The wasted generation

It seems the baby boomers are dvidided in their approach to retirement.
That’s the view at least of this BRW article
[Subscription required]. I have to point out that, true to its form, BRW discusses only the
top 10% wealthiest baby boomers. Allowing for that, the trend observed provoke thought.

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The article is based largelyby Robert Critchley’s book "Doing
nothing is not an option"
One group of these baby boomers
matches the stereotype of the baby boomer – looking forward to retirment
as soon as possible. Some of them making plans to retire as early as
age 45 and then planning to make no futher contribution to the workforce.
As BRW points out, this is a huge loss of skill from our community.
For some of this group, the retirement is not entirely voluntary. Critchley
makes the believable claim "Recruitment companies won’t interview
people over 45, although they won’t admit it." Australian corporate
culture is entrenched in the adoration of youth and dismissal of experience.

So we are ending up with a large group of skilled and experienced people
over 55 who are lost to the workforce. Some voluntarily and others because
they have been retrenched and can’t find other work.

This is a sad and unfortunae scenario. I can’t imagine retiring. I
hope I keep my health long enought to be still working when I’m 80.
And so I belong to the second group of baby boomers. Those who want
to keep working – but not in traditional 9-5 employment. Rather we are
the portfolio workers who divide our time between paid and voluntary
work.

It’s not that easy to move into a portfolio exsitence though. It takes
a particular type of personality. It’s not for the risk averse. It’s
stressful. It takes the ability to put yourself out there and being
prepared to be rejected. It sounds romantic and luxurious but it is
hard work. I think it’s easy for us risk takers to move into portfolio
work.

For people with a different approach to life, we have to find ways
to encourage them to become involved in different types of work that
provide some form of security but also respect and dignity.

It’s hard for people who have been rejected by the workforce. The answer
lies not only in changing their views but also those of employers and
other organisations – to create varied opportunities for their contribution.

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