You never stop worrying about losing your job, unless you’re retired. Then you’re always worried about losing your mind.
Different work ethics exist today. We boomers went on vacation and could only be reached via a hotel landline or one of those Motorola brick phones, like I had in the 80s. Even then, it was too costly to have my staff call. I just told them to make a decision based on three things: Will I get fired, will Barry get fired and will we get sued. I told them if the answer was no to these questions, proceed.
Baby boomers have always been masters of reinvention. In every decade of our lives, we have challenged the status quo and lived life on our own terms. Some have accused us of being selfish for exactly this reason. But, deep down, our attempts to reinvent ourselves were rooted in our desire to get the most from life.
The Great Recession, which officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, was hard on older workers. In the years following the financial crisis, people from all walks of life struggled to find work – and those lucky enough to have savings found them greatly depleted. The good news is that, on paper, the economy is on the mend.
One of my biggest fears for the baby boomer generation is that we have taken the concept of retirement too seriously. Many of us still believe in the notion that retirement should be a time for living off your savings, relaxing and “aging gracefully.”
Now, a new study by The Pew Charitable Trusts, says that the majority of baby boomers may finally be rethinking retirement. Most people surveyed said that they didn’t plan on retiring, in a traditional sense. Instead, they said that they wanted to continue working, either in their existing job or in a new career.
In many ways, networking was simpler before computers and the internet. We met like-minded people face to face and job hunting involved a personal exchange with a recruiter. Remember paper resumes? We joined interest groups and shared insights in person.
In a recent US Senate hearing, Elizabeth Isele, co-founder of Senior Entrepreneurship Works and Conchy Bretos, the CEO of MIA Senior Living Solutions outlined the opportunities and challenges facing older entrepreneurs. Presenting to a panel of senators and government officials, they explained that small businesses provide huge value to the economy. They also revealed that, in fact, individuals between 55 and 64 make up the largest percentage of new small business owners.
For the first time in history, four generations are present side by side in the workplace. A great grandmother in her 70s can be working alongside the grandchild of a neighbour. Multi-generational workforce dynamics are becoming more complicated with longevity increasing and retirement being delayed – there are many aspects of working with people from other generations that are fun and refreshing, but there are also some potential challenges and pitfalls to keep in mind.
As we reach our 60s, many women are finding that the careers that supported us for decades are coming to an end. This represents a challenge and an opportunity. On the one hand, letting go of what we have always done is scary. In addition, many of us worry about how we will support ourselves financially in the years ahead. On the other hand, leaving one job behind is an opportunity to start something new – an encore career that will give us meaning and, hopefully, a little extra money.
As December closes, we are starting to see the countdown to the “Best of 2013” and “Big Trends for 2014.” I take most of these articles with a grain of salt and normally find that a lot of my own ideas go in a different direction than the “experts”. I do, however, look for observations and predictions from sites I trust and respect.
Today, I came across Business Insider’s take on “Trends That Will Define 2014” and found that they include some interesting and relevant points for women over 60. Here are some of the trends they say will define the upcoming year.
Kerry Hannon is an expert on personal finance and careers for boomer women and is my special guest in this episode of the Sixty and Me Show. Kerry is a writer for Forbes magazine and Next Avenue and is AARP’s Jobs Expert. Kerry is also the author of the best-selling book Great Jobs for Everyone 50+.