Help That Is Not That Helpful

Good Morning Boomers!

Today’s post is in response to an article written by a Boomer and posted on a Boomer website.  While I believe the authors intent was to highlight that Boomers make great employees and are a good value for employers, I must take issue with some of her descriptors that I believe help perpetuate some negative stereotypes.

Of course not every Boomer fits anyone’s generational description completely, but the Boomers I know certainly do not share several of the attributes that she describes, especially Boomers who are not even close to reaching retirement age.  And just to be clear, she does include Boomers who are in their mid 40’s in her broad brush strokes.

She said that Boomers are seeking “down-shift” positions by choice.  Not the Boomers I know.  The Boomers I know aggressively compete for positions that are equal to the ones they lost.  Unfortunately, they are finding it very difficult to get back into similar roles for a variety of reasons.  So out of necessity, they begin looking at down-shift positions. 

The Boomers I know are having a hard time convincing employers that they would be happy to have that down-shift position at less pay. Happy because they have been unemployed for a long, long time, happy because they like working better than sitting at home, and happy because they need the income. But they are often told they are “over qualified” because the employer fears they will leave when a better opportunity comes along, and “too expensive”  for the down-shift position which pays far less than they earned before.     

She said that Boomers are happy to do “rote work” and are “no competition” for their coworkers.  The Boomers I know want to do meaningful work and do it well – even in their 40’s and 50’s.  They are ready and willing to take on more responsibility. Her descriptors imply that Boomers (including those in their mid 40’s) are no longer ambitious, that they are just working for the paycheck, and that they don’t want their abilities to be taxed or even tapped. I don’t know a single 40 something or even one 50 something Boomer who feels that way.

Perhaps people who have retired from the corporate rat race after finishing a long career or those looking for their encore careers better fit her descriptions.  But to broadly paint all 40 somethings who have 20 years or more left to work and all 50 somethings who also still have a long way to go as happily and purposely seeking down-shift positions, as happy and willing to do rote work, and as no competition to their coworkers only serves to perpetuate the “past their prime” stereotype that may be making it harder for them to get any job.





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