I’LL NEVER RETIRE: CONFESSIONS OF A BOOMER


Before I start, I’m giving the recipe contest another week. Surely you can do better than sprinkling a little cinnamon on an apple, even if you bought heirloom apples from a certified farmer’s market. You people have stoves don’t you.

For the past few decades I have been listening to socioeconomic gripes of generations X and Y. They have been placing the blame squarely on the well housed and well-pension-planned Baby Boomers – those that are quickly approaching retirement age. The boomers probably deserve it because of their, “It’s all about me!” attitude. The attitude is probably the truth, as boomers fully intend to live forever.

Boomers are responsible for:

  • Irresponsible spending and credit card debt
  • Staying on-the-job past conventional retirement age
  • Abolishing the conventional retirement age and staying on the job forever
  • Boring the preceding generations with pithy comments about family such as, “Behind every cranky Gramps there are a whole slough of knuckleheads,” and, “The more I drink, the drunker these grandkids get!”

Two things stand out. Boomers are going to live forever as soon as they learn how to do high impact aerobics on their titanium knees and hips, and they will never retire.

Paige Waehner, in her article  “Avoiding Booeritis (2011 http://exercise.about.com/b/2011/07/27/avoiding-boomeritis.htm?nl=1 ) cites statistics that knee surgeries increased  by a factor of 8 between 1979 and 2002. She offers some alternative fitness solutions as a way to exercise without ending up on a striker bed.

The main gripe of Generations X and Y is that there is very little movement on the part of the boomers to leave the workplace. These subsequent generations will never get a chance to pay into those pensions because the boomers aren’t leaving. Actually they probably can’t leave as they’re waiting for that big pay-off from lotteries.

The strange thing is, and this must be really disheartening to X and Y, is that tax dollars are being allocated to assure the boomers can stay if they want to (or have to due to high living in the 70s, 80s, 90s and the millennium. They lived beyond their means and now need to, as Obama would say, “Eat their peas.”

One of the strategies to assure boomers can stay active on the labour market is inviting older workers to participate in programs designed for them. That’s because it really is all about them.

A question came up on the Job Developer’s Resource Network – a Linked In group where I am a member. The question concerned how to make older workers attractive to employers. There were some answers that concerned working on the integrity of the individual agencies.  This is important, but not as important as working with the client. Here’s what I said – from the voice of experience:

“As an older worker myself (62 this summer) I try to find ways to make my (cohorts?) inexpendable and must hires. This means presenting first class resumes, and coaching the client to really highlight their strengths in life and in interviews. This includes not only work ethic stuff, but also their sense of history of change in the workplace and how they managed (or not) to keep up with the changes. Thirty years ago, when I was a world famous archaeologist, for example, my crew and I went out for a beer at lunch. This never happens nowadays – thank god. I don’t think my pocketbook could take it. Teaching and coaching the history of work, sometimes, gives older workers a sense of perspective on how to behave at work.

Another trick I use is sponsoring clients to contacts I have in the field. Practice interviews and volunteer options (with an employment goal in mind) can give older workers expanded opportunities.

Finally, through coaching and leading by example, it is possible to get your client to become comfortable with their age. Once they become comfortable, networking becomes an exercise where the older worker can present themselves as authorities.”

Gens X and Y won’t stand a chance

I keep referring to boomers as them. It’s time for me to include myself because:

  • I’m old enough
  • I’m in sufficient physical shape to teach fitness to boomers, Gen X and Gen Y as well as millennials
  • I’ll never retire
  • It’s all about me.

Mike Broderick is an Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he finds employment for people with physical disabilities. Part of this work means affiliation with the Vancouver Board of Trade where he is a member of the Ambassador Club, the Burnaby Board of Trade where he is a member of the Labour Task Force, the Tri Cities Chamber of Commerce where he is an active member of the 10X10 initiative, and the Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce. He does some work as a field Archaeologist and is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to alive magazine in Port Coquitlam. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at michaelb@neilsquire.ca. or at 604-464-4195.  If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates When he is not doing all this he lives in Port Coquitlam with his partner Cecelia.

 

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One Response to “I’LL NEVER RETIRE: CONFESSIONS OF A BOOMER”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Funny, MIke. I’m a first tier boomer, born in early ’46. I offcially retired in 2001 at 55 to spend time with family. Now I’m working three part time jobs to stay afloat. But I agree. I’m going to live forever and do it enthusiastically and energetically.

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