New ways to work beyond your first career
The world has changed dramatically in the last 20-30 years and is totally different from the world that existed in the late 1940s and early 1950s when the concept of retirement was first widely implemented. As people are living longer healthier lives the thought of 3 decades of leisure during retirement is not that appealing, especially to the active, progressive Baby Boomer generation, facing retirement in the next 5-10 years.
Baby Boomers are a generation like no other that has pioneered new things their whole lives and are now the first group of adults to enjoy a long healthy, active, non-child bearing season of adult life. Boomers are the group born between 1946 and 1964 who lived their teen years in the 1960s and 70s. Their teen years were full of causes and revolution, witnessing the assassinations of leaders, widespread protests and the development of the civil rights movement. Seeing these events and how the world was not working helped to shape this group into the world changers they are today.
Boomers have a deep desire to make a difference in the world. They also tend to be competitive and ambitious. Boomers are now stopping to inquire about the lasting value of the outcomes they have achieved. Boomers have acquired both prosperity and position as signs of their success. By in large Boomers have not had the discretionary time they would have liked as they have worked so hard for their success and now feel they want time to make a difference to the broader world. Many are looking for meaningful ways to make a contribution in the years ahead and leave a legacy.
How the world has changed
Modern medicine has extended people’s life spans dramatically. While HIV and Aids are wreaking havoc with South Africa’s age expectancies, people living without the disease can expect to live longer than their parent’s generation.
The world has also become ‘flatter’ meaning that the playing field has been leveled as individuals now have more access to opportunities through technological advances. Technology has also totally transformed the world of work with work-flow software, supply-chain management, outsourcing and sharing of information enabling broader collaboration on projects.
The fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of the Cold War, the release of Nelson Mandela and the riots at Tiananmen Square in China all occurring within 8-months of 1989 have also resulted in a political change in the world where power has shifted from governments and companies to individuals who now have the power to organise themselves and oppose systems and regimes that don’t abide by accepted norms.
The Boomer generation has approached midlife after 30 years of hard work at their careers. They are taking a look around and questioning their lives and their meaning. As their engagement with corporate work declines over the next few years, Boomers will need to decide what to do next. But the good news is that this new season could be a time of liberation and exploration, finding out what you have always wanted to do and having the time, energy and resources to do it.
No other group in history has ever had a non-childrearing period in their adult lives where they are free to pursue their dreams, and healthy and wealthy enough to do so. This is a time to explore and discover the meaningful and productive roles and activities that you would like to pursue in the 20-30 mid-life years ahead of you before resting in your old age – and the options are as diverse as you are.
Written by Lynda Smith from Refirement Network www.refirementnetwork.com
Lynda runs workshops called “Moving from work 1.0 to 2.0 and navigating your journey”