During Jay McChord’s 10 years in the financial services industry, he noticed that the older executives he worked with had trouble managing and motivating the demographic group he belonged to—Generation X. He recognized that generations not only differ in age, they bring to the workplace a distinct approach to doing their jobs. Jay saw an opportunity to serve as a generational bridge-builder.
When Jay’s employer experienced troubled times and he was laid off, he made the decision to start a business focused on breaking down generational barriers and educating different age groups on each other’s different styles and traits. Jay’s Lexington, KY business, Workplace Buzz, was born in the fall of 2000.
Today, Jay is on a mission to see more Gen Xers benefit from SCORE mentoring. He says, “People in my age group aren’t learning what we need to know in our formal education. Generation Xers need and want to be mentored, but he have a lot of pride and don’t always ask for help. We look for mentors who will teach and share experiences.”
Jay explains that while Generation Xers appear to have a skeptical outlook on work and their loyalty centers around individuals rather than organization and companies, they possess entrepreneurial qualities. Gen Xers are flexible, action-oriented, independent, self-directed, technically competent and comfortable with the constantly changing nature of work today. Jay thinks that with long-term guidance and support from SCORE mentors, more Generation Xers can survive and thrive as small business owners.
Excited by the vision of becoming “the spokesperson for Generation X,” Jay went to SCORE for some marketing advice. He met SCORE Mentor Mark Halleck, a former advertising agency business owner. Part instructor, part advocate—Mark turned out to be an ideal coach for Jay. Meeting with Mark each week, Jay has experienced first-hand how two generations can work effectively together.
Jay continues to meet with Mark each week, and Workplace Buzz continues to grow. Jay tours the country speaking to business people on the mindset of Generation Xers and how understanding the viewpoints, desires and motivations of this age group can affect their bottom line. Last December, at the SCORE District Directors Conference in San Diego, CA, Jay spoke to district directors (DDs) on how to attract and form long-term mentoring relationships with Gen X clients.
“The future of small business relies on Gen X entrepreneurs taking up the torch passed on from a retiring generation of small business owners. Older people want to leave a legacy beyond their bank account and building. SCORE allows these folks to leave a legacy by investing in people,” says Jay.