Friday, November 30, 2018

Hang in There

The workplace is still a gray place as baby boomers hang on to jobs and careers. How long can they hold out? That depends upon their ability to change and adapt.

Over 40% of baby boomers stayed with the same job for more than 20 years. And 18% stayed at least 39 years. And you thought the days of working for the same employer for your entire work life went out with your parents’ generation.

But now everything has changed. There is no loyalty to an employer. Millennials make up 35% of the workforce and they are mobile. Not only do they work from anywhere, they may well work for six or seven employers during their worklife. Five years might be considered a long stint with the same employer. They are less focused on making a product and more focused on being part of a team that solves problems. Bottom line: boomers are not in Kansas any more.

Many companies now consider age a disadvantage and an obstacle to rising talent. Ouch. What happened to the eminence gris thing? We were supposed to be the knowledge base that could be tapped when you needed that whole “experience thing.” Now days, not so much. It would appear that experience has lost its cache and maybe boomers were just kidding themselves when they thought that corporations really needed that understanding of solutions that used to work.

Boomers who are kicked to the curb have only a few choices if they want to keep working. Some are getting the training they lack to be competitive with younger workers, a reboot if you will. Many more boomers are going to work for themselves. About 16% of seniors are now self-employed. Not only they happier, they also say they have more job satisfaction than they did when the worked for “the man” in the corporate world.

As the title of this post says, our only option now is to hang in there. The German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer noted that “once you’re over the hill you begin to pick up speed.” Of course that could mean we are moving faster toward our own demise, but I’ll take the more positive spin on this one.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept and at BoomSpeak. He's written a mystery novel, Head Above Water which can be purchased on Amazon here. You can also visit his author page here.