maintain, but £72k in the bank and the freedom to do as one pleases with all of it?

Would have thought buying your own transport was the obvious route to go if you know the industry and enjoy working in it yourself. 

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2 minutes ago, bushblairandbrown said:

Would have thought buying your own transport was the obvious route to go if you know the industry and enjoy working in it yourself. 

Cut-throat industry that one that favours bigger players.

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Yeah it's virtually impossible. I could buy one lorry and put it to work on import containers as an 'owner driver', but realistically the best I could personally hope for financially is roughly what I earn now... except I'd have the bureaucratic, legal, and regulatory nightmare of running an HGV on top of it all. May as well stay employed and actually enjoy my downtime. 

Edited by Orb

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1 hour ago, Orb said:

It's refreshing to read perspectives like this. I'm a gen x'er, born in '79, and have been a lorry driver all my working life. No kids, no wife, no divorces, no mortgage, no house, no pension, good health.

... 

I watch my gen x IT friends do really well with houses, kids, marriages, pensions etc.

All employers should now be offering a pension, even if it's only the auto enrolment one - are you not able to join that?

And as for kids and marriages being "doing well" - it depends: only if that's what you want.  I know happy families, unhappy families, happy singles and unhappy singles.  Happiness is being in the situation YOU want to be in, not the situation others want to be in, or the situation others want you to be in.

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6 hours ago, Errol said:

Once you get to a certain level of earnings, you have to ask yourself whether you actually want the extra money for the promotion when the promotion brings loads of extra work, pointless drivel and responsibility. Far easier to just carry on doing whatever you were doing at your level and let someone else take the extra money and extra work/stress/pain etc.

Spot on.....have known people to have retired and their pension has gone up more each year with inflation than their wages would have if they had stayed at work.......when older sometimes extra responsibility/promotion does not pay in more ways than one.;)

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3 minutes ago, Orb said:

Yeah it's virtually impossible. I could buy one lorry and put it to work on import containers as an 'owner driver', but realistically the best I could personally hope for financially is roughly what I earn now... except I have the bureaucratic, legal, and regulatory nightmare of running an HGV. May as well stay employed and actually enjoy my downtime. 

Risky with the huge outlay for the lorry. I wonder if some kind of specialisation might be an opportunity. For example set yourself up as the guy who has a cherry picker for builders and so on to hire out.

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17 minutes ago, Orb said:

Yeah it's virtually impossible. I could buy one lorry and put it to work on import containers as an 'owner driver', but realistically the best I could personally hope for financially is roughly what I earn now... except I'd have the bureaucratic, legal, and regulatory nightmare of running an HGV on top of it all. May as well stay employed and actually enjoy my downtime. 

What about a removal business......house and piano removals, moving things within the UK?;)

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1 minute ago, winkie said:

What about a removal business......house and piano removals, moving things within the UK?;)

Yes, specialised. You want that Steinway shifted safely? Added value.

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