Much is written about the boomers generation, especially as they begin to enter into retirement. Some of the pieces written on them are well-thought-out, insightful, and fair takes on the very large demographic. However, like any subject, you’ll see some people’s thoughts are rash, generalized and without basis. People tend to get an idea in their head and form an opinion based on it without thinking it through. Worse still, people hear someone else’s ignorant opinion and adopt it as their own without exploring it any further. There are a lot of opinions about boomers which are based on nothing more than a misguided or out-of-date myth. So let’s separate the fact from the fiction and explore some of the biggest myths about boomers, and why they’re wrong.
1. They resist change
The myth: Boomers have a certain way of doing things in the work place, and they’re stubborn and unwilling to budge when introduced to a new idea.
Why it’s wrong: Having experience with what is successful is never going to be a bad thing. It’s true, boomers likely have developed their own way of working, but when shown a new way, they’re not going to reject it or resist. What they will do is question it, and determine if it is the best move. This may annoy some but it shouldn’t. It’s always a good idea to have an experienced perspective critiquing decisions.
2. No tech skills
The myth: Boomers cannot keep up with changing technology and are being left behind in that aspect of the business world.
Why it’s wrong: This is as big a stereotype towards boomers as anything else and, like many stereotypes, is an exaggerated generalization. Boomers may not be the most tech-savvy generation, but that’s to be expected when their facing off with age groups who have lived their whole lives with personal computers. But boomers have taught themselves how to use this technology with increasing numbers of them becoming more and more comfortable with things like social media and iPhones.
3. They won’t stay at a job long
Myth: Boomers are looking to job-hop their way to retirement.
Why it’s wrong: We at Boomerswork.com are in the business of matching boomers with a job that works for them. We can tell you unequivocally, they’re not just passing the time. Boomers are a hardworking generation and unlikely to stop working just because their savings say they can. Yes, we specialize in matching boomers with short-term or contract work, but that’s not because boomers are looking to make a quick buck. They want to add to something worthwhile, they want to be valued, they want to contribute to something they care about. In other words, boomers keep working because they are workers.
4. They’re wealthy and comfortable
Myth: Boomers have worked hard, saved responsibly, and will retire comfortably.
Why it’s wrong: As much some boomers may stay at work longer due to strong work ethic, some stay at work longer simply because they have to. It would be absurd to think a whole demographic is financially comfortable, but the overall perception of that boomers as well-off is far from accurate. University tuition, health expenses for aging parents, and other expenses are most common around the “retirement age”.
5. They’re selfish
The myth: The boomer generation was raised to work hard and earn their own way in life which has taught them to take care of their own and no one else.
Why it’s wrong: This isn’t just wrong, it’s categorically wrong in every way. As we’ve very recently covered on The Hub, not only are the boomers charitable, they may very well be the most charitable generation ever. Findings show that in the United States alone, boomers will give about $8 trillion over the course of two decades through monetary donations and volunteering time. They’re also poised to be the generation with the largest wealth transfer, passing it on to the next generation.
6. They’re a burden
The myth: Boomers feed off the system and are content to live off of pensions without contributing, as well as leaving no jobs for the future generations..
Why it’s wrong: We highlighted one of last week’s articles from The Globe and Mail which attacks this specific myth, and there are many other pieces that will do the same. Boomers are the biggest contributors to this country’s economy by quite a large number and that number doesn’t look to be decreasing as they enter retirement. The notion that boomers are stealing jobs from younger professionals is highly debateable as boomers are largely responsible for creating their own positions later in their careers.
Likely, you didn’t need us to tell you these opinions of boomers were off-base or just plain wrong. The best way to figure out if something about boomers is a myth is if it doesn’t apply to you. No generalization will define you and you can continue to prove wrong all those who believe them.