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Generation Flux

Remember the flux capacitor? It was the core component of Doctor Emmett Brown’s time traveling DeLorean in the Generation X hit Back to the Future? It’s what made time travel possible for Marty.

I thought about it yesterday when I read an article about a new generation, Generation Flux. 

Generation Flux

Members of Generation Flux who can be from any age and any industry, are the pioneers of the new frontier of business. The terrain on which Gen Flux works is highly chaotic. The environment (compared to the industrial age) is rough. “Terror for individuals,” even. Here, survivability is measured by one’s ability to navigate, predict or even live in the future — faster, quicker, better than his or her competitors.

Too bad we don’t all have a flux capacitor, huh?

Robert Safian wrote the fascinating piece for Fast Company. Several things in the article resonated with me. For example, I definitely feel the pressure to create products and programs faster than ever.

Back in the mid 1990s, I prepared a major plan for a community advisory panel (CAP) on environmental cleanup for Tinker Air Force Base. I spent about 10 months working on this plan, researching every element of it. I prepared numerous documents; managed the long internal review process; manged the community application and selection process and ultimately served as coordinator for the CAP and its meetings and activities. I was very proud of my work, and the plan ended up being replicated throughout the Air Force and Navy.

Today, I am essentially doing the same type of work for different organizations, but the lead time is much, much shorter. It’s 10 weeks for these type of public involvement activities instead of 10 months. 16 to 20 weeks would be a luxury, but I’ve learned, it’s one private companies and even government organizations can’t afford.

Here is an excerpt from the article that I found particularly inspiring for creative types:

“You do not have to be a jack-of-all-trades to flourish in the age of flux, but you do need to be open-minded. GE’s Comstock doesn’t have as eclectic a career path as Kumra–she has spent two decades within GE’s various divisions. But just because she can dress and act the part of a loyal corporate soldier doesn’t mean Comstock is not a GenFluxer. She’s got a sweet spot for creative types, especially those whose fresh thinking can spur the buttoned-up GE culture forward. She’s brought in folks like Benjamin Palmer, the groovy CEO of edgy ad firm Barbarian Group, to help inject new ideas and processes into GE’s marketing apparatus. “We’re creating digital challenge teams,” she explains. “We’re doing a lot more work with entrepreneurs. It’s part of our internal growth strategy. It creates tension. It makes people’s jobs frustrating. But it’s also energizing.”

Finally, if you embrace instability and enjoy recalibrating careers, you probably represent Generation Flux. And, you’re probably a huge asset to your organization, even if they haven’t figured it out yet.

Click here to read about the four-year career and click here to read the article on Generation Flux.


Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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  1. jenx67

    I always learn something about you when you comment. I hate high divorce rates.

  2. jenx67

    Now, we can claim the same generation, too.

  3. Rob

    It seems difficult to embrace instability for a generation (X) that has lived through the end of the cold war, the de-industrialization of America and high divorce rates. But I suppose if we don’t change with the times, the times will change without us. Rob

  4. Rose Byrd

    Jen, WOW!  I had not known this about Comstock and GE!  Thank you for the Heads Up.  I am currenty exploring tentative feelers with foregin auto manufacturers to influence one or more of their suppliers to establish facilities here in a part of the country still experiencing twice the national average in unemployment, yet turning out many 2 and 4 year technically certified young adults from local educational institutions.  The cost of living remains quite low.  Wish me luck as I ‘flux”


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