The U.S. Census Bureau defines the Baby Boomers as those born between January 1st, 1946 and December 31st, 1964. This means those on the front end of the wave are turning 65 this year and many are punching their ticket to Retirementville. But most of us are still plugging away in the workplace.
Being a Boomer with a job is an interesting gig. Actually, having a job at other ages is like riding a roller coaster with a couple of bolts missing, but it’s like Adventureland for Boomers. Why? Because we know too damn much and we’re willing to say so.
Younger workers (and by younger I mean anyone with more hair than scalp, and less gray than George Clooney) tend to tolerate the bumpy ride. This younger demographic is divided into two groups:
The ones between 21-30, who we’ll call Newbies. These people will rarely speak up because either they are too doe-eyed to realize they’re being dumped upon, or just figure they can jump from job to job any time they want. These are the same people who just a year or two earlier, in college, “only that one time” posed for naked pictures for Spring Break money because, after all, “it’s just the internet and who’s ever gonna know?” So depth of thought and long term implications of actions are not really their strong suits.
The Captives are the ones between 31-45. These folks know they’re being manipulated, but by now they’ve got mortgages, car loans and credit card debt; two kids and braces and gymnastics classes; and let’s not forget necessities like monthly mani/pedis and weekly greens fees. Captives consider job changes carefully, and while in their current one they aren’t about to do or say anything to piss off people up the food chain…lest they risk the trauma of having to choose between selling off the Nissan Quest or the BMW 325i.
In contrast, most Boomers have been there, done that. We’ve seen everything the bosses have to throw at us, and every management-philosophy-du-jour. Ten times. And as for those Captive quivers — our kids are grown (or on the way out the door); if our mortgages are not paid off, we’ve probably already been broke at least once in our lives and lived to tell about it; we discovered an emery board and a good polish hides a lot; and we got tired of golf once a typical Saturday round crossed the five hour threshhold.
We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and contrary to the popular opinion of the Newbies and the Captives, it is not the porch light at the nursing home. We’re not exactly sure what it is, but we’re not scared.
And we know it.
This makes our reaction to workplace pressures totally different than our younger counterparts.
If the Boss asks people to stay late on a Friday for a crunch project, the Newbies think, “Sure, I’ll work until 9:00pm; I wasn’t going to the bars until 10:30pm anyway.” The Captives think, “I’ll pay the sitter extra to stay late, and I’ll move my tee time to Saturday afternoon.” The Boomer replies, “No problem, boss. I’ll be here to support you every minute you’re here.”
At least once a week, the Boss will tell the staff, “ABCDEFG is our highest priority.” Newbies — believing either (a) the boss is the most knowledgeable person in the world, or (b) “I can’t switch jobs until at least next week” — will drop everything and focus on, and only on, ABCDEFG until someone tells them to stop. Captives, already having five things on their plate at the time, will add ABCDEFG to make it six and then touch base with the Boss every two hours to make sure he thinks they are absolutely on his ABCDEFG Team. The Boomer, working on UVWXYZ, will smile and nod and then not change a thing about their prioritization, waiting for the inevitable moment three days later when the Boss informs the staff that, “UVWXYZ is our highest priority.”
The old adage for Management (over)reaction to a bad or stressful situation is: (Bleep) flows downhill. The Newbie thinks (bleep) is just a temporary distraction until tonight’s party. The Captive accepts the (bleep) as the necessary price to pay for the Cancun timeshare. But the Boomer is just as likely to point out that (bleep) flowing downhill simply proves that there was (bleep) at the top of the hill.
When the roller coaster ride gets especially rocky, the Newbies switch cars. The Captives grab the safety bar and hunker down. But the Boomers have their hands in the air, yelling at the top of their lungs, coasting to the stop and thinking about the next ride.
- Repaid For His Deed
- The Blessing
- Five Reasons I Know Hell Exists
- Bondage Haiku
- Pigs Don’t Know Pigs Talk Funny
- Everything Old Is New Again
- Forever And Then Forever Again
- We Are Not Ourselves
- The Road Most Taken
- A Bloody Lip
- Follow Someone
- Upside Down
- My Thirty Six Hour Vagina
- Where Are The Elephants?
- A Titleist, An Asteroid and Stacy
- Lemmings Anonymous
- We’ve Got To Stop Meeting Like This
- The Donut Nazi
- You’re Not The Boss Of Me
- A Priest, A Minister and a Rabbi
- (Bleep) Flows Downhill
- Light At The End Of The Tunnel
- A Thousand Squirrels
- Urinal Roulette
- The El To Paradise
- A Can Of Gumout
- My Penis Lies Over The Ocean
- Grandpa’s Last Stand
- Waldo Meets His Bleeping Match
- A Bran New World
- His Highness, King Me
- Flying In Formation
- Calculating America’s Future
- Don We Now
- Curse You, Soy
- Who am I? (and am I listening?)
- At What Cost