About Generation X

Generation X

Generation X consists of individuals born between 1965 and 1980. Barney (2002) considered Generation X to include individuals born between 1963 and 1977. Most start this generation after 1964, the official end of the increased birth rates (Martin & Tulgan, 2006; Szamosi, 2006; Timmermann, 2007; Wolburg & Pokrywczynski, 2001). Others start the generation between 1960 and 1964 (inclusive), based on generational personality (Huntley, 2006; Strauss & Howe, 1991; Zemke et al., 2000). Members of Generation X are the children of Baby Boomers and are products of the Information Age (Amar, 2004; Cordeniz, 2002). Generation X-ers named the Challenger explosion, the Rodney King arrest, AIDS, and the fall of Communism in Europe as unforgettable events (Arsenault 2004).

Societal Context Shaping Generation X

Many of the mothers of Generation X-ers were going out to work instead of being homemakers (Strauss & Howe, 1991; Zemke et al., 2000). During the 1970s and 1980s, the members of this generation were children, adolescents, and young adults, during which time such events as the Iranian hostage crisis, the Nixon resignation, the oil embargo, increased divorce rates, milk-carton kids, and corporate layoffs took place (Howe & Strauss, 1993; Strauss & Howe, 1991; Zemke et al., 2000). Generation X individuals were nurtured during a time when there were many changes and insecurity, both in financial and family spheres. With diversity flourishing, traditions were less important to society and, as a result, began to diminish gradually. On the other hand, Hill (2004) and Olstein (2005) indicated that Generation X consists of people who grew up during a relatively stable time, when the United States military minimally possessed foreign territories (Mitchell, McLean, & Turner, 2005).

Characteristics of Generation X

The ambition as well as diligence that had characterized their parents diminished because of the increasing instability around them. Uncertainty, instability, and constant change elicited cynicism in this generation. Strauss and Howe (1991) recognized the resentment of these labels by the cohort members and considered the generation as the thirteenth for numerous reasons, one of which is that it is the thirteenth generation since the ratification of the U.S. constitution. Generation X-ers are exposed to computer technology, which is why they emulate computers in processing information. They are like computers because computers can do multitasking or parallel processing. Generation X-ers have the ability to take information from various sources simultaneously (Zemke et al., 2000). Many have learned to rely on their own acquired skills more than formal education. This generation has lower levels of education compared to the Silents and the Boomers (Strauss & Howe, 1991; Martin & Tulgan, 2000; Zemke et al., 2000). As a generation, Generation X-ers are survivors, ones who can take care of themselves (Howe & Straus, 1993; Martin & Tulgan, 2006; Szamosi, 2006; Timmermann, 2007; Zemke et al., 2000). Generation X members value family. Regardless of how busy Generation X people tend to be, they will find time for their family (Stern, 2002).


X世代指在1965年至1980年出生的一代,Barney (2002年)把在1963年至1977年出生的一代界定为X世代。大部分学者以出生率开始下跌的1964年为X世代的开端(Martin & Tulgan,2006年:Szamosi,2006年;Timmermann,2007年;Wolburg & Pokrywczynski,2001年),其他则根据X世代的个性,以1960年至1964年(包括该两年)作为X世代之始(Huntley,2006年;Strauss & Howe,1991年;Zemke等著,2000年)。X世代是婴儿潮世代的子女,也是信息时代的产物(Amar,2004年;Cordeniz,2002年),对挑战者号爆炸坠毁、罗德尼‧金被捕事件、艾滋病和欧洲共产主义没落等事件印象最深(Arsenault,2004年)。


X世代的母亲大多为职业女性(Strauss & Howe,1991年;Zemke等著,2000年)。 在七、八十年代,X世代只是小孩、青年或刚长大成人,当时社会出现伊朗人质危机、美国总统尼克松辞职、石油禁运、离婚率上升、牛奶盒搜救失踪儿童运动和企业裁员等事件(Howe & Strauss,1993年;Strauss & Howe,1991年;Zemke等著,2000年)。 X世代生活在经济和家庭动荡不安的时代,随着社会趋于多元,传统越来越不受重视,并开始逐渐消失。 另一方面,Hill (2004年)与Olstein (2005年)指出X世代成长于相对稳定的时期,当时美国军事力量对海外领土的控制有限(Mitchell、McLean & Turner,2005年)。


多变的社会环境,使X世代失去父母进取、勤勉的特质,而动荡不安、持续变迁同时使他们变得愤世嫉俗。 Strauss与Howe (1991年)认为这一代人不满被贴上标签,并视这一代为第13代,原因之一为他们是美国通过宪法后出生的第13个世代。 X世代经常接触电脑技术,因此擅长以电脑处理信息,而且像电脑一样能同时处理多项工作,也懂得同时从多个来源获取信息(Zemke等著,2000年)。 许多人倾向倚赖自己学习的技能,而非正规教育,因此这一代的教育水平不及沉默世代与婴儿潮世代(Strauss & Howe,1991年;Martin & Tulgan,2000年;Zemke等著,2000年)。 X世代也深谙生存之道,懂得照顾自己(Howe & Straus,1993年;Martin & Tulgan,2006年;Szamosi,2006年;Timmermann,2007年;Zemke等著,2000年)。 X世代重视家庭,无论生活多么忙碌,也会抽空与家人相处(Stern,2002年)。

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