Baby Boomers have charged social and cultural revolutions and built vast, far-reaching corporate empires. They have helped weave the social, political and economic fabric of our country today. Their many achievements have made them one of the greatest generations of all time. Their wealth and influence is greater than any other generation today.
Born between 1946 and 1964 (46 – 64 years of age) Baby Boomers are 80 million strong. The Boomer is the largest generation, with a population nearly doubles that of Gen X. Boomers are seated at the very top of the worlds largest, most powerful companies and as established career professionals, they have tremendous buying power. In fact, approximately 70 percent of law firm partners are Baby Boomers. They will cede their positions to to their Gen X children when Boomers retire.
The 1960s is arguably one of the most defining cultural moments in 20th Century US history. Revolution was in the streets and intellect shaped social change. Value Shifters included civil rights leaders, such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Malcolm X or musical heroes, such as the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. This revolutionary spirit has not faded for Value Shifters. Value Shifters voted for Obama, were outspoken opponents of water-boarding and believe the dual wars in the Middle East are reminiscent of Vietnam.
While Gen X might work to live, the Boomer segment, Worker-Bees, live to work. Gordon Gekko, the fictional Wall Street executive, perfectly personifies the Worker-Bee. As technology brings us closer to work and each other, Worker-Bees — just as Gordon Gekko — embrace every new innovation. Think of the typical buzzing Blackberry. As work is life, Worker-Bees also define their social status and personal value with their professional achievements. Moreover, the economic crisis is putting Worker-Bees’ retirement plans on hold — as social security and their 401ks’ have shrunk.
More doing, less thinking. Independent Doers thrive on action — whether it’s leading a Fortune 100 company or charging political movement or donating to charitable causes. With the you-can-do-it spirit of the 1960s, Independent Doers demonstrate leadership, confidence and courage in the face of defeat. Combined with their larger pocket books and need for action, Independent Doers contribute to many charitable causes — both financially and through volunteerism.
With independence comes many challenges. Competitors go beyond Independent Doers and thrive on the race. For instance, Enron’s shamed leader, Jeffery Skilling was a competitor and based his life on winning — always being a step ahead of everyone else. Competitors are winners and as such, they are leaders of muli-national corporations. Competitors are also considered Helicopter Parents — who fight to pave the right path for their children, such as enrolling them in exclusive private schools.
Safety Net — Boomers have seen their savings plummet and many have put retirement on hold. Some have even lost their jobs and health insurance premiums are becoming more of an issue for this aging population. Many of the constructs Boomers helped build are crumbling beneath them and security is a growing concern. Whether it’s airport security, job security, financial security, Boomers are facing challenging times.
Boomers are re-embracing their hardworking, dedicated and driven ethos. While their dreams might be on hold for a couple of years, they will prevail. We should expect Value Shifters to push hard on political, economic and social reform; Worker Bees to enjoy the prolonged rat race; Independent Doers to volunteer time over donations; and Competitors to get back up and fight for their jobs and salaries.
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