MetroWest Daily News
Jobs and GenX Explored
By Andrew J. Manuse/ Daily News Staff
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Since graduating from college in 1996, Westborough resident Kate O’Neill has worked for a newspaper, a college and a state agency. She currently works for a nonprofit agency in Worcester.
Outside of work, the 31-year-old Generation Xer is a performer, an event planner for the Irish Cultural Center in Canton, and she helps run an Irish music session in Westborough. She also volunteers at her church.
O’Neill said she loves her current job, partly because it gives her a lot of flexibility.
"I could never work in a really regimented environment," O’Neill said. "I’m one of those people of the opinion that I’m not defined by my job... but I’m really devoted to the job I have."
According to Trisha Griffin-Carty, a spokeswoman for the Boston chapter of the Association of Career Professionals International , "O’Neill has many of the characteristics typically associated with a Gen Xer," or the generation of people born in the years after baby boomers. The association studies work issues and provides career services to companies and individuals.
Griffin-Carty said Gen Xers tend to be devoted to their work, but not necessarily formal work structures. They see work as a means to an end, not an end in itself. They’re tech savvy and they’re really good at multi-tasking, she said. Gen Xers are motivated by managers who allow them to balance their work with the rest of their lives.
Managers who hope to retain Gen Xers at their companies longer should "understand what motivates them and how it’s different" from what motivates other generations, she added.
"Gestures and plaques don’t mean anything," said Griffin-Carty. "Time off is a more meaningful reward" for work well done. Gen Xers also appreciate clear and frequent feedback. "Don’t sugarcoat it," she advised.
According to a 2004 Generational Differences survey by the Society for...