All of my leadership development research focusing on midcareer arts and cultural workers and developing the leadership pipeline started to gel for me in a conversation Stephen and I had yesterday. Relaxing in a super hip pub, The Oak (ironically since we lived in Oakland and are now in London), a block from our flat we sat amongst mismatched furnishings and over fancy mixed drinks started to philosophise about our state of being. Sounds a bit esoteric and it was. We talked about all our travel and where in the world we see ourselves settling next. Then the conversation turned to careers and we realised that despite our different business sectors (Arts/Publishing Not for Profit and Corporate Communications Consulting) we are both in creative industries and face the same leadership development challenges. We are GenXers bumping up against Baby Boomers and being over taken by GenYers.
We are in fact what I am now coining as a new phrase ReGenerationXers. The term emerged out of me stating that at this phase in the GenXer life we are nearly midlife and certainly midcareer. We are experts in our fields, have plateaued and are now looking at that vast, flat landscape in front of us and are saying to ourselves, What's Next? Unlike our parents we are extremely mobile, redefine ourselves continuously and are loyal to our own visions of ourselves much less than to a particular company or even sector. This kind of existence sounds liberating but in fact it is challenging to stay energised and avoid burnout.
Amy: Its like we need to regenerate - find ways to circle back into growth on the career lifecycle. [takes sip of expensive cocktail]
Stephen: ReGenerationX. [looking very pleased with himself]
Amy: That's it exactly! [jumping out of her seat] We're GenXers ReGenerating.
I am now officially coining the term RegenerationXers and am starting a website ReGenerationXers as it is who I am, who we are and I believe we're not alone. More to come.