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A Film Guide to Understanding Your GenX Coworkers

hello world!
Charlotte Merritt
| August 19, 2023
hello world!

Are you a younger millennial or Gen Z employee surrounded by GenX coworkers? Do you ever look at them and think….”How did they get this way??” Here’s a little guide that might help you answer that question.

1. Your coworker has trust issues:

The Neverending Story / Dark Crystal:

These were supposed to be kids’ movies. In 1982 and 1984, our parents didn’t have the internet to do research before taking us to the cinema. We were unprepared for the giant death turkeys in Dark Crystal or the Swamp of Sadness in The Neverending Story. We sat in our theater seats to see a fun Jim Henson film or a fantasy with a fluffy white sky dog. HAH! I am convinced these movies are why so many GenXers are in therapy today.

Chamberlain, voiced by Frank Oz in The Dark Crystal, will ruin your favorite Muppets for you. Nightmare fuel for young GenX children.

2. Your coworker regularly threatens violence against office tech:

Office Space:

You will understand this film if you have ever worked in an office/corporate environment. From work apathy to the “someone has a case of the Mondays” coworker to that printer that jams when you breathe wrong. This should be required watching for business students. 

Ajay Naidu, Ron Livingston, and David Herman show a printer who’s boss.

3. Your coworker has issues with authority:

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off:

Principal Ronney was, for some of us, our first exposure to a vindictive micromanager. We learned to hate that feeling at a young age. Of course, as we have aged, many of us have come to really relate to Cameron. Pessimism is second nature for some of us.

Alan Ruck, Mia Sara, and Matthew Broderick view art in Chicago’s art museum.


Teenagers in 1980’s small-town USA deal with laws written by overprotective parents. Featuring a great soundtrack, this is a good starter film for those going down a “degrees of Kevin Bacon” rabbit hole.

Kevin Bacon teaches Chris Penn to dance.

4. Your coworker gets inventive when only provided used/outdated tech:


Young Ethan Hawke and young River Phoenix create a spaceship out of finds from their backyards. Once you have seen that, you’ll figure out how to make the scraps you’re given work. (Yes, IT…I’m looking at you. Why has my laptop been re-imaged 20 times and belonged to 4 employees??) As a fun bonus, Frank Welker is in this too!

Ethan Hawk, River Phoenix, and Jason Presson inside of their backyard creation

5. Your coworker expects everyone to bring a skill to the table in group work:

The Goonies:

Seven kids go on a treasure-hunting adventure. Each one brings their own set of skills/passions to the adventure. Compassion, music, language, invention, and strength. Everyone contributes, and “Goonies never say die!”

Kerri Green, Josh Brolin, Corey Feldman, Sean Astin, Ke Huy Quan , Corey Feldman, Jeff Cohen, and Martha Plimpton hear a disturbance on the floor above them at an abandoned summer restaurant.

Your coworker quotes movies…sometimes in different voices/accents:

The Usual Suspects: “The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”

Monty Python & the Holy Grail: “There was much rejoicing…..yay…”

The Lost Boys: “Where are you from, Krypton?!”

The Breakfast Club: “We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it; that’s all.”

Clerks: “This job would be great if it wasn’t for the f&^#*ing customers.”

Mall Rats: “I Can’t Express Myself Monosyllabically Enough For You To Understand.”

The Princess Bride: “As you wish.”

This list is by no means complete and is only my opinion as a young GenXer/Xenial.

Are you GenX? What is a movie to help better understand YOU as a coworker?

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Erika Aundawyn
10 months ago

Love that you put in The Never Ending Story, such a classic. Really puts you through the emotions. Great read! Always quote movies!

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