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Tamara Erickson is a McKinsey Award-winning author; widely respected expert on organizations, innovation, and the impact of changing demographics on the workforce; and President of the nGenera Innovation Network.
Tamara J. Erickson is a McKinsey Award-winning author and widely respected expert on collaboration and innovation - on building talent and enhancing productivity - and on the nature of work in the intelligent economy. She was recently named one of the 50 most influential living management thinkers in the world by Thinkers 50, a biennial guide created by Dearlove and Crainer and published in The (London) Times. Her work is based on extensive research on the changing workforce and employee values and, most recently, on how successful organizations innovate through collaboration. Tammy has authored or co-authored numerous Harvard Business Review articles, including "It's Time to Retire Retirement," winner of the McKinsey Award, an MIT Sloan Management Review article, and the book Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent. She recently completed a trilogy of books on how individuals in specific generations can excel in today's workplace. Retire Retirement: Career Strategies for the Boomer Generation, What's Next, Gen X? Keeping Up, Moving Ahead and Getting the Career You Want and Plugged In: The Generation Y Guide to Thriving at Work. Her blog "Across the Ages" is featured weekly on HBSP Online (http://discussionleader.hbsp.com/erickson/). Tammy and her husband live on a "play farm" in Massachusetts.
I think this author saw one too many episodes of FRIENDS and then sat down and wrote her characterization of Generation X... Slackers who are funny, need the approval of their friends and are happily complacent in their career; as long as they have a cool pad to go home to. Because of this unfortunate characterization of my generation; I found the book completely missing the mark-- and I just couldn't figure out who the book was written to advise. We aren't whiners waiting on a break, we're self reliant and grinders who don't mind the gritty work to get ultimately get paid. (Why do you think 60% of us put kids off til later? To sleep in?)
I found most of the book's characterization of our generation laughable-- certainly the idea that we begrudge Gen Y anything I found the most insulting. We feel they are the natural extension of our youth and are aligned with our same values for the most part; we after all were the influencers that they watched while growing up ( they are a bit whinier than what we might like; but perhaps we were too at that age!) According to the author somehow we are supposed to be intimidated by Gen Y's technological savvy? Does the author not know that we have been a driving consumer force and creators of the technology boom this world has experienced literally since we were teenagers? Where has she been for the past 20 years? We devoured technology like we we devoured our first muffin and mocha latte from Starbucks. Early wireless phone adopters, PC's , IPODS/MP3, Napster, Friendster; MYSPACE (I could go on) anyone? Kudos to Gen Y for picking up the torch; but it started with us; and we are plenty comfortable with our friend technology, thank you very much.Read more ›
This book really resonated with me. I'm a Gen X'er feeling 'stuck' at a mid-career point and now I understand why. I agree that generations are formed by their common experiences during formative teen and early-20 years. This book not only explained what and why my generation is experiencing but now I also understand the Boomers and Gen Y/Millenials better too.
The author offers great advice for what to do next to capitalize on Gen X strengths and respond to changes in business, management and globalization including some very practical steps that I plan to use as I start my next job...and plan for my next career.
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Erickson does a superb job of explaining how Gen Xers can "keep up, move ahead, and get the career you want." This latest in the triology of her generational career books, first defines the unique qualities of Gen X and recaps how they contrast with Gen Y and the Boomers. With that as a back drop, you can gain practical insight how you can find your passion, establish your priorties, take advantage of the changing workplace, decide whether you want to leverage your position internally or pursue external options, and become the leader you have waited to become, given the prevailing presence of boomers in leadership roles. This is an encouraging look at what is next for your generation -- all you need to do is evaluate your next steps and move on to the career you desire.
Tammy, you've larded this book with quotes from your target market, but it doesn't give the sense that you understand what people have told you.
First...this has the sound of a book written by a particular class in the northeast and select parts of California. But to an extent greater than what you knew growing up, various parts of the country were invisible to each other in the decades you're discussing. The 1970s-90s were very different for people in different parts of the country, and, what's more, we didn't know it. There was no "Roger & Me" in other parts of the Midwest. There was no "Bright Lights, Big City" in the devastated farm economies of the 1980s. There was no "Less than Zero" nihilism-lite in New England. Greed was de rigueur in certain areas, but power was the signature of evil and patriarchal oppression in the progressive North. (Remember, there was no widespread NPR till the mid-90s to tell the East Coast such places existed.) And Coupland...I don't know, maybe it resonates with young Xers, but I don't know anyone over the age of, say, 35 who finds it interesting. The child of 1965 and the child of 1979 grew up in very different worlds.
Second, we really don't need the kid next door to tell us who we are and what we lived through. Nor do we need to be told, at this late date, how to manage Boomers. We've been working with and for them and teaching them for decades, and many of us have older-Boomer parents or younger-Boomer siblings. As for telling us how to manage you...hey, I got news. You know this perma-recession thing?Read more ›