Are you part of Generation X?
If you’re a part of this “middle child generation,” sandwiched between the Boomers and the Millennials, you probably grew up watching MTV (when it actually played music videos!), were a part of a two-income household, and you saw the climb of the divorce rate to 50%.
You’re also likely one of the 65.8 million employed Gen Xers in the US.
Generation X includes a wide variety of individuals: parents and new grandparents. People nearing retirement and those who need to start saving for it.
The members of Generation X are generally resourceful, determined, and flexible. We understand the importance of work and take it seriously. But, we’re also seeking better work-life balance so we’re often willing to think outside the box when it comes to the work we do.
Generation X may be used to the traditional workforce, but Gen Xers are also very prepared for a freelance writing career.
11 Reasons Gen Xers are perfect for a freelance writing career
- We are used to working for other people. Many of us have held traditional jobs. We have had bosses; some of us have been bosses. Though you’re self-employed as a freelance writer, you still work for others. Gen X knows how to be respectful in the workplace and work for other people.
- We know how to search for jobs. Going through a job search is a skill of its own. Though some Gen Xers have been at their place of employment for decades, most of us had to go through a formal job search and interview process at least once (and probably several times) in our adult lives. As a freelancer, you’re regularly seeking out work. We’re not averse to searching job boards, navigating sites like Contena, using our networks, and going through a hiring process.
- We know what it’s like to work 40 hours a week (or more). Now, we may not love the 40+ hour work week, but we’ve been there. We might still be there. But the point is, we are a generation who knows what it’s like to work hard. Though many of us would like more in terms of our work (which may actually mean ideally fewer hours), we don’t shy away from long hours spent to earn our paychecks.
- We’re not scared of the Internet and social media, and we also know its place. Though the Millennials can’t remember a time without social media and the Internet, we do. Though many of us were exposed to the Internet later in life, this also gives us a bit of an edge. We remember phone books, snail mail, microfilm, the Dewey decimal system, and those “old-fashioned ways” of gathering information and communicating. We have the best of both worlds where we can use what the Internet and social media have to offer, but we can also dig into our network and talk with real people to get the information we need. The ability to think beyond (or before) the Internet is important for freelancers.
- We were raised by parents who worked. While there certainly are Gen Xers who had stay-at-home parents, we are the “latchkey kid” generation. We saw our parents work, and learned early on that money helps support the life we live. If you want money, you work. For many of us, having a job is a given. We’ve seen many people in the traditional workforce and we understand and embody the value of hard work, which is critical for successful freelancers.
- But, we also see the non-traditional work that people are doing and are inspired. Because the workforce is evolving, we see the potential to do other things. Many Gen Xers see the benefits of ditching the 9-5 and being a bit more of our own boss. But, we’re still responsible; many of us may be hesitant to jump ship without a net. Freelance writing allows you to start slow, on the side, and when you’re ready, make the shift to full-time freelancing.
- We have a career and possibly and educational background to inform our writing. While the millennials may be crushing it and paving their own way, many of us have college educations and decades of work experience (as opposed to life experience and a few years of work experience). With the years we’ve spent in the workforce and higher education, we have legit knowledge and experiences; some of us have very been in very specialized fields and this can set us up to have an edge when it comes to freelance writing.
- We’re okay with feedback. I’m not trying to bash non-Gen Xers with this one, but we are a generation of people who have been told what needs to change, what we need to work on, and participation trophies weren’t really a thing for us. We’re okay hearing what we need to work on and we know that makes us better. Editors love this.
- We have families. Many of us are parents, and that defines who we are and changes how we view our work. As parents, we may be looking to spend more time with our kids, and as our kids get older, we may be thinking about what our work will look like once we’re empty nesters. Freelance writing is a career that can evolve and change; it grows based on how much time and energy we put into it, and for parents, that’s something that more traditional work doesn’t necessarily allow.
- We’re thinking about retirement. For some Gen Xers, retirement is closer than others, but for all of us, it’s coming. Sometimes full retirement is a scary prospect, either because of financial needs or because we like the mental stimulation of work. Freelancing gives the option to continue to work, make some income, and prepare for stepping out of full-time work.
- We’re interested in paving our own way. We’ve seen the world change: culturally, economically, politically, and mostly it’s been for the better. We’ve also experienced some tough times in our lives and with the world. We’ve seen how employment and the workplace have evolved and many of us have experienced major job changes like being laid off. Though we’re used to the traditional workplace, we’re also intrigued and inspired by the people who create work that’s unlike what others have done.
Generation X is full of individuals who are intelligent, driven, and determined to create a good life for their families.
Freelance writing is a career that may not have been an option earlier on, but with the Internet, the boom of companies looking to market their services and products, and the fact that just about every industry needs content for something, freelance writing is a VERY viable option for Gen Xers.