The Quiet Desperation of Gex-X Workers
Monday, March 25, 2019
Posted by: Alyce Ryan
They’re dazed and confused — about their careers.
Forty-three-year-old Josh Zepess spent nearly 20 years, most recently as a design engineer, at a semiconductor company, with lots of success, including about 10 promotions and a multi-six-figure salary. “I thought I had it made,” the Gen Xer says, adding that for years he was “the good soldier” who “did everything expected of me.”
But a few years ago, he began to realize that despite being on-paper successful he wasn’t happy. “I was sitting in a grey cubicle 10 hours a day and still had little to show for it except a title and a stressful life,” he says, adding that it freaked him out that he could wake up and find out “I wasn’t needed anymore, and to have to start my career over at 49 years old.”
“I was disillusioned,” he says.
Career reality bites for many Gen Xers like Zepess, even those who are exactly where they once wanted to be in their careers. Data released Monday from MetLife found that only about two in three Gen Xers say they’re happy at work, compared to 75% of millennials and 74% of boomers. And a survey from recruitment firm Robert Half found that while just 8% of millennials said they were unhappy at work, 16% of Gen Xers did. They’re also more likely than millennials to be “actively disengaged” with their jobs, according to Gallup.
So what’s ailing Gen X in the workplace?
They’re the forgotten generation — at work. “Gen X feels less valued,” says Todd Katz, the executive vice president of group benefits for MetLife. Indeed, the new MetLife research reveals that only 54% of Gen Xers feel empowered at work and just 62% feel respected, and Gen X thinks that their employers are not providing them with timely promotions, exposure to senior leadership and other crucial things.
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