Speaks Out For Generation X

BY MICHAEL J. RAMOS

I straddle two generations—the baby boomers and Generation X—and serve as liaison to my state society’s Under 35 committee, which is made up primarily of Generation X members. In the eight years I have been active in the state society, this committee is the most dynamic one I have worked with, and its members make a tremendous contribution to our society and the profession.

The article “Hiring Generation X” ( JofA, Feb.00, page 55) portrays the under-35 members of our profession as disloyal, greedy, self-indulgent and irrational in their desire for a better lifestyle.

In decrying the lack of loyalty displayed by Generation X, the author passes it off as merely the byproduct of a strong economy—as if our business leaders had perpetuated a culture of loyalty only to have it dismissed as irrelevant by the new generation. Hardly so. This generation came of age at a time of constant corporate reorganization, downsizing and reengineering. Choose whatever euphemism you want—what Gen-Xers have seen are good, loyal people with a long history of employment at an organization losing their jobs in a chaotic and capricious process that often seems more about ego than anything else. And this is supposed to instill loyalty?

In the world we now live in, where the corporation is unstable and subject to radical change on a whim, individuals have nowhere to turn for security except themselves and their families. On the job the individual must acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to survive the inevitable next wave of downsizing. This is not self-indulgence; it’s survival.

It is unfortunate that the JofA chose to publish this ill-considered and damaging article. At a time when our profession is trying hard to reach out and attract the best and brightest of the new generation, the last thing we need is articles in our professional journal that perpetuate stereotypes about so-called Generation X and serve only to further widen the generational divide.

Michael J. Ramos, CPA
Denver

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