No doubt about it—the workplace has posed some special challenges for Generation X.

The demographic numbers and the economy have been stacked against you. As Fortune noted in 1985, “These pioneers of the baby-bust generation are finding life on the career frontier harsher than ever . . . they’re snarled in a demographic traffic jam . . . stuck behind all those surplus graduates of the past decade.”1 The economy went into recession in 1991, and, just when some of you were gaining momentum, the bursting of the dot-com bubble wiped out $5 trillion in the market value of technology companies from March 2000 to October 2002.

And here you are. Fortyish, or soon to be. Some of you have made it to the top. Others have made it to where you ...

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