Njnj Essay

2849 Words Aug 27th, 2012 12 Pages


ARTWORK Gus Powell, Still Life: Raspberry, from the series Lunch Pictures, 1999—2007



Tamara J. Erickson (tammy@ tammyerickson.com) is the author of a trilogy of books on generations in the workforce and has written several articles for HBR, including “It’s Time to Retire Retirement” (March 2004), which won a McKinsey Award. A member of the Boomer generation, she is based in Boston.

The Leaders We Need Now
Generation X will produce executives who bring a distinctive sense of realism to the modern corporation. by Tamara J. Erickson
A NEW COHORT of leaders is poised to take senior executive roles and is bringing with it a whole new mind-set. Baby Boomers
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Their teens were a time of major corporate restructuring, as the psychological contracts between employers and employees were ripped apart in then-unprecedented ways. Before 1981, the word “layoff,” in the sense of permanent separation from a job with no prospects for recall, was so uncommon that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics didn’t even keep track of such cuts. It’s not surprising that younger managers are warier of corporate commitments. Consider the following exchange, shared with me by a manager in an executive education class:

A Boomer approaches a Gen X manager. “Great news! You’ve won the promotion!” The Boomer waits for obvious signs of delight, then adds, “Of course, you’ll have to relocate to Topeka.” Dead silence. “No thanks,” the Xer flatly replies.
Even worse, after considering her options, the young manager quit. A talented, promising Gen Xer simply opted out of the hierarchy. Herein lie the roots of the slacker myth. Almost any Boomer would be perplexed by this response and might leap rapidly to a value judgment about the Xer’s commitment to the company or her career. It would be a short step to assume that the Xer lacked ambition, confidence, or perhaps even raw intelligence—after all, how could she not recognize what a big deal this is? Though misguided, these are the instinctive reactions from a generation that has been

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