“If you don’t stick to your values when they are being tested, they’re not values: they’re hobbies.” ~ Jon Stewart (b. 1961)
There are 450+ million of us worldwide; 80 million alone in the U.S. where 10,000 more are adding to the ranks each day! We comprise 26% of the U.S. population and our segment is growing. We are a force and a voice. We are… Baby Boomers.
I highlight this not to disparage. I truly appreciate many characteristics of all four generational cohorts. Yet, as a “late boomer” (born 1955-1964), I am partial to the Boomer generation.
Why? Part pride. Boomers have shaped the world with technology innovations in just about every area of learning, especially in physical science, sociology, psychology, and technology. They invented the personal computer, the internet, satellite networks, etc. Most of America’s technical engineers are Baby Boomers. And Boomer values changed society in the U.S. with regard to women, race, sexual mores, the economy, even clothing. If you’re wearing jeans to work as you read this, credit a Baby Boomer.
Baby Boomers are the most educated generation in American history. They value and respect education and they’re insatiable learners who are constantly on a quest of personal development. They value mingling with others and forming lasting relationships. They appreciate face time.
While the full trend is still developing, it seems certain Baby Boomers will remain a large and active part of the workforce (perhaps to the chagrin of others). Business strategies are being designed to play on Baby Boomers strengths, reflect their shared history, and accommodate the late stage of their careers and the prioritization of values associated with this stage. As previously stated, we’re a force, not a threat. Baby Boomers epitomize teamwork, collaboration, and collective contribution.
Each generation brings similar values to business and personal life experiences. What is promising about our future is that as you and I (regardless of generational alignment) continue to grow, we appreciate mutual values for the concepts of family, integrity, achievement, love, competence, and purpose.
Maybe even humor. 🙂
For Baby Boomers, money isn’t the most important thing they want to leave behind. They don’t just want to leave an inheritance; they want to leave a legacy. A legacy of what they value. In a recent Allianz Insurance survey, 75% of Baby Boomers said passing down values and life lessons was more important than leaving sums of money to subsequent generations.
Why? According to Keith Ogorek at the firm Legacy Keepers, Baby Boomers lived through a time of reshaping the culture. They made their mark in everything from ending segregation to protesting the (Vietnam) war, the sexual revolution, and women’s rights. I don’t know about you but that seems some exhausting work; aspects of it life and society-changing.
It’s not surprising then, that as Baby Boomers grow closer to retirement, they want to bequeath some of their valuable lessons – even though they’re still learning!
In a follow-on post, I’ll pose some questions that, as a Baby Boomer (and easily pondered by other generations), you may reflect upon as you consider your values and legacies.