I don’t know about you, but I’m living my role as part of the “sandwich generation” this week. I have the song “stuck in the middle with you” from Reservoir Dogs going round and round in a loop in my head. This song is perfect to my predicament too, as Reservoir Dogs was one of the defining movies of my (and many Generation X’s) history, and the “sandwich generation” is made up of mostly of us also. (Side note - see video link below if you’d like to remember this song and Reservoir Dogs’ moment in history - warning graphic violence ensues. If you’d like the song and no violence, then watch the 1970’s original from Stealers Wheels instead).
What is the sandwich generation?
The Sandwich Generation includes those of us who, usually about the time careers are taking off at work, also care for our aging parents while supporting our children (who, in record numbers, still live at home past their 20’s) - it’s the impact trifecta - more work, more family stress, less time. In Australia, they estimate this to be 2.6 million unpaid caregivers, and in the States this is one in every 8 people. That’s a lot of people sandwiched by life forces.
Sandwiched at work?
Right now Gen X leaders hold more than half (51%) of leadership roles globally are are leading the way in a time of great change with technology advancement, how jobs are automated and created, and how businesses are designed and transformed (say DDI). Though we are still sandwiched (there’s that defining word again) between the Boomers, who will stay in their jobs longer, and Millennials , who will be over half of the workforce very soon.
I’m not usually a fan of generation-defining, as I know we are all individuals. However, I got such a huge response from my last blog post, I hear many of you are feeling the squeeze in the middle too, as are HBR writers, so let’s keep talking.
Are Gen X leaders up to the challenge of leadership in these exponential times?
Will the ‘future of work’, with all it’s expected flexibility save us?
My way to deal with this stress has apparently been to quit my job and hum violent tunes (amongst other more useful ways like meditating and exercising) - how do you deal with stress and become more resilient?
Thanks again for joining me on this journey of finding resilience in our lives - both at work and at home. Since these overlap so much these days (as email and phones come with us everywhere now, even on holiday), there is no work-life balance anymore, it’s all one joined-up hopefully balanced life. I look forward to hearing how you make the balance work for you.