Don’t sit on sidelines, enjoy senior status

Published 6:00 am Wednesday, December 6, 2023

By Bonnie Brown

For those Baby Boomers or the Silent/Traditionalists who are reading this article, have you considered going back to work after having retired?  I think about it occasionally, but don’t have any plans to do so.  I wonder if I could still function effectively in a dynamic work environment.  I think I could, at least until it was nap time.

A recent article in LinkedIn addressed the issues—challenges and solutions—of managing a multigenerational work force.

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One issue is the different priorities of each generation.  For instance, the Silent/Traditionalists Generation (born 1925-1945) are loyal workers who respect authority and put duty before personal interests.  Baby Boomers, those born between 1946 and 1964 strive for job security.  Millennials, born 1981-1996, are competitive, confident with technology, and cautious about their personal data.  Gen Xers were born between 1965-1980.  They prioritize work-life balance.  They tend to be more self-reliant since they were more independent at a younger age.  Think “latch key” kids.  You know, the kids who came home from school to an empty house because now both parents were employed outside the home.

The LinkedIn article went on to describe the communication styles of each generation with the Baby Boomers preferring face-to-face interactions and the Millennials and Gen Xers favoring digital communications like email or texting.

So right here, I may have crossed over from a Baby Boomer to a Millennial or Gen Xer since I find it more efficient to communicate digitally.  Perhaps earlier in my career, I might have been more inclined to communicate with my coworkers face to face and perhaps try to intimidate them a bit. Who me? Yes, me. I am short in stature, but my piercing eyes conveyed what my physical height could not.

The article went on to describe the differences among the generations as such. Gen Xers seek job stability and professional development opportunities. Millennials desire job satisfaction and flexible working hours, while Baby Boomers desire purpose and loyalty from their employers. Describes me perfectly.

We all likely recognize that once you retire, your replacement’s salary will exceed yours after the however-many-years of service you gave to the company.  Their compensation will include not only a nice bump in pay compared to your salary, but they will be wooed with other incentives.  Think new computer, nicer office furnishings and accessories, and greater flexibility. Oh, and likely consideration for more time off. Don’t be jealous—you are now free to roam!

We older Baby Boomers may now feel that we are playing on the sidelines of life. We were formidable players during our prime. We were the doers, the productive, and we were in charge. Now, we watch. Is that such a bad thing? No. As long as you can maintain a comfortable existence with essentials—food, clothing, shelter, health care—without being employed.

Now, we Baby Boomers have time to follow other pleasures. We have the time (and hopefully means) to travel. We have control over how we spend our day. We can enjoy leisure activities, gardening, our pets, reading, playing cards, along with other pursuits.  The world is our oyster.

It’s up to us to fashion what we want to be doing and how to accomplish that. So, celebrate your senior status! Do what you enjoy. You’re only on the sidelines if you choose to be!