Many leaders view retirement – whether a few years or a few decades away – as a finish line.
But increasingly these leaders, especially for those who are closer to retirement, are finding that being too young to retire but too old to find a job has become a critical issue.
Will Heath, Succession Specialist, writes in his upcoming book, “There comes a point in every ministry leader’s life when their greatest contribution and source of influence shifts from the performance of tasks to protection and mentoring.”
In other words, retirement isn’t the last great thing a leader does. It is the gateway to a leader’s greatest season of influence.
We may live ten years longer than our parents and may even work twenty years longer, yet power is moving to those ten years younger.
Are leaders in this age group facing a decades long “irrelevancy gap”?
THE QUICK SUMMARY – I’m Not Done, by Patti Temple Rocks
When it comes to discrimination in the workplace, we’ve come a long way as a society. But there’s still one systemically ignored form of discrimination that happens all the time, and it affects everyone: ageism.
Ageism is real. It’s widespread, insidious, and up until now, it’s been largely hidden, due to the low rate of reporting from those who are pushed out of their jobs when they reach a certain age. With the largest demographic America has ever seen–baby boomers–now experiencing age discrimination at work, it’s time to talk about this deeply hurtful and bad-for-business practice.
In I’m Not Done, Patti Temple Rocks takes a deep dive into ageism in the workplace–what it looks like, how it harms people and businesses alike, and how business leaders can get on the right side of the issue. Patti’s story, and the stories of those like her, creates a powerful declaration and a movement to stop this last remnant of workplace discrimination in its tracks: #I’mNotDone!
A SIMPLE SOLUTION
Imagine a world where there is no longer a preconceived notion about what age someone becomes irrelevant or undervalued. What if, like every other form of inclusion, you were valued just because you were valuable?
Imagine a world where nobody feels the pressure to leave an organization before they are ready to leave, and age is taken off the table as a marker for retirement.
Older employees offer a wealth of value. They are, quite literally, a treasure to any organization. They have life experiences and work experiences that can absolutely meld with youth and new ideas and technologies. Imagine an organization that leveraged this experience and wisdom, that blended its workforce into a truly diverse, agile, intelligent, cohesive and kind organization.
What if you put as much thought into the end of your career as you did in the beginning, and it didn’t have to be kept a secret until the day you gave notice?
There are more older Americans in the workplace than ever before. And they’re accomplishing more than any generation before them. Because older workers are staying in their careers longer, a new paradigm is emerging. Here are seven key trends I see in the new Baby Boomer mindset.
The Wise Boomer
Boomers don’t see themselves as old, in either mind or body. They want to be appreciated for the knowledge and skills they’ve gained over a lifetime, and want to contribute in meaningful ways, including the ability to pass along their wisdom and life experience.
Sixty is (Really) the New Fifty
Boomers are intent on re-inventing aging in their own fun-loving image, going back to school, launching businesses, and running marathons. They don’t know the concept of “age-appropriate,” and they still feel great.
The “I Got This” Attitude
Long defined by their independent, trailblazing approach to life, Boomers are resistant to receiving support that threatens their autonomy. Their Millennial children don’t always understand this.
Boomers look at retirement completely differently from previous generations. Boomers like having an impact in every way they can, and will be as creative as they need to be in finding opportunities.
No Moving Truck Required
Many Boomers are choosing to stay closer to home to remain connected to others – particularly their children and grandchildren, so they can stay active in their lives. They are also totally comfortable jumping on a plane and finding an Airbnb when they crave a little sunshine.
Boomers are readily adapting technology and using social media just as much as younger generations do. In fact, they are much more likely to share, advocate, and influence others online.
Proud…Just Not Always Out Loud
While Boomers are often justifiably proud of how young they look, feel, and act, sometimes that results in an effort, conscious or otherwise, to disguise their actual age.
Patti Temple Rocks, I’m Not Done
A NEXT STEP
Almost all ambitious young people spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the early stages of their career. Most don’t give a single thought to managing the tail end of their career. That’s a shame, because navigating the last ten years of a career can be even more difficult than the first ten.
It doesn’t matter what your age is now – the fact is, at some point you will “retire” from working. The seven trends above are both instructive for Baby Boomers rapidly approaching retirement – and younger leaders whose retirement may be years away.
Real magic happens when organizations make a concerted effort to incorporate age into their diversity initiatives. When a team is made up of younger “digital natives” who grew up on the Internet and social media, along with more senior employees who have decades of industry experience, there is a synergy of talents and abilities. Everyone learns from one another. That combination of wisdom, experience, and youth is powerful.
If you are lucky to serve on an age-diverse team, set aside some time in a future team meeting to discuss the seven trends listed above, both as a present reality and a future event.
Excerpt taken from SUMS Remix 122-1, released July 2019
Part of a weekly series on 27gen, entitled Wednesday Weekly Reader
Regular daily reading of books is an important part of my life. It even extends to my vocation, where as Vision Room Curator for Auxano I am responsible for publishing SUMS Remix, a biweekly book “excerpt” for church leaders. Each Wednesday on 27gen I will be taking a look back at previous issues of SUMS Remix and publishing an excerpt.