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X Appeal

Secrets to managing Generation X.

This story appears in the May 1997 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

The Generation X stereotype is that those born between 1966 and 1978 are lazy, anti-authority slackers with an ultrashort attention span and absolutely no loyalty to their employers. Sound harsh? That verdict was loudly echoed in a recent survey of small-business owners. A stunning 65 percent said Gen X's work ethic is worse than that of prior generations, with 49 percent contending Gen X simply isn't willing to work hard, according to Cleveland-based small-business lender Key Corp.

Is this sweeping put-down accurate? Not according to the many management experts who insist Gen X workers are top quality and highly educated (more have attended college than any prior generation). More important, "These are the employees who are coming into the workplace," says Rebecca Haddock, a career counselor at the University of San Diego. Since these are today's--and tomorrow's--workers, you've got to learn how to motivate Gen X for best results.

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