A 2015 comedy, “The Intern
“, tells the story of 70-year-old widower Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) who decides to become a senior intern at an online fashion site. Initially, Whittaker was “set aside” as not being relevant or able to make a valued contribution. However, with his experience, insight, sense of humor and wisdom, Ben soon becomes popular and invaluable with his younger co-workers.
Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are now approaching the common retirement age of 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day. Yet many are not ready, willing or even able to stop working. At a population of almost 76 million, they comprise a larger workforce of Generation X (born 1965-1980) and Millennials (born 1981-1996) combined.
I am in this age category. I am an entrepreneur who is “wired” to leave things better than I found them. I take things that are “stuck” and give them forward movement and momentum. I’m a fixer. In ministry and business experiences I’ve been involved in work-outs and turn-arounds. I’ve bought businesses, built business, lost business and sold businesses. Some have been good and some have not. In all, I continue to learn and grow . . . and, I’m not done. There’s a lot more to do. I hopefully live with an eternal perspective in mind, paying it forward and making contributions that will outlive me . . . with family, friends and community.
I’m a Baby Boomer who recently turned 60. I don’t want to retire . . . I want to re-tool.
eLearning Industry states that Baby Boomers are one of the most adaptable and accepting learning segments of society. These workers contribute the following:
- Strong work ethic. Baby boomers aren’t afraid to put in a hard day of work. Their strong work ethic makes them motivated to learn as much as possible and do their very best.
- Self-Assured. This generation is independent and self-assured. They were raised during a turbulent time in history, and they were required to take on their fair share of responsibilities in order to fulfill their roles in society, often rejecting the status-quo.
- Competitive. They are typically driven by internal forces, such as self-improvement and personal growth.
- Goal-centric. This generation is all about goal setting and achievement. They enjoy creating goals for themselves, or even being assigned specific goals to reach.
- Resourceful. These workers were raised in an era where resourcefulness was a necessary trait. They often had to make do with what they had. As such, this generation can squeeze every ounce of usefulness out of activities, exercises, and tools that are offer them.
- Mentally focused. They know how to keep their minds focused on a particular subject or topic. They have amazing attention spans.
- Team oriented. One of their strongest characteristics is their strong sense of community. They thrive in team environments.
- Disciplined. This generation understand structure and deadlines. Yet, they are adaptive and flexible.
Even with these positive characteristics, it’s challenging to find opportunities to earn an income, make an impact and be a part of something bigger than ourselves.
There is great value in those who are seasoned with and at this stage of life. Here are a few considerations from Peter Arts:
- Contrary to most thought, our financial needs and wants are less than those just entering their income earning years. We have most of life’s expenses behind us. Children’s futures, educations and major events have passed. We once lived large, but know we live small. We are, however, aware of the value of our contribution and want consideration.
- Our segment of the workforce has proven to be more flexible or adaptive to new paradigms, than those of my age. We have transitioned from tube-based to transistors to digital technologies more than any other generation.
- In Research and Development, we provided “proof of concept”. We were the “focus groups” for Color Television (yes, there was just Black & White), Remote Controls, Cable Television, 8-Tracks, Cassette Tapes, CD’s, Digital Music Players, Personal Computers, Video Games, Pagers, Cell Phones, Satellite TV and Communications, Smart Phones. Our creativity and acceptance moved us to be innovators and adapters.
- In ministry, we have walked through the Jesus Movement, House Churches, Cross-Cultural Focus, Denominational increase and decrease, Television Ministry fraud and scandal, Mega-Churches, Missional, Attractional, Discipleship Ministries, Conferences, Promise Keepers, Focusing on the family and growth of Youth Ministries . . . and, in all, we have continued to stay faithful to the call and commission of Jesus. We have set aside racism and embraced reconciliation, rebuilding and relationships.
- As business professionals, we have demonstrated adaptability more than any other generation. Many have transitioned through an agricultural economy to an industrial focus to informational construct. We have evolved from a briefcase to a backpack. We have learned to move from pay-phones to smart phones. Even without smart technology, we stay connected. We are just as adaptable with paper and pencil as with a digital tablet. We can add, subtract, multiple, divide, figure percentages of loss and gain without a calculator.
- We are not only the first to use a cell phone . . . but, the first to use PDA’s, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools and digital calendars. And, we combined individual platforms to work in sync. We leveraged and learned.
- We are trained, taught and tried in contact management, relationship development, sales closings skills, and self-learning. We value training, certifications and continuing education.
- Because of our commitment to health, we live a lot longer, stay married longer, raise productive children, invest in our grandchildren, and impact our community. We have learned to face catastrophes and defeat. When we get knocked led down, we have learned to get back up. We were raised on the “Rocky” movies and we can take a punch.
- Adaption, innovation and flexibility make us great at working with and building teams. We value process, planning and performance. We will make an impression by getting the job done . . . not talking about how to get it done.
- And with almost four decades of wanting to make an impact, walking the journey and working to make a difference, we offer a value-added perspective of time-treasured principles that benefit future generations.
Veterans. Mentors. Coaches. Ambassadors. Senior Statesmen. All provide proven insights. All make championing contributions.
Arts reminds us, “successful sports teams always bring in ‘seasoned’ players to the clubhouse, because they know that the physical attributes of younger players isn’t enough to win a title. The battle-tested ‘old hands’ . . . who can share their hard-won knowledge and insight . . . as well as the young studs, can win it all.”
Solomon, one of the wisest and wealthiest monarchs of all time wrote, “Iron sharpens iron”. (Prov 27:17). In the sharpening process, there is only one blade that needs sharpening. The other piece of iron helps remove edges that hinder the edge and sharpness of the blade. A sharp blade needs a seasoned piece of iron to make it smooth and surgically effective.
If you are a business or ministry entrepreneur and value the insights of someone who has been there . . . hire one of us to be a sounding board . . . contract us to be a coach . . . bring us on your team to challenge the status quo.
If you are burning the candle at both ends . . . look for one of us to help the flame to burn bright and not go out.
If you are stuck and can’t gain any momentum . . . give one of us a chance to free you from things that are holding you back.
If your professional and personal life is close to unraveling . . . reach out to one of us and we’ll help you tie a knot at then end of your rope on which to hang.
One of the lessons we have learned in life is that nothing is free . . . you get what you pay for. We are money well spent. We are worth it.
Hire us . . . Hire me. I’ll be your iron.