The youngest baby boomers turn 50 next year. The oldest turn 70 in three years.
In the modern, wired, social world of 2013 are boomers still able to get things done? Can a boomer handle the new technology that doesn’t stop changing? Do boomers still have the mental resourcefulness and physical energy to handle tough challenges? Yes, yes and yes.
We all know 50 and 60-somethings who don’t “get” Twitter. There are those whose general tech skills are laughable. And many of us who are not “digital natives” do not absorb new software wrinkles instinctively like our kids do.
But we bring life experience to the table that has value. We addressed issues in decades past that are relevant to many modern problems. The negotiating skills we honed over the years in dealings with bosses, car salesmen and realtors have prepared us to obtain good outcomes from today’s negotiations. The healthy skepticism we have developed keeps us from jumping into the deep end of the “next big thing” without careful examination.
It is encouraging to me to see so many people over the age of 50 who still bring their A-games to their efforts on a daily basis. Some boomers have invested well and could hang it up tomorrow and move to the lake/beach/mountains but they choose to keep on working. That’s because they love what they do and because they continue to produce good results in their work.
I visited my dad last week in Alabama. He stopped working completely at age 60. He had worked in a pipe factory since he was a teenager. His was dirty, sweaty, dangerous work. During my childhood, he frequently showed me welding burns on his shins and forearms. When he walked away, he missed the people, but he did not miss the work.
My work is not dangerous. It can be mentally grueling and can require intense focus. But it’s work I can handle.
To my fellow baby boomers, I urge you to continue as long as you enjoy your work and are delivering positive results. Show respect and admiration for the Gen-Xers and Millennials you work with, but hang in and keep delivering!