Jackie Kellso

Posts Tagged ‘baby boomers’

In the Job Market, 50 is the New 65

In AARP, age discrimination, baby boomers, employers, employment, grey hair, job market, millennials, Professional Reputation, professional women, professionals over 50, retire at 65, retirement age, social security administration, termination of employement, Uncategorized, unemployment, work experience on May 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm

As I reminisce about my professional journey, I remember an event that took place in 1986. I was 27, and an aggressive, up-and-coming ad sales person working for a media company. One day I learned that a 50+ year-old colleague had been fired and was leaving our company. He had had the best office of everyone on the team. So, the minute I heard he was leaving, I packed up my desk and ran down the hall to grab his. Well, I hadn’t counted on his not having exited the building, and encountered him when he came to pick up a box. He caught me filling his desk with my stuff. I looked up at him, speechless. He looked down at me and called me a vulture. Yes, a vulture. And looking back now as my (almost) 58 year-old self, he was right. My behavior was reprehensible.

That experience haunts me today.

It’s sad that at 50 years-old (unless one is wealthy and/or comfortable enough for the rest of one’s life, and wants to retire) many of us are aching to remain challenged, active, earning, vital, learning and necessary to our companies, our clients and our industries. We are sharper than ever as we have the wisdom, the experience and a sense of ourselves that make us valuable team-members, mentors and consultants to our younger colleagues and our peers.

Today, 50 has become ‘that age’ where many employers are ready or getting ready to set us free. Perhaps it costs too much with higher salaries and benefits than the younger, incoming Millennial population. Perhaps there’s just the perception that we’re too old, lacking fresh ideas, not up on technology, have less enthusiasm and/or energy. Any or all are possible.

Why so young? What happened to retirement being 65 and how did that number even become the accepted retirement age? According to the Social Security Administration’s website, the decision to make 65 the magic number for retirement was a pragmatic one, and a main reason was that, “Studies showed that using age 65 produced a manageable system that could easily be made self-sustaining with only modest levels of payroll taxation.” There are other factors having to do with systems that were formulating in the 1930s based on even older precedents. (If you’re interested in this subject, there’s a lot more information you can retrieve on the web.)

Today, there is a huge and growing population of 50+ers who take new jobs for less money and many who become consultants because they can’t find jobs. (Some of course voluntarily change careers and are looking for a new, more meaningful chapter.) According to the Washington Post*, from an AARP survey, “…the headline statistics hide a harsher reality: older workers who do lose a job spend longer periods out of work, and if they do find another job, it tends to pay less than the one they left.” And a”…look at long-term unemployment data….show(s) that older people have a harder time landing jobs after losing one.”

Employers, take note: make sure older employees, “…don’t end up out of work involuntarily before they’re ready. While vocational programs and access to higher education are seen as the ticket to a better job for those just starting out, those who’ve already spent decades in the workforce have less to gain from a training course that will only benefit them for the few years it takes to get to retirement. That’s why avoiding job loss in the first place is so important.”

It pains me to see my talented friends and colleagues suffer; either cut out of work, or struggling to hold onto their jobs (with enough of a hint from employers that their time may be up) or that their positions may fold. And, even though I’m not a corporate employee any longer (leaving in my mid 40s voluntarily to be a coach and trainer) I am a solopreneur in a sea of consultants battling for a unique voice on social media and a secure place as a ‘go-to’ consultant in my field — with a dream of having the comfort and ease of enough referrals and gigs to sustain me for many more years of work. But with so much unemployment and so many out of work consultants vying for position, all in my age range, there is little to rest upon.

I can’t say whether the situation is bad or good. I can only say that it is a journey and an unexpected turn that relies on one’s resourcefulness, passion, social media savvy, networking ability and persistence. We want to believe that there’s always enough for everyone to go around. We hope people will have the choice as to when they retire. Our hearts want to explore paths filled with purpose. But these desires ain’t for the faint of heart!

In the meantime, if you are a Generation X employer or a Baby Boomer executive with hiring authority — take responsibility for your 50-somethings. Show your industry that you are not ageist. Grey hair = invaluable grey matter. Take advantage of what Baby Boomers have that no Millennial can reproduce: the benefits of irreplaceable experience.

Resiliently speaking,

Jackie

*Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/30/losing-a-job-is-always-terrible-for-workers-over-50-its-worse/?utm_term=.c25524f7d5a8

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

You’re 50 and Your New Boss is 30. Now what?

In assertiveness, baby boomers, business, business networking, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, communications between generations, diversity, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, generation x, generations in the workforce, gossiping, interpersonal skills, leadership, managing, millennials, networking, office politics, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional behavior, professional development, public speaking, training, Uncategorized, working with a younger boss on September 1, 2016 at 10:15 am

I’m a Baby Boomer, born in 1959, and I’ve had this experience.  I was once VP of a sales department, having been overlooked for the open SVP slot.  A woman, 10 years my junior, became my boss.  I immediately read what I thought was fear in her eyes and I did what I could to show that I supported her. For several months she kept telling me, “You’re great!  What would I do without you?” Then at around the three month mark, she fired me. Not based on my performance, not because I was acting out against her.  I asked her point blank, “Why?” and her response?  “You’re not a fit.”  You can imagine what that felt like!

Not all younger boss scenarios end badly, although they may be challenging. If you’re currently reporting to someone who’s your junior, and there’s tension around this reality, then this article’s for you.

Here you are, sharp as ever, valuable as hell, and watching your peers leave (voluntarily or by being pushed out).  Inevitably, you are wondering what’s going to happen to you and your job. Plus, you have this younger person as your boss. From your perspective, you might be tolerating what you see as the bumps and blunders your manager goes through to gain respect and be an effective leader (only to show signs of vulnerability and feelings of inadequacy). Just think of how threatening it must feel to manage someone older than yourself!

You may be observing that he or she likes to run things a bit loosely. This person is likely to want more contact via email and text and less in-person contact. Your manager might be in a state of unconscious incompetence (which is another term for, not knowing what we don’t know) and may think your view on leadership is antiquated.

The truth is, good leadership is ageless. That being said, your younger boss comes from a different era, and has generational tendencies for which you should be aware.

Here are some traits associated with our younger colleagues, the ones about whom I am referring.  They likely born after 1975 and before 1987.  (The full span of “Generation X” is 1965-1981 and of “Millennials” is 1982-2000).

Techno-literate

Grew up embracing diversity and informality

Want to achieve balance between fun and work

Self-reliant

Enjoy a lack of rigid structures

(*Source: The Generations, Gary Trotta’s Training Games, Inc.)

Some of these tendencies are a breath of fresh air! So, what to do when there’s a conflict or you feel critical of your boss’ ways? Try to see things from your boss’ perspective. Imagine you’re 30 again and people the age of your parents report to you. Threatening, maybe a little? Much to prove? There’s a really powerful interpersonal dynamic that can become an opportunity to show your ability to dance with change, with people of all ages, and with the demands of the job.

When you see them struggle, offer assistance without being obsequious, pedantic or passive-aggressive. Just be you with all of your experience and wisdom.  Ask about your manager’s vision for the department and the role he or she sees you playing in it.  Occupy your space with confidence. Show interest in your boss’ perspective and demonstrate respect.  Become curious and enthusiastic about working together.

Besides, what are the options?  Just walk away? Fight the system?  Disregard the new manager’s responsibility for you?  We Boomers have been through a lot and we know that change is inevitable.

If we can accept what’s happening, grow with it and be a role model of flexibility and integrity, we can lead our younger managers to victory.

Enjoy the ride,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Fish Rots from the Head Down

In ages in the workforce, avoiding arguments, baby boomers, bad boss, career challenges, communication skills, communications between generations, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, employee engagement, engagement, executives, generation x, generations, generations at work, GenXers, leadership, managing, managing conflict, managing emotions at work, Millenials, people skills, personal development, personal growth, professional behavior, stinkin' thinkin', team-player, work-related problems on May 8, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Phrase of the day: Employee Engagement.  My metaphor: The Fish Rots from the Head Down. If you, a Baby Boomer (1946-1964), at the senior leader to C-level, have stinkin’ thinkin’, the rest of your organization will rot from under you.

Many high-level Baby Boomers think of the younger set of GenXers (born late 70s – early 80s) and Millenials (1982-2000) like this: “These entitled, spoiled kids who graduated with honors think they’re going to be VP right out of the gate!” I had to work my way up the ladder and prove myself, and they have to bite the bullet and do the same.”

Research now tells us of many reasons employees leave their companies.  Some of these include:  a lack of belief in senior leadership, lack of enthusiasm or clarity about the company’s mission and poor communication with direct managers. So leaders cannot risk leading with the mindset of ‘pain leads to gain.’

In fact, GenXers and Millenials don’t appreciate the sentiment. Whether empowered from early on by us, their Baby Boomer parents, or that there is significance to being born at the start of the Age of Aquarius, they are impatient to get to the top, to make a stamp on the world. Why? Because they grew up watching a young generation of talented grads become techie multimillionaires and they have been preparing to make their mark too. We Baby Boomers didn’t have those types of super-hero young, role models. Our role models were ‘The Establishment’. We’d never seen anything like what’s happening in the last two decades. We were ambitious, but we believed we had to work our way up in a linear, long-road haul to the top, as our Veteran parents and bosses (pre-1945) did.

My not-so-humble opinion on the matter: Stop rotting. If you haven’t moved beyond the 1980s work ethic and are holding young employees to these old standards, you are creating dysfunction in your company.

As challenging as this may be, it’s about becoming flexible. Here’s how to stop your head from spoiling the rest of the company:

  1. Encourage employees to spend a small percentage of their time – on your watch – creating projects they feel passionate about. Give them ownership of something meaningful to them, as long as it is in line with your company’s mission. Hey, it could open up possibilities for your business you had never anticipated!
  2. Don’t embarrass young employees for trying to bring new ideas to you. You’ll make them feel important if they feel heard.  This can encourage commitment and loyalty.
  3. Set boundaries, just make sure they are fair to all. Never play favorites.
  4. Keep cultivating your own skills. And although we can never evolve certain parts of the brain, parts that want what’s comfortable, we can build new neural pathways that can open-up our thinking and beliefs to embrace the NOW.
  5. Do what you can to learn about GenXers and Millenials. Understand their socioeconomic, psychological and cultural experiences. Become interested and make their life experiences matter to you.
  6. Be compassionate towards yourself. Everyone talks about managing others through change, but who manages you through this change (at this third quadrant of your career)? Fortunately, or unfortunately, you have to do it. (You can always hire a coach.:))

With Empathy,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.