“There are no sacred cows. I used to think the most important part of any company was the employees. I was wrong. The most important people are the clients. You people mean nothing.”
Those are the words that author and former AIG data intelligence employee Jamil Hasan attributes to the company’s CEO, Peter Hancock, addressing AIG’s technology division in 2015. Whether verbatim or not, its message was indicative of the effects of financial disaster that Hasan recounts in his book Re-Generation X: How We Can Leverage Blockchain Technology to Save Ourselves and Rebuild America.
Hasan claims a financial crisis began in 2008 that had a direct impact on an entire generation (the author himself included), which has since had to scratch and claw to survive, find work again and re-establish an acceptable way of life.
“Over the past decade, we Gen X members have been disproportionately discriminated against, unfairly denied career opportunities, unreasonably laid off en masse, and unduly thrust onto the sidelines by our generational predecessors the Baby Boomers, then and still the corporate C-suite executives who have driven our former companies into the ground and been rewarded with multimillion-dollar severance packages.”
“But now, facing an additional economic crisis, due to the Coronavirus pandemic, our experience, skills and the knowledge we possess could be game changers in helping restore our entire Generation X to prominence.”
Hasan goes into tremendous detail and analysis to show the systematic problems that he believes caused the Gen X decline, from financial, societal, governmental and industrial standpoints. He offers definitions of generational differences and outlines all the legislation that impacted business decisions and his eventual exit from AIG. “We were the inadvertent victims,” he says, “of a system that enabled lesser talented generations to sideline our careers, freeze our pensions, and create wealth for themselves at our expense.”
SOLUTIONS AND HUMAN IMPACTS OF FINANCIAL CRISIS
The author does present a possible solution, suggesting a blockchain economy in which cryptocurrency replaces current monetary systems, potentially on a global basis. He suggests leveraging emerging technology innovations to rebuild what he calls the American Dream. The explanations are quite technical in their nature, better understood by readers with business or financial backgrounds.
The book does have its human side. Hasan describes his experience as an up-and-coming data analyst who spent many years building a career primarily at AIG before he was laid off in 2017. Near the book’s opening, he writes of a moving scene playing with his children in the front yard, only to fast forward to his next waking thoughts inside an ambulance on his way to the hospital having suffered a heart attack. It brings home the adverse impact of all the stress and uncertainties of today’s work world and economic climate — they can take a serious toll on our health, as well.
For much of the book, Hasan comes across as a man on a mission, whose writing and posture seem to carry the weight of an entire generation, internalized through his own experience.
Is it fair to generalize about a generation as a whole? Surely there are Gen Xers out there who won’t relate to the issues raised by Hasan. But in this book, that doesn’t seem to matter to the author, who is on a crusade on the behalf of all of those Gen Xers who will.
“It is our time to capture what we lost … We can do it by building new careers, new businesses, and accessing public careers that exploit blockchain and other emerging technologies.”
“You aren’t reading this book just for mere entertainment, potential employment, lifestyle comfort or survival. We all want one thing: to win in life!”
For more about Jamil Hasan, visit his BookTrib author profile page here.