April 26, 2015 is the 50th Birthday of Gen X actor/comedian Kevin James. James first became well know starring in The King of Queens, and then appeared in a number of films with other largely Generation X actors, including Adam Sandler, Will Smith and Vince Vaughn. I for one am looking forward to Game of Thrones of Queens, as previewed in this Letterman interview:
One of the defining characteristics of Generation X that differentiated us from the Baby Boomers as we entered the workforce was that we did not expect to stay with one employer for our whole lives. I don’t know what the overall statistics are, now that we have put in at least half a working lifetime, but I can speak for myself personally. I have worked for three separate organizations and seem to find myself switching jobs every seven years (plus or minus). When I looked at my lifetime earnings record for my post about Gen X’s peak earning years, I did note that my job search coincided with a salary plateau, and I used the job change to get a raise. I think that this has been a standard Gen X model.
Since I am at that place again (in terms of time and stagnation), I am again looking for another opportunity. As before, I think that the opportunities outside my organization are likely to be better than inside. As I look into changing jobs again, I found this article from Marc Miller about Generation Xers hitting 50 and considering changing careers. Miller runs Career Pivot, a “career design firm” that helps Baby Boomers shift careers. His article notes that Gen Xers are now facing the career choices that the Boomers hit a decade or two back, but that we are different form the Boomers in fundamental ways. One on these ways is that we Xers have been more career focused – using education and job shifting between employers to drive higher levels of reward, as opposed to the Boomer strategy of going to work for one company for an entire career. The second issue that he notes that affects mid-career changes for Generation X is that we have delayed having children, and this will have an effect on letting your Generation X midlife crisis drive a career change.
Miller closes with this statement, which I found sort of interesting.
“Approaching Career Crossroads
The great recession and the new economy has caused many in all generations to approach career crossroads.
Do you blindly follow a career path to earn a living and hope happiness will follow?
Do you pursue monetary success and think happiness will flow from that success?
Do you follow your passion to attain happiness and the monetary success that will follow?
Baby boomers followed path #1.
Generation Xers followed path #2.
Generation Y, who happen to be baby boomers kids, are following path #3.
All three paths are flawed.”
My career works with his generalization, as I would say that I followed path two. Is it flawed? Undoubtedly. But I don’t think there is a path that doesn’t have flaws.
I found Tom Cramer’sHuff/Post50 blog reflections of a Gen Xer turning 50. Thought I would share it here. I resonate with much of it – probably because my first car (1977 Chevy Monte Carlo) had an 8-track tape player! And I still don’t wear a bike helmet.
I only noticed today that The Fix blog on the Washington Post discussed the Marco Rubio candidacy in terms of Generation X and the Presidency. As I havenotedbefore, I am not sure that we will ever have a Gen X President. Philip Bump at the Fix also notes that the demographic power of the Baby Boomers and then the Millennials mean that it is pretty likely that we will have more Boomer Presidents, and then of course, a Millennial – which he reacts to with mock horror.
The Fix has written before that these Generational terms are fluid and artificial. Which of course, they are, being largely marketing terms. But, I think that among those of us in Gen X, it is a term that we do identify with. Whether we ever elect our own President or not.
For a few years now I have had to resort to reading glasses. As is typical, when I hit my mid-forties I found that I could no longer read fine print. The dreaded onset of presbyopia – which literally translates from the Greek to seeing like an old person. Ugh. Generation X is fast becoming the prime demographic for eye care sales of glasses, contact lenses, and surgery….
Medicine bottles were the worst! Between the low light in the bathroom and the microscopic print on the packaging, figuring out the dosage information was impossible! At least I can still read fine print outside in the noonday light. But that is about it.
So, I bought a pair of drugstore readers. Then, I found I really needed a pair at work, so I got another. Then I wanted a pair that was very portable with a hard case, so I bought a third pair. And each pair I bought, I felt I had to increase the strength. Its like using the glasses makes my eyes even weaker! Then, I was tired of going up and downstairs when I needed glasses, so I bought another pair so I essentially had one on each floor of the house and one at work.
This was working out pretty well, until I started misplacing them. At one point I could only find one pair in the house. I have since relocated one other pair, but one is still missing. So today I bought yet another pair. And moved up 0.25 diopter to +1.75. I think I need one more pair — this one for the car. The cellphone print is now impossible to read, and texting and driving is even more dangerous when you have to stare and squint.
I have posted my contention that the Fast and the Furious franchise, a movie with a completely Generation X starring cast, is the greatest movie franchise of our generation. More support for that comes in today’s news that this weekend Furious 7 will break the $1B Worldwide Box Office mark. Right now it is beating all the other films that are out.
It appears that others are now noticing that the Democratic party is fielding a very old slate of Presidential contenders. This is of course something I commented on several days ago, or longer in my consideration of possible future US Presidents. So, where are the Gen X Democratic contenders? While Gen X is slightly more Republican leaning, especially the older Xers, there are still plenty of Gen X Democrats. Has Hillary scared everyone off until after she is out of the way? If she wins and serves two terms, the next shot for the Gen X Democrats (or Republicans) in this scenario is in 2024. That would make the oldest Generation X politicians 59 years old and the youngest 42. So, I guess we still have a reasonable shot at the White House!
I’m trying to figure out which Martin Lawrence film I like the best – and of course, you can’t go wrong with the BadBoys films. But I have a soft spot for Black Knight! And, while I preferred the original English version, the Chris Rock/Martin Lawrence version of Death at a Funeral was pretty good! And it has Peter Dinklage reprising his role as the late father’s lover. What more could you ask for.
Gen X 50th Birthday of the Day for April 16th, 2015 is Jon Cryer. Lately of the show Two and a Half Men, those of us in Generation X probably know him first and best from his role as Duckie in Pretty in Pink — one of the classic John Hughes films that came out during Gen X’s formative years.
So, the other night – and I don’t know if this was in celebration of turning 50 – Cryer recreated his dance/lip sync routine to Otis Redding’s Try a Little Tenderness from Pretty in Pink. So that you can compare in one place, I give you the 1986 original with 21 year old Jon Cryer and the 2015 version with 50 (minus one day) year old Jon Cryer. With the wig, Cryer has appeared to have aged at all in 29 years!
As of April 13, two of the four announced Presidential candidates are Gen Xers. Although I have already expressed my opinion that no Gen Xer will ever be President, at this early stage we have two Xers in Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, and two Boomers in Hillary Clinton and Rand Paul.
The New York Times has an article on “Who is Running for President” that looks at probable (and improbable) candidates for 2016. On the Democrat side, the running and probable candidates are all Baby Boomers, the youngest of whom is Martin O’Malley (b. 1963). In the “Probably Not” category the Democrats have Joe Biden, who, at 72, might be the Silent Generation’s last hope at putting a representative in the Oval Office.
On the Republican side, the field is a bit more diverse (age-wise) with twelve running or probable candidates. The oldest (probable) candidate is Rick Perry at 65, and the youngest candidates are the 43 year-olds – Bobby Jindal and Marco Rubio. Among the NYT Republican list then, there are 4 Xers and 8 Boomers.
As I noted before, I don’t see any of the Xers as having a real shot. The folks at Five Thirty Eight beg to differ, calling Rubio the GOP’s first real contender and electable and conservative in optimal proportions. But Time will tell! I did find it interesting that Rubio did explicitly call out this election as being a generational choice.