Any smart employer or start up would be smart to consider an Inbetweener (1960-65) for hire. Just take a look at what The New York Times said dispelling the myth that older workers are less productive and generally are weighing down the economy.
I agree with their observation. Why? Simply because I’m an older worker and I was hatched when there was a lot going on. In fact, the first cold war, economic downturn not experienced since the 1920s depression. There is a strong likelihood that my parents were children of the Great Depression, and raised me to be able to cope with such an event.
Think about it, the next recession to hit occurred just as I was graduating from high school, completed college, ready to get started with optimism and a strong work ethic bestowed by my parents.
Employers are missing the key element that brings the younguns the right example and proper expectations to reality. We were born to be responsible, accountable and soldiers of work.
This same group that is debated also worked through the optimism that emerged in the late 1980s. Some of the greatest discoveries and technological wonders impacted the world just as we were getting started. There were no fancy training courses or charts to reference, we simply had to have a “can do” attitude to survive. If we survived the prolific foreclosures of that era, unscathed, it was likely because we capitalized on others’ misfortune and scraped our pennies together to buy our first house. Our aging parents were perplexed as to why were were putting home ownership before having children.
Not really surprising, looking back. Almost anyone could have a child, but mostly everyone was uncertain whether the economy and opportunities were going to get any worse. So we had to seize the moment and dive in.
We were fueled by the fear of not wanting to have to face what our parents’ childhood did, nor did we want to be victim of what was circulating around us: doom and gloom. Not just economically either. There was a cold war going on.
I watch CNN’s series on the 80s and it sometimes makes me wonder if I was asleep during this period? However, the biggest news stories of the day did register on my radar. Yet I was simply too busy buckling down and working to keep from drowning from economic disaster.
One could take a look at that period and extrapolate a culture of survivorship, strong work ethic and ingenuity that came along with that era. We weren’t afraid to start at the bottom and work our way up from the bottom. So different from the sense of entitlement expounding today.
So, if I happen to be surrounded by Millennials, they should be so lucky. Anyone in their 50s, born of the 80s careers, has an element of work ethic and the right attitude that an employer should want to sprinkle into their workforce.
Today’s employers think they’re pretty nifty to use technology to prove who is producing and who should be perished to the unemployment line. Metrics have displaced instinct and doing what is right for their business and their customers. Why, because they have strengths that are likely not acknowledged, never mind recognized:
- They know how to get it done right the first time – slower does not mean stupid.
- Speed and agility is aligned with accuracy – what happens when it’s done wrong?
- They have pride in their work and are often overlooked because employers want to fast track the younger workers to ensure that they are cultivated to perform.
- Beauty is often disassociated with age. When there are so many beautiful people that are aging and setting strong examples for the youth.
- They avoid sitting around feeling sorry for themselves because they were not brought up to think that way.
- They were taught that if things aren’t going your way, it means you have to work harder.
Can you think of other attributes that the aging workforce contributes? I certainly can think of at least a dozen more. But I’m more excited to write this commentary and send it out into the universe to capture others that agree and stop the downward spiral of misinterpreting value that should be embraced, not shuffled off into obscurity.
Then again, there are some of us that write a Blog to expel our wisdom to the masses. To head off mistakes that surely are happening from this mistaken philosophy. There are simply so many of us that began our careers at the worst time in decades, until recently, that can be learned from, not banished. We’re survivors, we’re really smart, and we have the “can do” attitude that no metric or test can uncover.