Move over grandpa...give Junior a chance
By Joye Ritchie-Greene
Sep 28, 2008 - 11:15:46 AM
There is an anger raging in this land, but this time it is not the youth. For the past two years, the oldest set of “baby boomers” have begun to reach the retirement age of sixty to sixty-five, however many of them are holding on to their desks with death-like grips.
These “baby boomers,” born in the late 1940s and 1950s, have been running businesses throughout the world for the past four decades. They have been described as the “me” generation and, as such, are having great difficulty relinquishing the intoxicating power that has propelled them for the past forty something years.
Slowly and painfully, these 50 and 60 something year olds, allowed members of “generation X” to enter the work force, but after almost two decades they are still not quite ready to pass on the mantle of power. The irony is that the children of these baby boomers are now a part of this work force, but their parents are now unwilling to move on with their lives to make room for them.
While research is not exact about the age groups of these three distinct generations, the majority of the data reveals that the baby boomers were born between 1946 and 1961; the generation Xers were born between 1962 and 1980; and generation Y were born between 1981 and 1994.
Because that generation who joined the work pool over 40 years ago are now being asked to move on to make space for younger, and in many instances, less expensive labour, they are disgruntled and want to know why they need to leave if they can still do their jobs.
The problem is that there are not enough jobs for every employable person, so there must be a revolving door of sorts to allow the old the leave and the new to enter. While these “baby boomers” do not wish to be considered “old,” the cycle of life or the continuum of life must proceed.
Unfortunately, too many of these “baby boomers” are kicking and scratching as they are being pushed out the doors and their successors are now faced with the problem of filling the void with the offspring of these baby boomers.
While the baby boomers were said to be the “me generation,” their children are characterized as wanting things now and waiting for very little (www.inspiredtraining.net). The difficulty that generation X is facing now, is being able to fit comfortably in a workplace where loyalty and job satisfaction is not necessarily the order of the day for their subordinates, that is, generation Y.
Unless the leaders in the workplace recognize the distinct differences between themselves and their young hires, they will have very quick turnovers leading to low productivity. However, for many generation Xers this may not be a problem because they are usually characterized as being very self-sufficient, which means they would try and do undone tasks themselves.
So where does this leave the workforce if the fast-moving, click-it and fix-it generation Y is not given a chance to become a part of an organization? Laws of mandatory retirement were put in place to ensure that there would be jobs for each new generation, but if parents are not willing to make room for their own children to get a job, then how will the world keep turning?
If you are still sitting behind your desk well past your 60th birthday you need to recognize that you are denying a college graduate a chance at a job. If you have not made any plans for your retirement and are banking on the company keeping you around because you have “special skills,” think again. More than likely there is a computer or a computer programme that someone in your child’s generation created that could probably do the same job.
About the author: Joye Ritchie-Greene is an Educational Consultant, Writer and Martial Arts Instructor. She is the owner/operator of The Bahamas Martial Arts Academy; president of Time-Out Productions; and is also a columnist for the Freeport News. She has a B.A. in English and an M.S. in Human Resources, resides in Freeport, Grand Bahama with her husband and enjoys playing tennis. Joye can be reached at
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