Many of my colleagues are now AARP members. And some are beginning to feel they are past their prime, yours truly included. However I am not and neither are you!
What we are is past our “midpoint”. That’s OK. The average American, who is now hovering around 50, will more than likely work at least another 20 yrs.
Do the math or create a bell curve. Your probably in your prime (just a little right of the midpoint). I know it doesn’t feel that way. Lately every year feels more like a dog year then a regular year. By each Friday I am actually tired and looking forward to the weekend, although weekends are no longer your own. Your probably checking email and possibly on the phone or working on a project before your morning coffee or as you settle down to a favorite HBO show on Sunday night. That’s part of our dilemma, we still watch shows on a television. My daughter, who is a college sophomore hasn’t turned a TV on more than 3 or 4 times the whole summer. She streams content from Hulu and Netflix. It’s “just in time” television.
In fact everything we do seems to be JUST IN TIME (JIT). No longer is your experience the most valuable commodity, its your ability to access information quickly and mold it into a business response, product, or presentation.
The fact that more and more baby boomers are feeling uncomfortable is natural and to be expected. We didn’t grow up with a cell phone stuck to our left palm or a Facebook and Twitter account. Our parents generation and specifically our fathers had no career bell curve, its was more of a 45 degree angle. They reached their highest levels by our age and then put in another 5 or 10 yrs., before their health or social security and pensions kicked in. No such luck for us. We need to work twice as hard as we ever did before to catch up to our subordinates technological savvy.
Its time we humble ourselves and take a page out of our children’s generation handbook. For example, I now stream television content to my phone on the train. I can watch ESPN’s Sports Center, CNN, or HBO for 30-40 minutes every morning and evening. I can read the paper, check stocks, or even have a conversation with family or friends (yes I am texting too, just not all day long).
Most baby boomers have trouble flexing their hours at work, we grew up and worked with a 9-5, or 6 or 7 attitude. Putting in hours were never an issue. Unfortunately today’s work place is hardly 9-5…it 24 x 7. So we need to flex back to the demands put on us. Take a day and work from home. Leave early if you need to. We know that you will be making it up with late night calls or projects. Flex works both ways…we just never realized or acted on it.
In my current role I have no office or even desk, everything is on my MacBook Air or more then likely in the Google Cloud. My cell phone is my “office’ phone. Almost everything is paperless. I can work from any where at any time as long as I can connect which is pretty easy these days. Oh, we use Skype and Facetime for interviewing too…so I can see you or you and you see me.
So lets go back to my point about being past your prime, it’s more a frame of mind and an adjustment to the new world of work. It’s a little early to be passing the baton.
Those baby boomers reading this need to reframe their situations to adjust for the speed of change and technology. Then be the master, at least for a couple more years!