This Country’s baby boomers generation

The baby boomer bubble is creeping up in age and along with that comes plenty of opportunities to make money. What will this generation need ― and be willing to pay mightily for?  Yes, you are lightening your payrolls as higher paid workers leave. But, a lot of hard-to-replace knowledge and expertise also is walking out of your door. The generations that follow will be very different from what you have seen. You will not be replacing like with like.

You will be getting people with very different mentalities and perspectives on life and career. So, how do the baby boomers generations differ in the workplace?

The Boomer Generation

Baby boomers are distinctly different from the younger generations. Work is a special activity for this group. Many “live to work” versus other generations who “work to live.” Money and title are affirmations of both their accomplishments and their value to the company. However, the paradox is that while they see title and rank as affirmation of their own value, they don’t necessarily respect the title, but rather evaluate the person behind the title. You must earn the respect of a Boomer. Respect is not ascribed by position.

Because of the importance of work to this group, many are described as workaholics and their work ethic is strong. Being part of a team and being a team player is important. Baby boomers generation are involved, focused on quality, and are looking for fulfillment – a lot of which is provided by the job. Boomers are driven to accomplish, but don’t micro-manage these people unless you want a very disgruntled worker.

Generation “X” (Born 1965 – 1980)

Generation “X” is very different in style and perspective compared to Boomers. Let’s start with a very clear difference. Talk to a Boomer about a project or task and they will interpret this as an order that needs to get executed immediately. However Gen “X” will interpret the same conversation as an observation about something that needs to get done, but not necessarily in an immediate time frame. You see, Gen “X” demand the freedom to determine when, how, and where an assigned task is completed.

For a Boomer, a reward provided at any point is welcome. Not so for Gen “Xers.” For Gen “X” rewards for a job well done must be immediate. Delayed rewards are confusing and do not work as well. As a group, Gen “X” is much more laid-back in respect to baby boomers. Fun and informality is important. Gen “Xers” are looking for new skills and experiences and will change jobs if their employer does not offer these or if the job gets stale. More explained in this post:

Generation “Y” (Born 1981 – 2000)

This is the newest generation entering the workforce and man, are they different from what you are used to. This generation grew up with everything electronic and they are wired. Preferred communication channels for this generation are e-mails and instant messaging.

At work, this group is described as very tenacious, goal-oriented and entrepreneurial. However, unlike the baby boomers who “live to work,” Gen “Y” believes that work is just a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.

The reality is, if you are an employer, there is no best. There are only differences. But here’s the point: All of the policies and reward structures that have been in place for so long have been directed to the characteristics of the Boomer generation. As baby boomers generation head for the exits, many of these policies will no longer work and you will need to adapt to the new reality if you want to maintain a happy and productive workplace. “Live to work” is leaving the building!


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Watching for Baby Boomer Fashion Trends

The change through time for many people is a trip through the wardrobe. Generations can track their parents clothing trends as well as their own fashion statements by looking through the closet or cardboard boxes in the basement.

From the Great Depression and Dust Bowl era following the 1929 crash, men and women began to wear less rigid clothing. Gone were make fashion icons and styles, because people could no longer afford extravagant clothing trends. Men who once wore suits to work were suddenly without jobs. They were forced to eke out an existence through manual labor. Many shed their restrictive suit coats, threw away their ties, and rolled up their sleeves. Housewives were without roofs over their heads. Corsets lost their appeal. Dresses and flat sole shoes were comfortable and practical.

After World War II when many Americans celebrated by making huge families; the Forgotten Generation gave the Baby Boomers more opportunity than they ever had. The Baby Boomers became the “Me” generation and were willing to push against the establishment. They made statements in their ideology, the cultural changes, and their fashion trends marked their place in history and are still recognizable today.

From 1946 to 1964 the fashion trends were as unique as the Baby Boomer generation. When James Dean walked out on the dusty Texas plains wearing denim pants on the big screen, Levi Strauss & Co. began selling denim pants to everyone, not just the lonesome Texas cowboy. When the denim pants went mainstream Baby Boomers wanted to challenge the way the pants wore and fit. Through the years, since their global acceptance, the denim pants have gone through several variations.

The pants began changing how it rest on the waist and hips. Women began embracing wearing pants instead of just dresses. They showed off their shapely figures by wearing denim pants low on their hips; the tighter the jeans the better. When the Navy uniform showed flared pant legs, denim pants adapted the midshipmen flare. Denim pants suddenly had bell bottoms. The Baby Boomer made a fashion statement that will stay part of the fashion industry for the next fifty years. The entire “Me” generation embraced this fashion and was comfortable in showing off the variations. Since denim pants, especially with the industry leading company of Levi Strauss, denim pants were not only fashionable, they were durable.

When holes finally wore through the knees, Baby Boomers continued to wear them. Women began cutting off the pant legs and the denim shorts were born and embraced culturally. This single piece of fashion became a global sensation and more companies across America began producing the clothing lines to keep up with the demand.

Denim pants have never gone far from fashion since the 1950s. The evolution of the pants has changed from generation to generation, from stonewashed to ripped to baggy and skinny inclinations, these trendy designs continue to influence youths and make statements without even trying. The American culture is clothed in denim.

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Role Models for Baby Boomer Generation

Immediately following World War II, there was the largest increase in population for the United States ever recorded. This increase in births lasted approximately 20 years. If you were born between 1946 and 1964 you were part of this trend and you are part of the Baby Boomer generation. Being part of the “Me” generation was a significant event socially and culturally in the United States.

If you’re looking for role models for this generation you need to go no further than the last three presidents. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama are part of the Boomer generation. You don’t have to look into the White House to find role models for the generation, but it might be a good idea to define what it means to be considered a ‘role model.’ We consider our role models in a manner that mostly resembles a popularity contest. Often celebrities and athletes are role models by default.

While we admire teachers and family members, they sometimes elude wearing the badge of distinction for being role models. When you’re part of a bigger picture, such as politicians, and make differences in the world at large, then it’s possible you could be part of the category. When a senator spends their time in office attempting to make things better for their constituents then they can be considered someone to admire and look up to, someone we measure ourselves against.

Actress Diane Keaton was born at the beginning of the Baby Boomers. She has credits as a director, producer, and screenwriter, as well as being an actress. However, is she a role model? Interestingly, one can rattle off a list of names of people born within the 20-year span when other Baby Boomers were born. There would likely be a list of noteworthy people to include in the list. The question remains while they may be popular and have names many people recognize would they be role models for the generation? While Jackie Kennedy is considered a cultural icon because of the fashion sense she exhibited during her husband’s presidency and most American women wanted to be like her, she was not part of the generation. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr. was part of the Baby Boomer generation although not as notable as his parents.  Steven Paul Jobs was an American technology entrepreneur born within the ‘Me’ generation. His inventions and visions are part of everyday life for people worldwide. He and Bill Gates (another Baby Boomer) created philanthropic opportunities that were revolutionary and made technology available to everyone on the planet. Read more here.

The question still lingers if business leaders and computer programmers are considered role models? Ultimately, it comes to the individual as to who is worthy of the moniker. We choose to consider our leaders by popular vote. Our money makes popular actors richer when we buy movie tickets. Mary Temple Grandin is well known in limited circles. She was a professor of animal science at Colorado State University. It was her diagnosis of autism that put her in the public eye. In 2010, she was listed in Time magazine’s list of 100 most influential people in the ‘Hero’ category. She was a Baby Boomer first, and doesn’t that make her a role model too?

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Baby Boomer Vanity – Where will it Lead Us?

The demographic component of the Baby Boomer comes from the end of World War II. From 1946 to 1964 the dramatic increase in birth rates in the United States created the rise of the average American family and how as a society we adapted to the postwar years.  The Baby Boomers were born and over the next twenty years their impact on American social and cultural events would define them as the “Me” generation.

Baby Boomers wanted to push back against the establishment they felt had crippled their parents and the nation. Recovering from the Great Depression only really happened because of the United States involvement with the European war efforts. Although the United States did not officially enter the war until the attack on Pearl Harbor, most steel industries that were silent after the crash of 1929 were now rolling strong, producing armaments for Allied Forces.

After the war, there was still a need for industry. The factories needed workers, and many Baby Boomers entered the establishments and began making changes in automation, as well as handling their employees by rewarding them with pensions and healthcare options their parents did not have. Many Boomers went to college and began making changes politically and socially. Although they were still considered anti-government, they wanted equality and a better way of life for everyone. They pushed for the Civil Rights and were dubious of anyone over 30.

The “Me” generation wanted to open their world to all possibilities. They made sure we walked on the moon and made great strides in the medical field as well as developed pharmaceuticals to help people live longer and stay healthy. Since they remembered the plight of their parents, they were extremely loyal to their children and felt being involved in their lives would make for better Americans.

The Baby Boomers wanted persona gratification and personal growth. They believed in work and wanted to continue to make a difference. Although they were anti-war, they felt to really make a difference they needed to get involved in politics. Baby Boomers would eventually make it to the White House, while throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s, they had to contend with making changes through the senate and other branches of government.

They did not understand how to save for the future until government and employment programs allowed them retirement options. Since Baby Boomers were team oriented, they believed in staying with companies until the end. Because of their work ethics, most Baby Boomers will retire around the age of 65. The “Me” generation are healthier than their parents of the Forgotten Generation. They have the tenacity to continue to push against the establishment even though they understand they need it. The paradox of the Baby Boomer means they remain opinionated and transformational at the same time. Their need for the social security administration will make strains on the economy we are beginning to understand today. Since the social security is likely the most important income for Baby Boomers, they fact they will still be depending on the program into the foreseeable future means the following generation may look for alternative income sources when they are ready for retirement.

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Baby Boomer Generation Characteristics Shine Through

The Baby Boomer generation in the United States had it easier than their parents. Survivors of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl had to wade through World War II before they were able to settle again and raise families. From 1946 to 1964 the population growth in the United States was the highest ever recorded. Returning soldiers from the war began to raise families. The changes in America were substantial.

Their children inherited the problems associated with the recession before the war. The Baby Boomer generation was the “Me” generation. They made sure what their parents suffered would not happen again. Most of them went on to college and made changes throughout the United States to ensure the country survived into the new millennium.

Baby Boomers made significant strides in the quality of life for every American. They had the moral authority to get things done. They made sure the economy was stable and their healthcare was above reproach. There was a need to have skilled and educated people in manufacturing. The Baby Boomers were able to make America a powerful asset for global marketing and trade.

Baby Boomers were ready to make sure America’s equality was strong. They started the Civil Rights movement that still evolves today. The majority of the Baby Boomers were against the Vietnam War because they saw it as a mistake perpetuated by government mishandling of foreign affairs. Part of the problem with the government according to Baby Boomers was the fact there were not enough changes happening. The branches of government were still part of the Forgotten Generation. Most of the men seated in government were the same traditionalists that lasted through the end of WWII and the Korean War. Baby Boomers knew to make drastic changes they had to take drastic measures. They began winning seats in government positions and represented their fellow constituents with new measures. Although they had to outlast the Cold War and the posturing with the Soviet Union, the Baby Boomers understood that with time thing would eventually balance out.

Baby Boomers looked to the sky. They made strides in aeronautics and eventually put their generation on the moon. They felt pushing the limits was important and that anything was possible. Unfortunately, they had setbacks. The Baby Boomers are considered the highest divorce rate in America. They also have the highest in second marriages. Many of them were anti-government. Even with their fellow Boomers in the senate, it would be the mid-1970s before any of them were able to make it into the White House.

Many Baby Boomers were optimistic despite the need for changes in America. They were extremely loyal to their children and were involved in every facet of life. They instilled in their children to question everything because without making demands, things would not evolve.

The Baby Boomers created the credit system that is still misused today. The credit card allowed people to spend money they did not have on luxury items.

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