Royal Wedding Plans Reflect Gen X Values

The long awaited engagement of Kate Middleton to Prince William has finally been announced.  The press has been waiting 30 years to cover another royal wedding.  Daily updates on what is happening with the newly engaged couple are the buzz one traditional and social media.

Middleton and Prince William have been dating on and off for the last 8 years so it is not completely unexpected.  Similarities are already being drawn between their relationship and that of Prince Charles and Lady Diana.  Specifically, Kate is a commoner and may therefore not be as experienced as Prince William in what it means to be a royal.   The expectations and responsibilities associated with this royal position exceed the ability of many people. 

According to Prince William, the long engagement allowed both of them to ponder what they were getting into. That’s not unlike many other couples in Generation X who have postponed matrimony. It’s also not unlike what many employers are discovering about managing Generation X. 
While Baby Boomers couldn’t wait to get a title, Generation X and Generation Y are often reluctant to climb the career ladder at the expense of personal and family life.  In addition the allure of the title often exceeds the ability of the manager to manage the pressures and fulfill the expectations.  

For Middleton, it will be a very different thing to be a princess with the very real possibility of becoming the queen than the girlfriend of a prince. For many managers promoted prematurely or reluctantly, the kiss of the prince often ends up turning them into frogs.

Many employers see the promotion as the reward for a job well done.  The recession has caused many organizations to question that rationale.  Young generations are also questioning the lure and promise of a management position.  For them, it’s just not worth the hassle. But to grow the business and to replace retiring baby boomers, employers need skilled managers.  Not only is the skill gap widening but many of the qualified successors are reluctant to step up and into management roles. 

This double whammy poses an imminent threat and troubling problem for business going forward. 


Ira S Wolfe