Tag Archives: Baby Boomers

Staying Relevant

I just celebrated my birthday last week, so when I read Penelope Trunk’s article on  How to Remain Relevant When You’re Over 40  it hit me square between the eyes  – am I staying relevant???  

UGH!  If you have children, you’re much more exposed to the “latest and greatest” trends in technology, but have you thought about how that translates to your professional life?  Long gone are the days of finding one job and working there for the rest of your life. For survival’s sake, it’s incumbent upon to strive for relevancy every day. 

Trunk offered up some great tips on how to stay in the know and on top of your game.  Read the article and let me know what you think.

I’m certianly taking all of this to heart.


Has The Recession Cancelled Gen Y Workplace Concerns?


The whole Generation Y concept of work- where flexibility, work life balance and a socially responsible employer is demanded by jobseekers – is set to change. That’s according to Steve Carter, Managing Director of accountancy and finance recruitment specialist Nigel Lynn.

“I’m not suggesting that we shouldn’t have flexibility in the workplace”, says Carter, far from it, but according to recent research from the London Business School, while Generation X often requires flexibility for childcare, Generation Y demands it for lifestyle reasons. And according to a report in The Observer back in May, Generation Y jobseekers are “ready to resign if their jobs are not fulfilling and fun, with decent holidays and the opportunity to take long stretches off for charity work or travel.”

“In this market, that attitude isn’t going to go down terribly well with potential employers – many of whom may well be boomers and Generation X themselves and who had to really buckle down during the last major recession. And it’s going to be those people who can demonstrate that they can add real value to a business that will succeed. That means getting back to the Generation X ethos of hard work, long hours and potentially less time off. There will also need to be an acceptance that Generation X managers and leaders who have worked through a major downturn in the past will have valuable lessons to pass on. And above all, job seekers will need to demonstrate an attitude which reflects what they can do for their employer – not what their employer can do for them!”

Generation Y is a group that has never witnessed recession or economic hardship. They have grown up in a booming economy with rising house prices and a raging war for talent and so it is not surprising that they tend to talk about what they want from work. They may have some hard lessons to learn in the months to come.

What are your thoughts? Is Gen Y now going to become Gen X v2.0?

Video: Revenge of the Gen Y (Gen We) – It is Coming

This is an excellently produced video about Gen Y (Gen We) and what they want. If you have any interest in understanding Gen Y (Gen We) you must watch this video. I have to say I was incredibly surprised at how compelling it is. Now Go Watch it! =)

4 Things You Might Not Know About Generation Y

Sure, Gen Y is voting for Obama, but this doesn’t mean they are trailblazers. In fact, they are, for the most part, living out the values their parents gave to them. Not only that, but Generation Y is more comfortable being part of the crowd — identifying themselves by their group of friends, their teams at work, and the consumer brands they love most. Here are some traits of Gen Y that might make you think twice about the preconceived notions you have about those young upstarts in the workplace:

Gen Y is fundamentally conservative.

This is not a rebellious generation. This is a group that moves back home with their parents after college, something you could never think of doing if you were going to, say, spend a decade using drugs and hanging out at Woodstock. The helicopter parent phenomenon is also a sign of a generation that is not rebelling. They let their parents help choose their college and their clothes. And when it’s time to get a job, they let their parents help negotiate their salary.

One of the things that makes young people look like big risk-takers is their propensity to job-hop. People in their 20s change jobs every 18 months. But the impetus for their constant job-hopping is learning: Their parents drilled into their kids that learning is the most important thing: “Get off the sofa! Stop watching TV! Do something productive with yourself!” And this is the generation that is steeped in SAT tutors, Spanish tutors, and private soccer coaching. So they expect to be learning every step of the way for their whole life. When Gen Y sees they are no longer learning a lot at work, they leave. Because this is what their parents told them: Get off your butt and learn something!

Gen Y is full of great team players.

This generation grew up on soccer teams, where everyone is a winner and no one is a star. School taught kids on the playground that you can’t say you can’t play, and kids translated this into a worldview where everyone plays together. They went to prom in teams and later they applied for jobs and quit their jobs in teams.

Today’s executive teams understand that work environments that use teams well outperform those that don’t; however, older generations are leaders and loners, not teammates. Gen Y is appalled by a lack of team structure at work, and often they feel like they are not accomplishing anything until they are working as part of a team. Gen Y is so team-oriented that the place they really need help is in learning how to be leaders — something that comes so naturally to Boomers that they never even expect to teach it in such a fundamental way as Gen Y needs.

Gen Y women have more power than men.

For the first time in history, women in their twenties are out-earning men. This is true in every major city in the U.S., and the disparity persists until women have children, and then men earn more. Other generations might leap to cry sexism, but this generation understands that women have power to make their own decisions, and women are deciding on their own to downshift their career when they have kids, which means they are making an intentional reduction in earning power. Women in Gen Y feel empowered to get what they want in life, and they feel secure enough at the office to know that downshifting is fine.

Gen Y is more productive than everyone else.

While baby boomers are using their in-boxes as a to-do list, Gen Y is largely bought into the idea of an empty inbox. And while the idea of a constantly empty inbox might not seem defining to some, it is: For one thing, it means that Gen Y has more control over their priorities than everyone else because they are not choosing what to do by what is coming into their inbox, but rather, what their goals for the day are.

The other thing that an empty inbox signifies is Gen Y’s ability to slice and dice productivity software to get where they want to go. The key to an empty inbox is turning your email into a searchable database rather than a file system, which requires a good set of email tools. Gen Y chooses their own productivity tools, rather than waiting for the IT department to download them onto the company laptop. Gen Y’s productivity is so much higher than everyone else’s that you can assume that someone who is texting and watching a movie and listening to their iPod is still getting more done than you are.

– Penelope Trunk

Penelope Trunk is a Boston Globe career columnist.

The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation is Shaking Up the Workplace

In a new book by Wall Street Journal contributor Ron Alsop, the author tackles the challenges of employing “Trophy Kids” in the workplace. “Trophy Kids” are of course Millennials, those youngin’s born from 1980 to 2000.

The Journal has a great write-up of the book. My favorite quote:

Although members of other generations were considered somewhat spoiled in their youth, millennials feel an unusually strong sense of entitlement. Older adults criticize the high-maintenance rookies for demanding too much too soon. “They want to be CEO tomorrow,” is a common refrain from corporate recruiters.

More than 85% of hiring managers and human-resource executives said they feel that millennials have a stronger sense of entitlement than older workers, according to a survey by CareerBuilder.com. The generation’s greatest expectations: higher pay (74% of respondents); flexible work schedules (61%); a promotion within a year (56%); and more vacation or personal time (50%).

Clearly Millennials are a group that expect a lot from their career on day one. And who can blame them? Millennials were surrounded by motivation posters in school hallways every day with messages like “Believe and you will achieve” and “Everyone has special talent”.

Understanding this is vital to your marketing efforts. Make it clear in your message that an education at your university will give them an advantage in their career and will speed up achievements like raises, promotions and vacation time.

There is an even more important lesson here: ensure that your marketing message makes the Millennial feel special, talented and gifted. Work with the sense of entitlement, not against it. Encourage it. Play into the way the Millennial already considers themselves unique, and your message will resonate more.

Flattery, it seems, will get you everywhere. After all, you just need to get them to enroll, you don’t have to deal with them once they matriculate. That’s when student services takes over.

Original Source: Justin Emond

What do Workers Believe they will be doing at the Age of 67?

When do Americans plan to retire?

Almost half (48%) of Americas workers plan to work past the age of 67.

  • Younger generations are more often planning to retire at age 67 than their older counterparts. Fifty-eight percent of workers age 30-39 believe they will be retired at 67 compared to only 45 percent of those aged 60 and over.
  • Nearly one in three Americans plans to work at least part-time past the age of 67.

Why are Americans working later in life?

Four out of the five reasons cited for continuing to work past age 67 are not financial.

  • The number one reason (83%) people dont plan to retire at age 67 is to stay mentally engaged.
  • Among those with total net assets of less than $100,000, 81 percent said they will continue to work to earn enough money to live well, virtually the same percentage that want to keep working to stay mentally engaged.
  • Among those with total net assets of between $100,000 and $500,000, 72 percent will continue to work because they love their careers and 66 percent said they were not ready to end their careers.

What are the factors influencing retirement?

Americans have less confidence in factors influencing their retirement over which they have less control.

  • Americans have lower confidence in the economy than any other factor measured by the Unretirement Index.
  • The younger generations have little confidence that government benefit programs like Social Security and Medicare will be available when they retire. Sixty three percent of workers age 30-39 dont believe that Social Security will be available and also cite employer healthcare benefits as a reason to work past age 67.
  • American workers are much more likely to cut back on spending and reduce debt to improve their retirement prospects rather than seek to increase their income or change their investment mix. Eighty-two percent would reduce spending while only 58 percent would alter their investments.
  • Only 46 percent of all workers are very confident that they will have enough money to take care of basic living expenses when they reach traditional retirement age, and only 28 percent are very confident they will be able to take care of medical expenses.
  • Despite believing federal drug benefits will not exist in coming years, only 59 percent of those surveyed cited healthcare costs as a reason they plan to continue working.

Four Generations and The Baggage they Carry

Giselle Kovary, a consultant at n-gen People Performance Inc., specializes in helping companies “get, keep, and grow” four generations of workers simultaneously.

In her well-attended session at the recent SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) Annual Conference and Exhibition in Chicago, she defined the four generations as:

Traditionalists: Born 1922-1945 (63-86 years old)
Their goal is to build a legacy.

Baby Boomers: Born 1946-1964 (44-62 years old)
Their goal is to put their stamp on things.

Gen Xers: Born 1965-1980 (28-43 years old)
Their goal is to maintain independence.

Gen Ys: Born 1981-2000 (8-27 years old)
Their goal is to find work and create a life that has meaning.

Relationship with the Organization and Authority

Traditionalists, Kovary says, were hard-working, willing to sacrifice, and above all, loyal to the organization.

Boomers came along with big changes they wanted to bring to the workplace, but there were the Traditionalists running things, so Boomers had to be content with changing from within.

But the Boomers saw how the organization let the Traditionalists down. “That’s not going to happen to me,” they say, and so their loyalty tends to be more toward the team.

Gen X’s loyalties are for the boss, because their boss is the gatekeeper for learning new skills. Xers are in the “sweet spot,” says Kovary. They’ve been living under the Traditionalists and Boomers for 20 years. What they want to say is, “Will you please just get out of the way?” They also have up to 20 years’ experience and, as the Traditionalists and Boomers retire, workforce pressures mean Xers can negotiate and demand.

Meanwhile, Gen Y loyalties are to their colleagues. They think of all employees as peers. They may say to their manager, “Why don’t you do it?” They are likely to ignore the corporate food chain, and want to talk directly to the VP.

Gen Ys’ parents wanted them to have a voice in family matters; be part of family decisions; and now those young people bring those expectations to the workplace. Ys want their opinions solicited, listened to, and acted upon. (Boomers often tell her, Kovary says, “Well, yes, that’s how I raised my kids, but that’s not who I want to work with me.”)

Ys also move and travel in packs. And even when not together, they are in constant communication.

Ys expect all their co-worker friends to receive equal treatment. They are used to playing soccer and everyone gets a trophy. And since they cannot fail, Ys expect second chances. “I failed to meet my sales target? I want a do-over.” And if they are top ranked, they will lobby in favor of their lower-ranked teammates.

Here Come the Helicopter Parents

And then, says Kovary, don’t be surprised if Ys’ “helicopter parents” want to be involved in the application/interview process. (A quick show of hands of the hundreds of HR managers in attendance showed that most have gotten calls from parents.)

Ys can do outstanding work, says Kovary, but if they aren’t fulfilled, they’ll just leave. “Time to go; no biggie.” They have many options—or at least they believe they do.

Competency Revolution

Beware of an important change that is occurring with competency, says Kovary. For older generations, competency was held by the more experienced people, but now, in many fields, competency—especially technical competency—is with the least experienced, the Ys.

Work Styles of the Generations

Traditionalists worked in a linear fashion, following the rules, says Kovary. Boomers went along with the rules and the structure: “These are the 10 steps that we need to take.” Xers challenge the steps. They suggest, “How about steps 3 through 7 and then 9?” Ys say, “Let’s make it faster and better through technology.” They want to upgrade every 3 months to 6 months, just as they do with their personal technology.