The Baby Boomer Generation is a source for trends, research, comment and discussion of and by people born from 1946 - 1964.
Covering issues on the Boomer Generation including original content for Boomers, bulletin boards, user comments, Sixties and Seventies music, Baby Boomer culture, health and coverage of issues for "Aging Hipsters."
We hate to keep harping on this (no, we don't), but here's yet another sad story of workers over 40 having trouble getting hired--the 'grays' as Hollywood calls them. If you happen to be looking for a job, you old gray you, there are some meaty statistics supporting the idea that employers should value (and hire) older workers.
Last night's 60 Minutes episode about unemployment was a bitter pill for Boomers. We are the segment of the unemployed who are unemployed the longest--most likely to be laid off and least likely to be hired elsewhere. Some of those interviewed had lost everything--used up their savings, lost their homes. Watching an ex-mid-level executive picking through garbage for recyclables to sell was close to unbearable. You can see the segment here--watch at the risk of your own mental health. Me--I was looking for the nearest iceberg to float away on.
The House has passed the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act which, besides providing more volunteer opportunities for middle school and high school students, recognizes baby boomers' enormous potential for civic engagement. The bill expands existing services such as AmeriCorps , which will now have money reserved for enrolling adults over 55. It also creates new service corps focused on education, health care, energy and veterans.
Older adults (meaning us) will be encouraged to take both volunteer and paid non-profit positions. The New York Times quotes John Gomperts, president of the nonprofit research group Civic Ventures, "It represents an attitudinal shift in Congress -- an important recognition that national service isn't just for the young." Well, we know that!
The bill includes the following:
Expands Service Opportunities for Older Americans and Public-Private Partnerships
* Creates two new fellowships to engage social entrepreneurs, boomers and retirees, the private sector and Americans from all generations into service. Older Americans will be allowed to transfer their awards to a child, foster child or grandchild to help them pay for college.
1. ServeAmerica Fellowships: ServeAmerica Fellows are individuals who propose their own plans for serving in their communities to address national needs and are matched up with a service sponsor.
2. Silver Scholarships and Encore Fellowships: These programs offer Americans, age 55 or older, post-career service opportunities as well as entrance into new careers in the public or nonprofit sector. Silver Scholars will be able to earn up to $1,000 in exchange for 350 hours of service.
There are many more provisions to encourage boomers to become involved; you can read a more detailed summary of the bill on GovTrak.us
An effort is underway in federal agencies to recruit boomers. The Patent and Trademark Office and the EPA already target boomers for the thousand of positions they need to fill. According to this article in the Federal Times:
The Partnership for Public Service, a Washington public service advocacy group, launched an initiative earlier this year to encourage agencies to recruit more baby boomers.
"It's a big government, and there are a lot of corners that are doing innovative work," said Max Stier, president. The group is researching how recruiters can better attract older workers to government. Results of the research will be released this fall, and pilot programs will be launched next year to try out some new tricks. But agencies shouldn't wait for results before they increase their efforts, Stier said.
It's a long way from attacking the military-industrial complex, but we're older and wiser now. Besides, a job's a job.
As Boomers start to consider retiring or simply moving away so the kids can't find us, it's hard to know where to start. If like me, you're not a world traveller and tend to pick places by their names ( who wouldn't want to visit Left Hand, West Virginia or Hot Coffee, Mississippi?), you might need a little help. I came across this cool website, Find Your Spot. Take the quiz and get a list of places that fit your criteria. So, see you in San Diego...or Baltimore...or Boston...or Chicago...or Baton Rouge.
We occasionally pass on inquiries from writers who want to know what we 75 million or so think. Here's the latest:
I'm writing a book called The Leisure Economy which is to be published next year by John Wiley & Sons. The premise is that we are now a time-crunch economy because all of you hard-working boomers have been going at it all out at work, and driving your Gen Y kids around to stuff too. When you retire, you'll be part of a chunk of the population with time on your hands. and those that follow you in the labor market may well choose a path that leaves them less time crunched at work and at home too.
So here's what I'd love to hear from you...are you in good shape to retire, and what will you do when you get there? Or, do you think you'll have no choice but to keep working longer than you want because you really didn't sock that much away? I'd be interested on people's take on the book too...do you think boomers are a workaholic generation? I don't think the media gives it enough play, but I think there is going to be a lot of inequality amongst retired boomers..some will be sipping wine in Tuscany while others will be figuring out how to cook to save a few bucks after a lifetime of take-out.
You can email me at email@example.com, or maybe you can post your views here if you'd rather.
OK folks, here's a chance to put your money with your mouth is. If you're in the Portland, OR area, this may be for you:
Peace Corps Hosting Info Session on Sept. 12 for Baby Boomers
The Peace Corps is looking for a few good baby boomers. The Peace Corps believes that no single group has more to offer in terms of experience, maturity, and demonstrated ability. Because there's no upper age limit to serve, it's never too late. In fact, Volunteers who are well into their 80's have served and continue to serve. The Peace Corps is inviting Portland area residents to a free evening info session about Peace Corps service for the plus-50 Volunteer. A panel of returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served over the age of 50 will speak and answer audience queries.
When: Tuesday, Sept. 12 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Where: Portland Central Library (US Bank Meeting Room) 801 SW 10th Avenue
For more information, please contact Maria Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org
Another request from a journalist--this one for Money Magazine. Pretty specific requirements, so if you fit and want your 3 seconds in the limelight, please contact the writer directly.
I'm looking to chat with a baby boomer couple and
their retired parent(s). Here's the details:
Looking for a baby boomer couple in their 40s to 50s who are college-educated, photogenic, and have a solid retirement plan including a 401(k) but NO ACCESS to a significant pension plan. They should not have thought in great detail about life annuities or long-term care insurance. And...
Their RETIRED parents (a couple or widowed) should be financially secure, healthy (living independently) and MUST be drawing on a pension plan (prefer
The family candidates should live close enough that they could be photographed together. Thanks in advance, and chat with you shortly, as I'm looking to
interview candidates by Mon., July 25. Interested candidates please email me asap with the best number to reach you so that we may chat.
According to this release by Gary Pettis, Boomers who either must or want to continue working after so-called retirement age will need to be creative in carving out new roles. And it may not necessarily be Gen-X we're competing against, since GenX represents only 17% of the population. We're more likely to be competing against each other--with similar breadth and depth of experience.
Don't despair though--we've reinvented ourselves before and by gum, we can do it again. Says Pettis, "Soon, Baby Boomers will most likely discover that their competitors are fellow Baby Boomers and will be competing against them... In a society where many individuals share the same backgrounds, skills, abilities and trail of job descriptions, it is going to be the individuals that know how to position and market themselves and explain their unique set of skills and experiences to employers or customers that will gain the advantage."
Since we're all planning to work until we drop, an AARP study of "Best Employers of People Over 50" should be of interest to some.
According to an interview with Deborah Russell, the director of economic security for AARP, on the CBS Early Show
" 80 percent of baby boomers are planning to work past traditional retirement age. The primary reason appears to be because they haven't saved enough to retire comfortably."
"Luckily, there is a concern that when the baby boomers retire, there will be a shortage in the workforce. Therefore, more companies are recognizing the value of having experienced older workers and want to retain and recruit them."
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They can knock us all they want, but at least we know a little something about earning a living. According to this article, employers are frustrated with the young 20's, who expect the perks and salaries of those who have already put in their time.
Dr. Mel Levine, a pediatrics professor at the University of North Carolina Medical School and author of a book on the topic called "Ready or Not, Here Life Comes." notes that "many of the individuals we see are heavily committed to something we call 'fun.' " First came the hippies, then the slackers, and now our kids--the "Entitlement" generation, not looking forward to work being a lot like...work. Of course we boomers can still take the blame, since we're the parents of some these post-college kids. But at some point, isn't it time to stop blaming your parents?
Here's an interesting follow-up to our posting about ageism in the workplace. Employers think we're at the end of our usefulness at the same time they think their youngest hires are undisciplined, unmotivated, and inconsistent. We Boomers need our jobs as much as employers need us.
While other grouse about the Boomers' drain on Social Security, another trend is emerging. According to a report in theMatureMarket.com, people over 40 accounted for 86.6% of start-up businesses in the second quarter of 2005. The article is based on a survey done by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.The survey also refers to government data showing that those 55 to 64 and older represent one of the fastest growing groups of self-employed workers.
While we know many of these entrepreneurs are those who were downsized out of 'real' jobs or who saw retirement plans reduced to rubble, Boomer initiative and money, yet again, will be a boon to the economy in terms of job creation and decreased tax burden.
We're the ones who said never trust anyone over 30 and we're the ones who now may face age bias in the workplace. This article from the Society for Human Resources Management takes a look at what may be becoming the most challenging 'diversity isssue' in the workplace. And, if anyone pays attention, perhaps we'll stop being downsized for being gray-haired.
On May 5, Jonathan A. Segal, a partner with the Philadelphia-based law firm of Wolf, Block, Schorr and Solis-Cohen spoke to employees of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) about the challenges of preventing age discrimination.
Segal said he can't understand why any employer would discriminate against an applicant or employee on the basis of age, because "older workers have a wealth of knowledge and experience that should be invaluable to any organization." Discrimination in any form is wrong, he said, and to severely limit your access to a productive, knowledgeable and skilled sector of the workforce because of age bias is plain foolish--especially in a tight labor market. Segal pointed to labor market estimates that show U.S. employers will face a shortage ranging from 800,000 to 3.3 million workers by 2010.
Nevertheless, Segal said many employers are clearly guilty of what he called the 'Dracula complex.'
"They want newer and fresher blood, because they're under the mistaken impression that it can bring vitality to an organization," he said. "However, experience and research show us that vitality, productivity and creativity are not age-related at all."
Experienced, knowledgable, and out of work? Search for positions worthy of an elder sage at
As some of us hit the stage where we can withdraw money from retirement savings penalty-free, many states are trying to woo our retirement dollars. This article from Kansas City InfoZine describes just who is clamoring for us and why.
Well, we've reinvented everything else, now we're going to reinvent retirement. According to "The New Retirement Survey" from Merrill Lynch and Harris Interactive,
Boomers are not planing to take up shuffleboard and watch the tides roll in. Most Boomers envision an ideal retirement as one that cycles between work and leisure, with other working options right behind that in preferences:
the most common choice among boomers would be to repeatedly "cycle" between periods of work and leisure (42%), followed by part-time work (16%), start their own business (13%) and full-time work (6%). Only 17% hope to never work for pay again.
The survey reveals other interesting findings about us, such as our committment to the well-being of our kids, our parents, and our communities.
This 'Baby Bosses' thing seems to have really hit a nerve---it must be like finding yourself working for the babysitter. Here's another information request, this time from Canada:
"I am working on the baby bosses story and looking for an aginghipsters.com member who may be from Toronto and would be willing to share their experience of having been bumped or even be managed by a younger co-worker."
We've received a request from a journalist who's working on a story for a major women's magazine about seasoned professionals working for younger bosses.
"I'm looking for women who are in a position where they can speak openly about the emotional experience---about being a manager-type who finds herself working for a boss maybe half her age--and hope to hear back by next Wednesday -- to email@example.com."
Read this and then let me tell you a story about a certain Baby Boomer I know.
While Hollywood makes light of the torch passing from one generation to another, the hard reality is that there is some serious age discrimination going on out there an it's seething just under the surface.
This guy I know was laid off from a fairly lucrative job nearly three years ago. At the time he didn't think much of it. Business was down and in a small company, sales declines mean people lose jobs. But what he wasn't prepared for was the almost simultaneous start of open season on Baby Boomers.
He had an impeccable resume, worked on some high-profile projects and considered himself quite marketable. What he found was an endless string of black holes into which his resume had fallen.
Part of his strategy was to use the Internet job sites to track down and land the next job, but after sending hundreds of resumes without even a nibble, he decided to revamp his resume and see what happened.
He suspected that age might be a problem so he started by removing all the dates from his resume. He left it in chronological order, but didn't publicize the fact that he graduated college in 1977. Within a week he had an enquiry from the human resources manager of a California firm.
In the following week they spoke on the phone a couple of times, each time "passing" to the next step and finally to an online personality profile. Everything seemed ok and it sounded to him like he had a real rapport with the recruiter.
Then came the interview. They flew him out, put him up in a nice hotel and the next day he reported to the office for an interview. According to him, the look on her face said it all. As if she had never considered the applicant might be over 40.
That was the last time he heard from them. Phone calls weren't returned, e-mails were left unanswered and needless to say, he didn't get the job. He's still looking.
If you're one of those Boomers who's worried about how to beat taxes on your millions, there's a new retirement plan in effect for the self-employed. The Solo-DB plan allows you to contribute hefty amounts each year, in excess of $160,000. After you've finished reading about it, feel free to further improve your tax situation by making a charitable gift to us aging hipsters.
Acording to an article in the ContraCosta Times, Baby Boomers are finding more exotic retirement locales than their blue-haired elders. Central America is becoming the hot new place, thanks to relatively inexpensive beachfront property, stablized infrastructures, and cheap flights back to the United States. AARP Magazine recently had an article about Boomers retiring to Mexico, for similar reasons. If the choice is between the Early Bird Special in Miami or an oceanfront casa in Costa Rica, excuse me while I dash off to the passport office.