Cheer up, Gen X!JEON YOUNG-SUN
The author is the head of the K-Entertainment Team of the JoongAng Ilbo.
In Korea, the X Generation generally refers to those born between 1970 and 1979 while there are some different perspectives. The generation was considered largely unknown as the period that they got spotlight with flash fashion and values distinguished from the previous generations was relatively short. They are living quietly after so many discussions between Seo Tae-ji’s debut in 1992 to the foreign exchange crisis in 1997. How did the new generation become invisible?
One of the defining characteristics of Gen X is that they are the generation that came shortly after the 86 generation — those who were born in the 1960s and went to college in the 1980s. They have been working under the 86 generation from the beginning of their careers, and their predecessors are still very solid. In the meantime, the millennials born from the early 1980s to the early 2000s have already advanced to the center of society. They became CEOs of listed companies and heads of political parties ahead of Gen Xers.
Gen Xers are accustomed to implementing rough instructions from the 86 generation even if they curse at their bosses secretly. Rather than trying to convince the millennials asking why, they have learned from experiences that it is faster to do things themselves. So, the millennials think Gen Xers and the 86 generation are no different. It is only natural that Gen X leadership is invisible. It simply does not exist. It is highly likely that Gen X will exit together with the 86 generation, or be “passed over.”
Writer Kim Min-hee, author of “Warm Individualists,” regards Gen Xers as “undervalued blue-chip stocks” and offers a somewhat hopeful prediction. They got pushed out because “not many Gen Xers are interested in taking high positions though they must fight for the positions when they want them.” She also analyzes that Gen X is now at the crossroads of being the eternal sidekick or being the leader of the new era by finding self-worth.
As a Gen Xer, I am not up for the fight. But there are still hopes. Gen Xers have unparalleled presence in culture. While they are pushed off the political, economic and social stages, there will be no interruption in the supply of things to see, enjoy and consume that suit their tastes perfectly. Also, choices of Gen Xers often become the mega trends. So, cheer up Gen X!