Continuing with our look at Generational snapshots to begin 2013.. This will reveal the elements that make up that generation’s CODE, which in turn is the basis for how that generation perceives the world, its role, and that of other generations. When you get to the core of what people in a generation have in common—their shared experiences as a collective—you begin to see the big picture of why, as a generation, people do what they do, why they see the world as they see it, and how/why they lead, or micro-manage a project, relationship, or team. This week’s snapshot features the Baby Boomer Generation.
Natural Realities in a Nutshell:
Waves: 1st Wave—the Draft, Vietnam War; 2nd Wave—The “me” generation—party (sometimes called “Generation Jones”)
Names: Boomers, Baby Boomers
Focus: Children in Spotlight, Growth of Business, Government, and Space
Technology: Radio, Silver Screen, Television Shifts
Shifts: Civil Rights Movement, Women’s Liberation, Cold War, Rising Divorce Rates
Beliefs: There are not enough resources or chairs to go around. Competition is a way of life. Reach for the stars!
Anchor Points: Lunar Landing, Assassinations of JFK and MLK, Beatles, Vietnam War
People: Bill Clinton, Beatles, JFK, Deep Throat, MLK, John Glenn
Places: Vietnam, Chappaquiddick, Woodstock
Events: The Ed Sullivan Show, Watergate, Women’s Rights, U.S. walks on Moon, Kennedy and MLK assassinations, U.S. sends troops to Vietnam, Cultural Revolution in China begins
Natural Realities Explained:
Baby Boomers were born between the years of 1946-1963. Also known as “Boomers,” they were 80 million strong and were described as a “force of nature.” Boomers have had an impact on every industry and institution they’ve touched. The new post-war babies were celebrated and welcomed not only for the new hope and prosperity they represented but also as a reversal of the negative birth rate that had impeded the country’s growth since the mid-1700s. G.I.s came home from the front in celebration, ready to start on the next big adventure, and together with their sweethearts, they would bring one bundle of joy into the world every seventeen minutes for nineteen years. With the advances in vaccines, infant mortality rates plunged and modern medicine was experiencing breakthroughs in pregnancy and delivery techniques with drugs that greatly increased the success rates of healthy deliveries.
The new financial prosperity and hard-fought-for peace and security were cherished, causing the new boom children to be nurtured and reared in a whole new way. Raised by guidelines outlined by the beloved pediatrician Dr. Spock, new Traditionalist parents and late G.I. moms indulged, doted, pampered, and encouraged optimism and self-confidence in this new Prophet archetype generation of possibility.
Organizations and institutions would forever be altered by the Boomers’ needs, desires, moods, likes, and dislikes. Schools couldn’t be built fast enough to accommodate the expanding numbers. Immediate post-war births were just the beginning; a second wave of youngsters was on the way. Three million more Boomers were born per year after 1950 than before it.
The post-war mood of growth and superpower expansion led to unquestioning trust in the government and big institutions. Baby Boomers were smack dab in the rising trend of middle-class families who were growing and prospering. Little Boomers prayed in school and gathered regularly with family and neighbors to watch Walt Disney on the one color television in the neighborhood. They celebrated as Neil Armstrong took “one small step for man; one giant leap for mankind.” The High social mood was optimistic and positive as new miracle medicines were invented and the new frontier of space was just “one small step” away. This “can do” attitude spilled into the workplace, and the theme, “If you can imagine it, it can be accomplished”
Their work-centric “Thank God it’s Monday” philosophy and “Never trust anyone over thirty” attitude has 10 million Baby Boomers a day shocked to find out that they’re turning sixty-two. In fact, for the next ten years, 10,000 Baby Boomers a day will realize they have a choice about retirement. To them, this is quite shocking! They don’t even like the word retirement. To them, it sounds old, and they do not consider themselves old.
Boomers currently make up 42 percent of the workforce. Many of them want to leave the jobs they are currently in; however, many will not leave the workforce immediately. They will be looking for new jobs that are more rewarding and fulfilling both to their spirits and to their pocketbooks which will allow them to remain engaged and profitable. They like to call it their “entrepreneurial encore.” When you help Boomers achieve their dreams of continuing to produce great results in their work while having a rewarding experience, you can expect great results.