Generational Differences – Communication Guidelines

Successful workplace communication involves communicating effectively with members of each generational group. You might be interacting with team members, employees, vendors, or customers who are from a different generational group than yourself. To communicate successfully you must be able to adapt to the Traditionalists, the Baby Boomers, the Gen X, and the Gen Y.

According to figures reported by RainmakerThinking the 2005 workforce is comprised of the following percentage of workers.

o Traditionalists 7.5%

o Baby Boomers 42%

o Generation X 29.5%

o Generation Y 21%

Members of these various generations exhibit different sets of work styles and work standards, which can make communication difficult. To assist you and your team in communicating effectively here are some guidelines for communicating with individuals in each generational category.

Keep in mind, however, that while these guidelines are helpful and tell us something about these groups of people, not every individual in a particular generational group matches the stereotype perfectly. Keep in mind also that some individuals might fall within a certain category because of their age, but their thoughts and actions suggest that they belong to a different group.

Traditionalists, Born: 1922-1945

In communicating with Traditionalists you should generally …

o Appeal to the greater good

o Appeal to their sense of right / wrong

o Communicate formally

o Communicate face-to-face

o Communicate with computer technology with caution

Baby Boomers, Born: 1946-1964

In communicating with Baby Boomers you should generally …

o Emphasize fairness to all involved

o Use brainstorming techniques

o Communicate using face-to-face method or phone call

o Communicate more verbally than electronically

o Communicate with reference to the financial bottom line, when trying to justify a position

Gen X, Born: 1965-1976

In communicating with Gen X you should generally …

o Stress personal security

o Stress personal goals

o Stress task at hand

o Give advice through a mentor

o Communicate informally

Gen Y, Born: 1977 – 2002

In communicating with Gen Y you should generally …

o Communicate using full range of technology

o Expect constant feedback and reinforcement

o Share information using instant messaging, Internet, DVDs, MP3 players

o Focus on outcomes, not protocol

o Explain exact procedures

Practice these strategies for communicating effectively with each generational group and build bridges to better communication.

Adult Lifestyle Community – A Definition

Now that our aging population has visibly become a force to be reckoned with, many homebuilders are discovering mature adults to be a potent market. But often homebuilders tend to miss the market by focusing more on the home (which is after all what builders are selling), rather than the lifestyle (which is what drives most of the sales activity in an adult lifestyle community).

Many developers and homebuilders operate from the misconception that mature buyers prefer to live in homes that are inexpensive and focus on pricing their homes as low as possible, believing that product and price are what drives the sale. And surely there are adult lifestyle purchasers for whom price is a prime consideration. But most potential residents of an adult lifestyle community are looking for three things: adult, lifestyle and community.

Purchasers in adult communities want to be sure that the community they are considering moving to is indeed an “adult” community. As such, many such communities are age-restricted, with a hard and fast set of rules that precludes the possibility of children moving in. Of course, in jurisdictions that do not allow discrimination on the basis of age, there are other ways to “restrict” who moves in. This could range from so-called restrictive covenants registered on title of the property to rules about the permanent number of residents that may occupy any one dwelling unit (usually no more than two) under a condominium corporation or a rental agreement. Finally, the best method to maintain the integrity of an adult lifestyle community is to offer homes that are specifically designed for an older, childless demographic. The market will take care of the rest.

Some builder want to hedge their bets by offering large two storey homes in adult communities, imagining that they would be appealing to younger baby boomers that still have children at home. This fallacy results in pleasing neither the younger baby boomers that do not want to live in a community comprised largely of older people, nor the active adults seeking a childfree lifestyle.

As stated above, one of the most important considerations on the part of the purchaser in an adult community involves lifestyle. Many people in their 50s and 60s who are either retired or semi-retired have a lot of leisure time and a plethora of interests about which they are very passionate. Many are into golf in a big way and seek communities that are near golf courses. Many are into personal fitness and look for communities that provide exercise facilities. There are nearly as many interests as there are individuals seeking to live the adult lifestyle. Those communities that recognize this very important fact tend to do very well, while those that don’t, not so much.

Finally, active adults tend to be very social and seek to live in a community where they find others of similar interests and values. Many of these communities have organized activities, such as a bridge club, a golf group, round-robin tennis tournaments or group projects such as quilting or knitting. A sense of being a part of a community of like-minded individuals really is one of the most important aspects of a successful adult lifestyle community. These are the reasons why a community clubhouse is probably one of the most important amenities that any adult lifestyle community could provide. And the greater the variety of amenities and interests, the more people will be attracted to live there.

Some Interesting Facts About Menopause

Menopause is actually three distinct phases: perimenopause, menopause and post menopausal. In the United States, the average age of menopause is 52 years old.

There is wide age range for menopause, it can occur naturally between 40 and 60 years old. If menopause happens earlier than 40 years old, this is considered premature menopause.

If menopause happens earlier than 45 years old, this is considered early menopause. Early menopause can occur due to genetic disorders, illness, medical treatment or surgery.

Women who have early menopause due to surgery usually have more serious symptoms such as hot flashes due to the sudden hormone imbalance.

Due to the aging baby boomer generation, about 6,000 women are going into menopause very day, this makes 2,000,000 women each year. Since baby boomers are the largest generation in history, this is unprecedented. This number will decrease dramatically for the next few generations.

Not all women get menopause symptoms

In women that do report symptoms, hot flashes are the most common, with 90% of women with symptoms reporting hot flashes.

Hot flashes are usually the worst at the beginning of perimenopause, this may be due to the body adjusting to the hormone imbalance that is taking place.

Women with more education and higher incomes report better overall health and fewer symptoms.

Employed women fair better than unemployed women, they also report better overall health and fewer symptoms.

Only 10% of women report depression, anxiety or other negative emotions about menopause.

Depression and anxiety are reported more in the US than in other countries.

In 2002, the Women’s Health Initiative stopped a study into to the use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in menopausal women. This study was stopped before its conclusion because it revealed serious health risks involved in HRT use, these risks included heart disease, breast cancer and blood clots. Prior to this study, HRT was the treatment of choice for menopause, but after this study, HRT use dropped almost overnight.

Menopause might not be as bad as you expect, over 80% of women say that menopause didn’t impact their quality of life at all.

Menopause is unique for each woman, many factors such as diet, exercise, stress levels, genetics and outlook can all influence menopause.

Women who smoke go into menopause earlier than non-smokers.

Post menopausal women have an increased risk of heart disease and osteoporosis.

Asian women who live in Asian countries have virtually no hot flashes. Studies have been done to determine why this is the case, it has been widely attributed to higher consumption of soy products.

Soy may or may not work to control hot flashes. Some studies have shown that it reduces the intensity, but not the frequency of hot flashes. Other studies have shown that soy consumption may interfere with the body’s ability to produce estrogen and progesterone, the hormones responsible for controlling menstruation and ovulation. This would mean that soy is actually working at cross purposes with the body.

In cultures where older people are more respected and aging is viewed as a positive experience, women have less symptoms and problems associated with menopause.

According to a Gallup poll from 1998, 51% of post menopausal women between the ages of 50-65 reported a greater sense of happiness than women in other age groups. The other age groups reported as follows: only 10 % of women in their 20s reported being happy, 17% of women in their 30s and 16% of women in their 40s.

3 Super Boomer Expert Dating Tips

With over 57 million Baby Boomer generation American women, and of those, almost half, 25 million, are single women. In their mid-40s to mid-60s year old Baby Boomer generation Women cohort, many of those women, are like myself, single again, either by the result of divorce or death of a spouse. For the group over 55 years old, a number of the Boomer single women have even been married more than one time, with multiple divorces or death of their husbands. Dating again now that you are divorced or a widow? With so many Boomer Women dating again after divorce or the death of spouse, is dating the second time round all about competition with your best girlfriends? Or are you hoping that you can you take a different approach?

With women dating younger men, aka Cougar Dating, and women dating multiple men before she decides which suitor is worthy of her heart, no longer are single Boomer women socially stuck waiting for men to make all the romantic relationship dating initiation decisions. Afterall, at this time in your life, when you want to date again, isn’t it about what do you want? No longer is wanting to have children and settle down a driving force for dating, coursthip, and marriage for you. As a matter of fact, many Boomer Women have careers and assets of their own. They are not 100% dependent financially on men for their lifestyle and livelihood. That translates into your dating life, too. That’s so freeing, isn’t it?

Single Boomer Woman Dating Tip #1: Do Surround Yourself With Romantic Beauty

It ‘s the 21st century and you have money of your own. No longer to you have to wait for Saturday night to roll around to see if your gentleman caller brings you roses. Instead, you are the captain of your own ship. Go ahead and while you are doing your weekly food shopping, purchase a bouquet of your favorite flowers for yourself. Take a look at the floral section. It is often quite close the entrance of the store. Look at the beautiful colors and shapes of the flowers. Inhale and smell their fragrant perfume. Which ones are calling to you to take them home and enjoy? Stores from the range of Costco to the neighborhood grocers all a variety of wonderful floral bouquets. In the 21st century, it is stylish to love yourself and give to yourself first. Embrace it! Because you’re worth it! When you surround yourself with romantic beauty, you feed your spirit and will find yourself smiling more and more, making you magnetically attractive to others for dates.

Single Boomer Woman Dating Tip #2: Do Practice Superb Self-Care

Whether is getting a weekly manicure and pedicure at the nail spa, giving yourself a manicure and pedicure, getting together with your best girlfriends to give each other nail treatments, give yourself the best care you can afford. You can even find great deals at the local beauty schools. you can often find them by doing a simple search online. While you are at, look into the fun splurge of getting a full body massage. There are so many massage studios now at strip malls that you can afford this formerly luxury spa resort only treat right near where you live. Your excellent grooming reflects your self-love and self-confidence. Studies demonstrate that men find confidence super attractive in women they want to date.

Single Boomer Woman Dating Tip #3: Do Immerse Your Life with Beautiful Sounds

Now that you are caring for your eyes and body, what about your ears and insides? Between all of the music downloads and everything which is free online, you can immerse your aural senses with beautiful, relaxing, and stimulating sounds. How do like the meditative and relaxing sounds of Tibetan bowls? Do you prefer crystal bowls or metal? Perhaps the string instrument trills of Vivaldi better fits to your taste? Do fill your home with beautiful sounds to feed and nurture your spirit. When you listen to marvelous sounds, it stimulates parts of your brain which words alone cannot, warding off Alzheimer’s. And the better you de-stress yourself and relax during the day, the more fully restful and rejuvenating your sleep at night, making your natural magnetic beauty shine and attract dates during the day.

As you practice these self-loving tips, your own personal magnetism will increase massively. You will radiate joyful health, vitality and attractiveness, making you irresistible to single men for your dating social life.

Bowflex for Baby Boomers

There are hundreds and maybe thousands of physical fitness guru’s all claiming to have the perfect answer, the “magic bullet” for physical fitness and a solution to a healthier body and lifestyle. Well, I’m not going to claim to have the perfect answer! However, I do have a few tips on an easy to use piece of exercise equipment that may be one of the best for all ages and is particularly suitable for those of us who are either baby boomers or a bit more seasoned. It’s the Bowflex…any version but a basic machine such as the Bowflex Sport is a perfect place to start.

So what’s the catch here? Absolutely no catch whatsoever….. just an enthusiasm to share some ideas on perhaps one of the most efficient, versatile and affordable exercise machines available for home use. The Bowflex combines aerobic and strength training with a smooth pulley and power rod resistance system that’s easy set up. You can easily switch resistance with the power rods through a wide range of motions for a complete strength and aerobic workout. Now don’t get me wrong on the expected results. The Bowflex ads show smiling, well muscled young people whom we all would like to look like, no matter what age. Well, now you may just want to get back some muscle tone and some of that past strength and endurance you once had. At any rate, here we are at 55, 60, 65 or older and card carrying members of AARP. Most of us simply want to maintain or improve our strength, muscle tone and respiratory efficiency. Today many doctors and physical fitness experts are espousing weight training and especially the use of free weights as we age. Everyone now acknowledges that maintaining and / or building our strength is critical in later years. We will certainly function with greater confidence and renewed strength but we will also be less likely to fall and if we do, less likely to suffer fractures since strength training adds to our bone mass. What we don’t hear talked about too frequently is the potential of injury with free weights if not properly supervised. Added to the injury possibility, there is also the need for other pieces of equipment such as various benches and supports in order to get a full range of activity with free weights.

So, let’s talk about the Bowflex. Perhaps you’ve seen the infomercials and watched as the group of well muscled young men and women gathered around a Bowflex machine and marveled at how easy it works and the quality of the workout it provides. So, how does this apply to you…at 55, 60, 65 years or older?

First, you can safely use the Bowflex without needing a partner. However before staring a program check with your physician to insure that you have no physical ailments that would preclude vigorous exercise. The Bowflex is a home device and since it’s in your home, it’s available at anytime. I must caution you on the hype of “now you can use it anytime of your choosing”. That may be correct, but to be successful you must establish a set time every day for your workout. Once you start slipping or changing times, you run the very real danger of skipping days and then a week or more and then suddenly you have no set program and you’re back to being a couch potato.

The Bowflex machine comes with a very nice manual of exercises and instructions and most will also have an instructional DVD. Let’s walk through some Bowflex 101 in the real world and set some realistic goals and simple to follow instructions:

1.Maintain a set time schedule either daily or every other day. Many prefer early morning exercise routines so that it doesn’t get cancelled out later in the day by unexpected events…..or lost will power. Early workouts also tend to set a positive, go get ’em attitude when those endorphins kick in from good prolonged vigorous exercise. Many experts say that the most effective time for the body to exercise is mid-afternoon and the least effective is at night. Working out late in the evening may also cause some sleep disruption.

2.Review the exercise manual that Bowflex provides but don’t become a slave to the described routines. While the programs were developed by experts, let your own sense of what’s working be your guide.

3.After reviewing the manual, establish your beginning program routine and stick to it for at least two full weeks or longer without deviation. Maintaining a consistent pattern will allow you to assess whether the program you’ve selected is comfortable for you and not too boring. It’s important to make the workout interesting as well as challenging. Boredom can lead to you dropping out so don’t let that happen!

4.Design your program to include aerobic as well as strength activities. While the Bowflex will greatly assist in developing strength, the aerobic exercises are terrific and important.

5.Start off with easy resistance power rods. Remember, this is going to be a lifestyle addition and not a quick fix so there is no reason to use too much weight resistance at the beginning. It is best to get comfortable with how the Bowflex operates using lower resistance and then gradually increase the weight / resistance.

6.Don’t feel compelled to “do the manual”. Select the exercises that work well with your strength and flexibility and rotate through them. Make sure, though, that you balance upper body, arms, legs and abdominals in your program.

7.Make sure you take advantage of the aerobic rowing motion. The seat glides easily and the resistance power rods and pulleys are exceptionally smooth in operation.

8.Be Creative! In a short time, you’ll be totally at ease and be able to handle any of the Bowflex routines. When that happens, you’re now ready to mix and match and create new routines on your own.

So, while this is an exercise machine for all ages, the Bowflex from my experience is exceptionally well suited for the great generation of Baby Boomers and beyond. It’s simplicity of set up, easy switching process from one exercise routine to another, wide range of weight resistance and easy fluid motion give this machine an A++ rating in my book!. While this is not an advertisement, you may want to check out the Bowflex website or other websites that offer exercise equipment. At any rate, get started on a healthier life style.

Be active, be healthy and be happy!

Dating Older Men – How to Find Guys in Their 50s

If you are looking to date men who are in their 50s, you’ve got to know a few things about what they’re looking for, just so you know whether they’re looking for something you can offer them in a relationship. It’s not simply a question of acting differently or wanting to date older men for the wrong reasons. If you genuinely can’t click, then it simply won’t work out. This article is going to cover some of the things that men who are in their 50s may be looking in a prospective female partner.

1. Someone who radiates inner beauty: this is something men who have been around the block a few times would value. Of course, it may not be the case with all men who are in their 50s, but it is a fair generalisation to make; in their previous relationships, they might have been so caught up in maintaining a material image, they might just want someone who appreciates the good things in life whose beauty shines from inside them. This is somewhat difficult to offer, since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but it is something that they may look for.

2. Someone to take it slow with: one of the biggest problems men in their 50s will realize is that they might have been so busy being busy that suddenly, they are in their late 40s or early 50s and it suddenly kicks in that they’re running out of time to live their life how they want to live it. They want to slow things down, so if you want to go for heart-pumping adventures, you might not necessarily get along with him. Of course, this is again a generalisation. It’s a great ice breaker at any rate to ask him whether he’s looking to slow down.

3. Someone who wants more than fun: usually, someone who just wants to have fun is someone who’s not going to be hanging around for long. A man who is in his 50s does want someone interesting, but they would want her to stick around and be a friend before anything else. If you can offer friendship but maybe aren’t someone your friends would call fun, this means that you are still able to find men who are in their 50s. You just have to emphasise that you can offer him that friendship as your “selling point”.

Finding guys in their 50s is only half the game. The other half is knowing what you can offer them. If you can offer them companionship, inner beauty and someone who can stick around, then you’ve got a good chance of having a good relationship with him.

Smart or Stylish – How to Tell the Difference

Recently there was an article in my local newspaper about helping women over 40 dress on-trend without looking like a teenager. As I read the advice and looked at the clothing examples, something was not quite right. I have seen it in other articles and on the women I meet while out networking.

It is the difference between looking smart and looking stylish or as one of my clients said – between looking neat and looking smashing.

As Baby Boomer women, we have been taught to dress well and to co-ordinate a bit. We walk out the door feeling smartly dressed. All the articles in newspapers and women’s magazines show us that too. What they do not show us is how to lift ourselves to the highest level where we always walk out the door feeling fabulous and smashing.

Here is my simple guide for Baby Boomer women so that you can recognise the difference between smart and stylish. It is easier than you think.

Smart and Dull or Stylish with Good Contrast

A smart and dull example would be a woman wearing black pants, top, shoes and handbag. Her jacket might be dark blue and she is wearing a blue and black patterned scarf which co-ordinates and brings the two colours together. This is following the correct style principles but the colours are very similar in tone and darkness. The result is smart but dull. When you also choose to wear a dark top or blouse with a high neckline, it drains the colour from your face.

To look smart, stylish and fabulous, wear a light and dark contrast. An example of this would be to wear a blue top and jacket, white or light-coloured pants and a white and blue scarf. It is the same style principles but there is a more obvious contrast between the colours. A white and blue scarf rather than a blue and white scarf works better as the white brings light to your face. The result is smart, stylish and fabulous.

Smart and Missing Something or Stylish with Colour Co-ordination

Magazine articles delight in showing a model wearing a black and cream or black and white skirt with a white or cream textured top. Then they go and add different coloured jackets and shoes or accessories that match the jacket. Black and cream or black and white can be worn with any other colour. It is smart dressing to add another colour to liven up the black and white combination. The missing something is an accessory that brings all the colours together. To look stylish you need to bring the black and white or black and cream colours into the accessories. Matching the shoes to the jacket is not enough. It is smart but not stylish.

A stylish woman might wear black pants and shoes, an orange top and a black, orange and white scarf. The scarf brings all the colours together. When you wear two or three plain-coloured items, your main accessory needs to combine all the colours. A plain black or plain orange necklace would take the outfit from stylish back to smart as you have matched but not co-ordinated.

Smart and Wrong Accessories or Stylish with Co-ordinated Accessories

I see many examples of accessories looking smart and colour matched but not stylish.

A model might be shown wearing cream pants, with a black and white patterned top plus a black and white necklace and black, white and red bangles. Many times the necklace matches the top and looks great close-up but from a distance it can disappears into the pattern. When you have a graphic, bold or multi-coloured top, do not wear a necklace. To lift the black and white patterned top or shirt from smart to stylish, add instead black and white earrings or wear a multi-bangle combination to two black, one white and one other colour of your choice. Alternatively, put on one bangle that includes all those colours.

An example of a stylish combination might be when you wear white pants and top, brown jacket, shoes and handbag, a brown and black scarf and an animal print belt. The scarf, or it could be jewellery, adds a touch of black and this is a great colour contrast over the white top. You have taken two main colours and added a tiny bit of a third for style.

Simple Stylish Rule

Wear two colours or one colour and a pattern in unequal proportions. Add a tiny touch of a third colour if desired. Then add at least one accessory that brings those two or three colours together in medium or bright shades so that you shine rather than look dull. Being stylish is when you are a whole rather than separate bits of colours and patterns.

Then in the words of my client, you will always be noticed positively, remembered easily and feel smashing.

If You Think Your Life Is Flying By, You’re Probably Doing Something Right

Sometimes is just seems like life is flying by. Before you know it, it’s Friday again. Maybe it’s a function of having a big family, or maybe it’s just the phase we’re going through. For some reason, I expected it to be different.

They say that when you hit age 40, you’re over the hill. So I guess being two decades past that, I must be slipping down that slope at a pretty good clip. When I was younger, I wondered if it would slow down some, you know, as the hair thinned and the knees creaked as much as my rocking chair. But no!

Which brings me to our youngest child’s graduation. Yeah, The Joanster, little Joansie, Joana Wee, has finished high school with flying colors and is soon to be a Tiger. Our baby is a woman!

How did this happen, all of a sudden? Wasn’t it just the other day she put on her sisters two-piece, plucked the resident cards from the junk drawer and strolled 3 blocks down to the local pool. At two years old. Jill came home and said, “Hey, where’s Joanie?” Did we panic? Is the Pope German? Running along Halls Ferry like we were on fire, pleading with people walking their dogs, hearts constricted like the Grinch’s. Thank God the life guards knew us and didn’t turn us into Social Services.

Then there’s the next one up. Mary Pat is marrying in November. Huh? Little MP, the kid who regularly donned pink snow boots and stocking cap to watch TV… in June. The athlete who should have never been allowed to run cross country, since her face always turned redder than Mark McGuire’s before Congress. THAT Mary Pat?

And did I mention the wifey is retiring. Wait just a minute here, sports fans. I got four years on her! Just kidding, since she has fought the good fight for a long time, and is definitely in line for this move.

The flip side of all these significant events, once you get past the amazement and the tears and the “Huh?’s”, is that me and that retired lady will be empty-nesters in a couple of months. The recent grad thinks that maybe we’re being a bit too giddy about this prospect, even as she “stresses out” about moving on and out. And maybe we are, but it is hard to contain our glee. It feels like a long, slow, deep breath, followed by a smile of gratitude, and accomplishment. Theirs, and ours, really. Just a memory are the years of doing the happy dance after finding a dollar in the dryer, or cashing in the coin jar to get milk and formula. Gone but not forgotten are the long nights of wondering if one child would ever stop throwing up, or another would ever get home, or still another would ever find their path.

At 60, I guess I’ve put in a good 75% of my allotted time. A glance at my own high school classlist shows a few who can’t say that. So, trust me, I’m not complaining.

But maybe I need to borrow a line from Captain James Kirk of the Starship Enterprise if things are going stay at this warp speed.

“Scottie, I need more power!”


7 Ways An Aging Workforce Will Affect Human Resources

The number of employees working into their senior years continues to grow for a variety of reasons, with financial need, the failure of private pension plans, and lack of sufficient health benefits being among the most prominent. Older workers typically bring many vital assets to the table, such as solid life experience, better attitudes, work flexibility and an interest in learning new things. However, there are many issues for management to consider when comes to successfully manage an increasingly “graying” workforce. Here are seven of the most common ones:

1. RATIO OF OLDER WORKERS – Compared with the past, their numbers can be expected to grow disproportionately in the years to come. This is not an issue in the US alone – but a pattern being observed globally.

2. LONGER-TERM RETIREMENTS – Today the average number of years that workers spend in retirement is more than 30, compared with just a few years of retirement a century ago. This means that many will choose to remain working part time, while others may take a break to travel and enjoy their free time before beginning their job search again.

3. HEALTH ISSUES – Chronic health problems and age-related disabilities need to be considered. Among employees over 55, arthritis is the number one chronic condition. The implementation of better wellness programs and similar initiatives offers possible ways of avoiding excessive time off for illness.

4. MULTI-GENERATIONS – In the years to come, HR professionals will be increasingly challenged by the need for multi-generational workers to successfully function as a team. Different generations often hold opposing attitudes towards work and life. If not managed properly, these differences could result in ineffective performance in the workplace. The pairing of an experienced, competitive baby-boomer with a lifestyle-centric, laid-back Gen Y employee represents just one of the potential situations. It will take a proactive leader to understand the problems that are likely to arise, and how to pre-emptively act to avoid them.

5. AGE DISCRIMINATION – With more senior Americans still in the workforce, we can expect to see an increasing number of lawsuits being initiated by disgruntled employees seeking to play the “age” card. Workers over the age of 40 are protected from discrimination on the basis of age by the provisions of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (which affects employers with 20+ employees). HR will need to be educated on the latest laws and the trends in discrimination-based litigation.

6. SUCCESSION PLANNING – With fewer “young” workers entering the job market due to lower fertility rates in the US and most the industrialized world, succession planning will become more and more difficult. The talent may just not available in every area. Using remote workers from across the country may need to be considered.

7. MEDICAL COSTS – Older employees will not necessary cost more in healthcare. Although it is a well-known fact that health benefits for older workers are costly due to age-related diseases, younger workers also have a host of cost-related health issues such as smoking, pregnancy, lack of exercise, and obesity. Older workers who qualify may have medicare benefits as well.

Although the change in demographics may change the face of talent acquisition and management, with simple strategies, the change may be a smoother transition for business.

-Tricia Folliero

Vice President, Sanna Mattson Macleod

Generation X – An Introduction To Our Likes & Dislikes

In 1991, 28-year old author Douglas Coupland wrote a novel called Generation X: Tales of an Accelerated Culture. The phrase entered the contemporary dialect shortly after the novel’s release. Coupland portrays a group of three friends who have escaped civilization for tranquil Palm Springs, California, telling each other stories while they toil in menial jobs. Through these stories, the novel reveals the anguish felt by those born in the early 1960’s who are Baby Boomers but feel no connection to their cultural icons. For this age group, the “X” symbolizes an unknown value for a generation awakening into the consciousness of its reality as a distinct group but simultaneously being culturally eclipsed by the Baby Boomer Generation (Wikipedia, n.d.). The phrase Generation X defines an age group pointlessly searching for an identity that does not exist.

In demography, marketing, popular culture and the social sciences, the phrase Generation X classifies the generation immediately after the Baby Boomers. According to William Strauss and Neil Howe in their book Generations, the lows and highs in cultural tendencies as opposed to rates of birth indicate that this generation is composed of those born between 1961 and 1981 (Strauss & Howe, 1990). They are also known as the “13th Generation” because they are the thirteenth generation born since the generation of those in the American Revolution (Wikipedia, n.d.). The total number of people born into Generation X is now estimated to be at over 50 million people, surpassing the amount of Baby Boomers since 1980 (Mitchell, McLean & Turner, 2005).

This generation also has many other synonymous labels. Among them are ones that carry more benignly critical subtexts like “The MTV Generation,” or “Slackers.” The former implies a dull attention span for nothing more than flashy camera work with rapid cuts typical of those in music videos (Isaksen, 2002). The latter implies a generation with little ambition popularized by the 1991 Richard Linklater movie “Slacker.” Broad generalizations of members of any generation will not accurately depict every single member of that generation. Many of the generational stereotypes of Generation X, often attributed to them by Baby Boomers, are simply false. They are the most technologically savvy generation, being the first to grow up with television, the advent of personal computers and video games. The stereotype stems from the arrival of MTV in 1981 that specifically catered to them. Yet in spite of all the allure of Atari, Pacman and MTV, they are highly intelligent. According to enrollment rates in colleges and universities, Generation X is also the most learned generation in U.S. history. Since the start of this generation’s high school graduations in 1980, their high school graduates regularly enroll in higher education in record amounts (Mitchell, McLean & Turner, 2005). Also each generation has slackers who represent a dissident group and are not necessarily exclusive to this generation (Mitchell, McLean & Turner, 2005).

Anger and unrest are two definitive terms describing Generation X. Much of this is expressed through their choice in music. Alternative rock music of so-called “grunge” bands like Alice In Chains, Nirvana and Pearl Jam characterize this generation. Likewise, the hip-hop music of artists like Dr. Dre, Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur also characterize this generation. A popular myth is that they are solely white. Yet this group is very diverse in ethnicity, race, religion, sexual orientation, and status. They are 70% white, 13% black, 12% Hispanic, 4% Asian and 1% Native American (Mitchell, McLean & Turner, 2005). This generation feels burdened with what they think are the result of careless behavior by previous generations: AIDS, broken families, the environment, homelessness, the national debt and poverty. Yet this generation developed in a time of relative calm in U.S. history. A single cohesive experience like World War II, Korea or Vietnam to bring them together might have prevented them from developing into a unified group (Mitchell, McLean & Turner, 2005). This generation experiences a combined distinction not from a single unifying event, but rather from mutual experiences and social conditions (Isaksen, 2002).

Generation X children were also known collectively as “Latch-Key Kids,” with television acting as a main babysitter or parental substitute. A vast preponderance of this generation’s children lived in dual-income households and unlike previous generations, many were forced to come home from school to fend for themselves. Additionally, they grew up during both the Ronald Reagan and George Bush Republican administrations of the 1980’s that limited social programs (Mitchell, McLean & Turner, 2005). As a direct result, they are realistic in their expectations through learned self-reliance at an early age. Based on a lifetime of exposure to advertising on television, this generation is very shrewd as a group of consumers. They view both the establishment and government with a great degree of suspicion, opting to trust only themselves and their friends. They instinctively know when they are deliberately being manipulated and do not mindlessly absorb information represented to be accurate. This generation puts a greater value on honesty over hype (Mitchell, McLean & Turner, 2005).

Often times though Generation X’s degree of independence is mistaken for a callous level of egocentricity. However instead of identifying them as selfish, a more precise descriptive term would be highly autonomous. They place great emphasis on individualism (Wikipedia, n.d.). Yet even with their aversion to collectivism, this generation prides itself on the distinctiveness of its generation. They take great pride in their degree of diversity, tolerance and inability to be labeled. Through living unconventional lifestyles like interracial marriages and adoptions or living together before marriage, they peacefully practices acceptance while not attempting to impose their personal values upon others (Wikipedia, n.d.).

Many in Generation X have seen their parents cold heartedly downsized by companies after years of faithful service. In contrast to the previous generations of their parents and grandparents, this generation’s employees do not expect to remain in one profession or business during their entire career. Rather than pursue career stability, they anticipate looking for jobs elsewhere. This group has a tendency to look for work that gives better opportunities for skill development and individual fulfillment (Smith, 2003). These employees want the ability to be marketable elsewhere in the workforce through the education and growth of new learned abilities. Wanting vacation time, sick days and work leaves in addition to employee perks like day care, health care and stock investment plans, these workers are also benefit savvy. Ultimately however, they find individual fulfillment from their work as a greater incentive over pay (Smith, 2003).