Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Pre-Thanksgiving Thoughts

My first post - not looking for literary fame, but I hope to share things of interest about my life and my perspective on daily events. Do not look here for long insightful political essays - I may share my political/ethical philosophies as part of my observations, but I'm definitely not trying to enter that Great Discussion.

What I offer is a running commentary on life from the perspective of one who is on the front edge of the Boomer Generation - in other words, an aging boomer.

In my work, I train managers on how to use different actions and approaches based on the situation and the person they are dealing with. I have noticed some things relating to generations in the workplace and our attempts to describe them.

There "ain't no such thing" as a completely monolithic generation - everything is along a spectrum. Beware of those who simplify by using generational tags, such as "Greatest Generation", "Nexters" or even "Boomers", usually accompanied by bullet-point lists of what the speaker thinks that group likes, dislikes and will do or need. While there is some truth to any of this, people are just too darn contrary to all be alike.

Particularly with regard to the Boomers - who many describe along these lines: "that self-absorbed group that has ravaged social culture predictions ever since they were born" (speaking of generalizing about generations:). Boomers births range from from 1964 (age 40 today) to 1946 (age 58 today). I can state with assuredness that Boomers differ significantly in their experiences and outlooks over that 18 year span. To put it in perspective, when I (a 1948 boomer baby) graduated from high school in 1966, my youngest colleagues in the Boomer generation were still in diapers. They graduated from high school in 1984. Eight tracks versus compact discs.

I recently attended a party for a couple I've known for 30 years - we are roughly the same ages, have many experiences in common and have kept in touch over the years - but we have significant differences when it comes to attitudes about labor versus management, social interests or government activities. Same generation - different people.

Well, it's snowing in the Heartland today (day before Turkey Day). Cold and wet - not the kind of weather that inspires anything beyond a fervent desire to stay in bed. I'm off work today - I have plenty to do, but I know from long experience that I don't get much done on the day before any holiday.

So here I am, waiting for the repairman to finish installing a new larger water heater for the three of us (me, wife, brother who came to live with us after Mom died last year). We're among the first in our group to move to condo living and it is good, although we've been in constant renovation since we moved - new master bathroom, new kitchen . . . soon to come, new floors in the living room. Of course much new furniture, as we doled out our prized "old crap" to one of our four kids and their significant others.

Never thought I'd be "downsizing" to a condo - lived in houses most of my life. Not a bad change, but one with angles to consider. More later - Happy Holidays to whoever reads this.