You’re Decrepit, Greedy, Narcissistic Luddites – Plus You Have Cooties! Play Golf, Bake Cookies, and Turn Over the Country to Us

July 27, 2009

by Ellen Brandt, Ph.D.

If you don’t think there’s a highly-organized propaganda campaign being waged against Baby Boomers, perhaps they’ve already messed with your mind and spirit. The fact that it’s bad politics doesn’t seem to deter our detractors. Maybe ridicule will help.

Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge how pervasive, malicious – and essentially silly – the determined propaganda effort against the Baby Boom generation has become needs to look at the popular and by now infamous Mashable story on Boomers and Technology that came out a few weeks ago. (I’m not going to link it, because they don’t deserve it. But the title is “Users Over 55 Quitting Facebook: The Baby Boom Times Over?”)

Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: Boomers turn 46-63 in 2009. So if you’re talking about Boomers 55-63 only, you’re leaving out exactly half of our generation. Moreover, grouping the half you’re leaving in – Boomers 55-63 – with the fairly vast population over age 63, including Boomers’ parents and, in the case of some younger Boomers, grandparents, is, to say the very least, extremely poor logic. A 55-year-old Boomer, in fact, is as close in age to a Millennial of 25 as (s)he is to a Greatest Generation American of 85.

Even worse, propaganda-wise, than the implication that every American over 55 is part of the Baby Boom, is the downright frightening photo Mashable, in all its wisdom – NOT! – has used to illustrate this purported article about Boomers. It’s a stock photo of a fellow in a plaid shirt, with a baffled expression, looking at a laptop computer.

I’m sure the model who posed for this shot is a very nice elderly gentleman. But he’s as much a Baby Boomer as the Jonas Brothers are! I won’t just guess the man is over 80. I’d say he’s over 90, unless that’s too young. In fact, he looks a lot like the average Centenarian I’ve interviewed for stories on extreme old age.

“Oh, Ellen,” you may say. “It’s truly funny, but why should we care?” We should care, Dearest Reader, because there seems to be a fairly significant slice of the younger population, some of them even part of the media, the business world, or – Goddess help us! – government, who have now been brainwashed into identifying Boomers as frail, decrepit, and over-the-hill, when we are, of course, mostly vigorous, fit, in the prime of our lives and at what are normally considered the peak ages for productivity, creativity, and earnings.

While it’s clear this photo upsets me more than the story’s theme, I’m not too happy with the premise of this oft-quoted Mashable article, either. In the guise of talking about a supposed drop-off in the use of Facebook – and presumably other social networking sites – by mature customers, the 20-something author boldly states that the reason older users log into such sites is different from why people his age log in. His generation, says the self-appointed guru, use social networking “as a means of daily communication,” seemingly about important things that need their and the world’s immediate attention. Meanwhile, we poor older folks see social sites “as a replacement for email to keep in touch with family and old friends.”

Actually, if you think about it, there is precisely zero difference between “a means of daily communication” and “a replacement for email,” anyway, since most people who use E-mail, whatever their age, tend to check it not only daily, but every few hours, if not every few minutes.

The more subtle reading of the Millennial writer’s argument, though, is that the very young have seamlessly integrated computer technology into their worklives and social lives, while other generations, particularly those Luddite Boomers, have not. If you’re reading this story, you know that’s ludicrous.

The whole concept of a “digital divide,” as anyone up on recent history knows, was coined to promote computer usage in Third World countries, if such exist anymore, positing the theory that the inexorable spread of computers would also spread literacy and general knowledge and help lift the poorest of the world up to the standard of the Western democracies. Which is undoubtedly true.

But in the last – oh, I dunno, six months? – we suddenly see the term “digital divide” used to promote a far different theory, if one can dignify it as such: That today’s teens and new college grads use computer technology more, better, and smarter than Those Who Aren’t Them, therefore making them better prepared to do this, that, and the other great enterprise than all those Old Fogies and Fogiesses, especially the Evil Boomers.

To me, this is such a lame and ludicrous theory, it makes me want to scream. I’m not particularly techie myself. But I still have my TRS-80 Model One, which I use as a paperweight. Not only has every single Boomer of my acquaintance used computers as long, essentially, as there have been computers on the mass consumer market, which is – what? – 35 years? but so have we Boomers’ elderly parents, if those elderly parents were professionals in a very wide range of jobs, from physicians, engineers, attorneys, and accountants to teachers, salespeople, retail managers, and small business owners.

As for the social networking sites, it’s clear there is no essential difference in the way any age group uses them from the way any other age group uses them. In fact, if we’re talking about using social networking effectively as a business tool, the Mashable guru should note that Linked In, the large site considered most helpful in a purely business sense, now skews very significantly towards members over 40, with Baby Boomers possibly the single largest generation of Linked In users.

Twitter Thugs and Other Charming Crazies

The Mashable article well illustrates one kind of lately prevalent Anti-Boomer propaganda: Boomers are behind the times technologically, no longer capable of being in charge of our complex world. A couple of illustrations from social networking sites themselves highlight other themes.

On Twitter, pure know-nothing thuggery has been quite popular. Perhaps the most-Tweeted – reiterated, for non-Twitter members – posts is the elegantly-worded “Yikes!!! Baby Boomer nearly craps his pants as his secure financial nest egg is cracked!!!” Actually, there are variations of this post. Sometimes, the Yikes is replaced by a Wow or even a Zowie. And the number of exclamation points varies from three to ten.

I don’t go to Twitter very often, but I’ve seen this post at least a zillion and a half times. I have never clicked on the accompanying link, nor do I want to. And lately, there are two other reiterated-to-death thug posts: “Are Baby Boomers Ultimately Doomed?” – which I guess could come from a strange religious cult, although somehow I doubt it – and “Laid-Off Baby Boomers Seek Entry-Level Jobs.”

In fact, Baby Boomers are forming the majority of new entrepreneurial ventures in the US and Canada right now, meaning we are the ones creating entry-level jobs for others. But all three of these “popular” Twitter posts are, in fact, meant to intimidate readers, not inform them, along with the stray Tweet from disgruntled individual users, virtually all of whom seem to be males in their early 20s, often with photos wearing watch caps, who say delightful things like “Boomers – Retire Now or Else” or “Don’t You Wish the Boomers Would Just Die?”

I’ve been specifically singled out as the recipient of sentiments like these even before introducing my Angriest Generation series. My favorite social networking site is Linked In, where I have a large and superb network of Connections, mostly over 40 and all extremely interesting people. My pet peeve at Linked In is the sheer number of obviously planted discussion posts from obviously planted Left-leaning operatives, doggedly glomming onto – and into – every discussion lending itself to their favorite theme, which is “Boomers Must Get Out of the Work Force Now and Hand Over All Remaining Paying Jobs to Obama Election Workers – Excuse Me, Younger People.”

Foolish Rabble-Rouser that I am, I have cheerfully waded into far too many of these “debates” in the past four or five months. But one was so incredibly striking, I saved excerpts from it for my files and am pasting some of them here.

The discussion started with a topic broached by a man identifying himself as a journalist asking: “As Boomer management consultants move towards retirement, will that open up new opportunities for younger business experts to move into the field?” This was a possibly loaded question to begin with, but the initiator dropped out of the discussion at this point.

A management consultant, now in my network, said he thought the opposite was true, that with the recession, Boomers were moving into consulting in greater numbers than ever before. And I chimed in with what is now my mantra: “Boomers turn 46-63 in 2009, and we are not retiring anytime soon.”

Another fellow agreed with me, saying “Boomers who have lost . . . their retirement funds must continue to work to rebuild the losses,” while the first consultant came back in to talk about “financial dislocation” for Boomers creating “major structural change.”

In other words, this little discussion was suddenly heading in a direction the Boomers-Retire-Now bunch wouldn’t care for. You would think – and hope – that every little topic discussion at a Linked In Group wouldn’t be of much interest to Propagandists Who Watch Over Us Constantly. But it seems to have come to somebody-or-other’s attention, because what happened next was truly extraordinary. And No, I don’t think I’m being paranoid, because several members of the Group sent messages to one another after this incident, basically saying, “What the Hey?”

For into our peaceful and happy little conclave waltzed someone who was not only a brand-new Group member, but – as of that moment – a brand-new Linked In member. I kid you not! This identity – female, although it could actually be male, beast, or political collective – was attached to a name, but had no details whatsoever in its profile, no Connections, no other Groups, no anything. The identity was apparently formed just for the purpose of coming to this Group and participating in this particular discussion.

Ms. Nutty Operative – let’s call her Nonie – at first said she was “close to 40” but quickly scotched that and identified herself as “part of the younger generation.” Her first major argument was that it was “a waste of time and money” to train anyone over age 35 on unspecified “software packages,” because only the younger generation “has lived with e-mail and text messaging prior to joining the professional world” and “new business models are just being created for the younger generation’s opportunity.”

Besides the unforgivably stilted and barely literate phrasing, this “argument” is almost breathtakingly silly. As we’ve already said, Boomers have been using computers for business as long as there have been computers for business. And if you use computers for business, you certainly know all about E-mail. As for “text messaging” being either difficult to use or the primary basis for “new business models” – Goddess help us!

But at this point in the discussion, Nonie really dives off the deep end. She claims that “leaders’ inability to adapt to changing times” have caused the declines in “countless numbers of businesses . . . over the past two decades, starting with the Big 5 accounting firms, along with the nation’s car manufacturers” and that “the older generation” – which she identifies as Baby Boomers – have spurned “new technology,” embraced “negativity,” and stifled “innovation.”

Does one know where to start refuting this nonsense? First of all, Dear Nonie, there were originally the Big Eight accounting firms, not the Big Five, and they, along with the auto manufacturers and numerous other declining sectors, were run during these long declines primarily by the Baby Boomers’ parents’ generation, not by Boomers themselves.

These are mere quibbles, however. Because very few would say that it was refusal to embrace “new technology” – let alone E-mail and text messaging, which is Nonie’s singular definition of such technology – which was responsible for structural sector declines. Apparently Nonie hasn’t heard about things like outsourcing or immigration flows or misallocation of capital. Surely, she hasn’t heard of the accelerating scramble for rare resources, the “hollowing out” of the US manufacturing base, or the number one reason for sector dislocations: the relentless rise of immense, often centralized, formerly Third World economies, hell-bent on catching up to the West.

As for Boomers “embracing negativity” and “stifling innovation” – does that really deserve an answer, other than “Are you crazy, lady?”

Well, the others on the Group discussion board plowed into Nonie and pointed out some of her errors. Undaunted, she changed tack and started accusing us dastardly Boomers of betraying our 60’s ideals – by refusing to get out of the way and handing the country over to Millennials:

“What happened to your peace, love, and civil rights attitude?” she wrote. “President Obama is a ‘flower child’ in every sense of the definition. . . It is everyone’s job to recognize everyone’s potential. . . And being from the peace, not war, generation of the 1960’s, I would hope you would not prevent our nation’s youth from realizing their potential.”

Well, Kumbaya, and I am glad that Mr. Obama likes flowers – after all, he is from Hawaii. But are we to understand, Dear Nonie, that if we Boomers do not retire immediately, despite none of us actually being at the typical retirement age and, more importantly, despite the fact that by some estimates, 3/4 or more of us have had our retirement savings completely wiped out over the past few years, we are not only “preventing youth from realizing their potential,” but are also acting in a non-peaceful way?

Well, Yes, that is exactly what Ms. Nonie – and by extension, those who think like her, are saying! We Boomers “have focused on the negative of the younger generation,” Nonie continues. We have “made the business world more discriminatory than it should be.” And we have “created war” – yes, she actually said this! – by “segmenting the population.” Therefore, “it is time to retire (those) who ignore an entire group of people.”

Do you understand the progression this rhetoric has taken? You should, because silly as it is, the Anti-Boomers think it sounds good, and to them, sounds good seems to equal the truth.

I’m getting sick of Ms. Nonie even as I write this, so let me dismiss her last astounding wrap-up “argument” as quickly as I can: Who, precisely, is being “discriminatory” and discriminated against these days? Are Millennials – any Millennials – being refused jobs because they lack experience, or is the discrimination overwhelmingly aimed at older workers, who have been laid off and “downsized” in droves?

Or have Boomers, the generation that pioneered moving women and minorities and Vietnam vets and the disabled into managerial positions, been “discriminatory” in that regard compared to younger workers? Certainly not! And we have “focused on the negative” of younger workers how? – and when? Personally, I haven’t heard a peep from Boomers saying nasty things about Millennials, other than a few managers griping that they’re a tad opportunistic. It is younger workers who are overwhelmingly complaining about us – not us complaining about them.

Mommy, Mommy, An Operative Is Attacking Me!

I’ve used Ms. Nonie and the Linked In discussion thread she dominated as an example of the propaganda blitz Boomers are reeling from now. But such attacks are occurring regularly not only at social networking sites, but also in articles, blogs, and virtually everywhere else one turns.

If you’re faced with an Anti-Boomer barrage, how should you handle it? Here are some of the most common kinds of attacks I’ve encountered and how I think it is best to respond to them:

Baby Boomers are elderly, unfit, and over-the-hill.

The basic question of exactly who is a member of our generation keeps coming up, even among some in the media, who certainly should know better.

Whenever Boomers are “innocently confused” with those in our parents’ – or in the case of some younger Boomers, grandparents’ – generation, as with the infamous Mashable Boomer-as-Centenarian photo, be sure to speak up and knock the propagandist off his heels!

Baby Boomers turn only 46-63 in 2009. We are not remotely “elderly.” We tend to be extremely healthy and fit. And we are in what are commonly thought of as peak years for intellectual performance, productivity, creativity, and earnings power.

Baby Boomers are technological Neanderthals, out-of-touch with evolving technology.

As we’ve already pointed out, this is the canard to end all canards! Unless you fall back on Ms. Nonie’s “argument” that skill in text-messaging – at a party? in traffic? walking down the street and bumping into people? – is the “technology” which global business revolves around, Boomers are generally as adept using computers and computer technology as the generations behind them. And we have been at the forefront developing and/or managing every other “forward-looking” technology one can think of, including the “green” technologies Millennials seem to think is their special province.

As high or higher percentages of Boomers have science, engineering, or advanced business degrees as younger generations. And Boomers have had an exceptionally keen appreciation for entrepreneurship, still forming new small businesses at record rates.

Since the two most recent former presidents – Clinton and Bush – were Boomers, the Boomer generation is to “blame” for our nation’s current problems.

At any time, in terms of any generation, less than one-tenth of one percent of individuals within that generation are in positions of such power – whether in government, finance, media, or business – that they can actively make policy or directly influence historical circumstances.

To “blame” the 99.9 percent of all Boomers who have not had such power for the policies or actions of either the Clinton or Bush – or for that matter, the new Obama – administration is incredibly unfair and incredibly unhelpful. And I have never heard this kind of generational “blame” applied to any other generation except Boomers, literally proving it is a form of propaganda.

Moreover, there is always the tacit corollary to assigning “blame,” i.e. “You are to blame, and therefore you deserve to be punished.”

Baby Boomers are only in financial trouble now because they have spent so extravagantly the past several decades.

Once again, an attempt to place “blame” and to tar the many with the actions – in this case, the habits – of the few.

As even those with limited economic sensitivity can guess – purely by following popular culture – the gap between the Richest of the Rich and what I like to call “The Rest of Us” has widened substantially in this country the past few decades. Some of these Richest have been Baby Boomers, while others have been members of generations older or younger than Baby Boomers.

If you remove the inflationary effect, which distorts every generation’s spending habits more or less equally, there is little evidence that the average Baby Boomer has been more extravagant in his/her spending habits than previous or younger generations. In fact, many, if not most, Boomer-led households have managed to amass a smaller total of non-financial assets than their parents amassed – although some of this is due to the continued trend towards smaller family size.

Baby Boomers are only in financial trouble now because they haven’t saved enough.

Savings rates for the Boomer generation are not appreciably different than those of other generations.

Overall savings rates appear – and I stress appear – to have been declining the past couple of decades. But many believe this is a structural change reflecting where actual savings have gone and which kinds of savings show up in statistics.

For instance, with the low interest rates banks and savings and loan institutions have been granting recently, even on once-popular certificates of deposit, Boomers, along with everybody else, have placed less of their savings with such institutions.

At the same time, Boomers – again along with other generations – have been urged to put more and more of traditional savings into home ownership, a strategy that seemed sensible and prudent up until quite recently. This form of “savings” does not show up as such in government statistics.

Nor do many forms of “investment” that Boomers – along with everybody else – have been fervently urged to make during the past few decades. Various forms of derivative investments, for instance, do not get into the “savings” statistics categories, nor do many kinds of currency, commodity, or margin-based investments.

Some of these investments have been extremely hard-hit by recent events, of course, wiping out the true “savings” of an extremely large proportion of Boomers. To deny that such investments were ever “savings” to begin with is to add (great) insult to the (great) injury a large proportion of Boomers have experienced.

Literally the classic “kick a man when he’s down” ploy.

Baby Boomers have hoarded their wealth and are reluctant to share it with younger generations.

Amazing! At the same time some are accusing Boomers of not having saved enough or of squandering our life’s earnings on extravagant spending sprees, others are accusing us of holding on to vast hoards of wealth in Evil-Bond-Villain fashion – undoubtedly in undersea vaults guarded by private security forces adept in the martial arts. Selfish and self-centered as we Boomers are, we are preventing this wealth from being “shared” with kind and deserving humanitarians from the younger generations.

Those who spout this particular form of Anti-Boomer propaganda are basically playing with statistics. On a collective basis, Boomer wealth still looks impressive, simply because there are so many of us .

Factor out the few mega-rich Boomers and look at average assets, and our “hoarding” looks very much like “surviving.” And so much of our accumulated wealth consists of real estate – i.e. the homes we live in – viewing it as a “hoard” now seems a very cruel joke, indeed.

Baby Boomers have simply been running things too long. They need to retire gracefully.

Again, 99.9 percent – conservatively – of all Baby Boomers have been “running” nothing other than their own lives, their households, and their families.

Not a single Boomer has reached the “old-style” retirement age of 65, let alone the “new-style” retirement age of 70 or 72.

The youngest Boomers turn only 46 this year, and the majority of Boomers are in their 40s and 50s.

Those “theorists” who had hoped extraordinarily large numbers of Boomers would retire early should have theorized instead how to prevent the vast majority of us from losing all or most of our life’s savings in the events of the past few years.

Any (wealthy) Boomer capable of retiring early and “gracefully” has my blessing and that of his/her fellow Boomers, I’m sure. The rest of us (non-wealthy, and now possibly downright poor) Boomers may not have the luxury of retiring ever, the way things look right now!

We may see some light at the end of the tunnel when we’re 95 – or maybe 105.

Boomers voted for the Obama administration. If the Obama-ites are attempting to sweep you offstage now, you’re just getting what you voted for.

First of all, I sincerely hope the rash of Anti-Boomer propaganda is not coming directly from the Obama administration. I prefer to think it’s a rogue effort perpetrated by those who are so hell-bent on getting jobs for the very young election workers who helped Obama to victory, they don’t care whom they stomp on to get them – and the main Stomp-ees seem to be we Baby Boomers.

Moreover, while much Anti-Boomer sentiment is coming from the Far Left, I’ve heard some of it from those in other parts of the political spectrum, too, as well as from media mavens who are either prejudiced, uninformed, or both.

The last election turned out the way it did for numerous reasons, most having nothing whatsoever to do with sentiment favorable or unfavorable to Boomers. And I don’t think a single Baby Boomer would have voted – or will vote in the future – for any political party or group which comes out openly against our generation’s interests.

Which, of course, is exactly the point. Anti-Boomer propaganda is not only distasteful and unfair, it’s horrendously bad politics.

Boomers make up about one-third of the US population. Many of us feel we’ve been hurt. We’re mad about being hurt. And we’re not going to sit around and let ourselves be dissed on top of it!

Our hearts and souls and spirits are up for grabs now, emotionally and politically. Gurus, mavens, and politicians of all stripes would do well to keep that in mind.

For the Intro to the Baby Boomers-The Angriest Generation series, please go to: http://wp.me/pxD3J-3

For the next story in this series, Will Boomers Return Full Circle to Sophisticated Communes? </strong http://wp.me/pxD3J-x

For Ellen’s popular “serious humor” piece about Malice on the Internet, see: http://wp.me/pycK6-5

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18 Responses to “You’re Decrepit, Greedy, Narcissistic Luddites – Plus You Have Cooties! Play Golf, Bake Cookies, and Turn Over the Country to Us”

  1. Alan Says:

    Well, Ellen, one of the major Anti-Boomer efforts, the attempt to privatize Social Security, did not come from the Far Left – in fact, quite the opposite. And just how well would those personal accounts they advocated have fared in the recent – and ongoing – financial market debacle?

    IMO, the Right holds the championship for sheer unmitigated jerk-itude. But I will grant that when it comes to sheer mind-boggling foolishness, the Left does not need to take a back seat to anyone.

    Can we please drop the Left, Right and other labels for a moment and discuss the real fact that there are those intent on making others’ lives less happy and comfortable and those of us who are resisting that?

    (Rant Off)

    All that said, we surely did not create this mess we’re in. Or at least most of us did not. And I do not relish cleaning up the messes others create.

    And as a close bloggular friend of mine puts it, “I haz pitchfork!”

    So count me as one cranky, somewhat Lefty Boomer who does not trust anyone all that much any longer, while having no intention whatever of leaving the stage any time soon. I’ve got notes left to play.

    • ellenbrandtphd Says:

      Alan,

      Fears about the social safety net is a good topic for a future article in the series. There are those from all parts of the political spectrum who favor some sort of hybrid fix including privatization.

      Many believe worldwide short-sellers who trend – or pretend to trend – very far Left played a big, if not the biggest, part in the recent market crash. This is not the place to argue that, but maybe we’ll talk about it in a future story, too.

      This particular entry involves propaganda. As I said, I’ve heard Anti-Boomer propaganda coming from Right, Left, and even a stray Libertarian or two! But by a 10-to-1 margin, it’s coming from those who identify themselves as Far Left.

      My concern is helping to defuse the propaganda, period. I’m a straight-down-the-middle Centrist. If Anti-Boomer sentiment were coming from Martians, I’d call the Martians out on it!

  2. Jon Jacobs Says:

    Right on, Ellen!

    The Anti-Boomer propaganda campaign you described got a big boost not long ago from a hugely influential Fifth Columnist: Anna Quindlen.

    This past weekend I stumbled upon the farewell column Quindlen penned in Newsweek back in May. In it, she largely endorsed the main premises of the Anti-Boomer movement that Ellen outlined above.

    In fact, the now 57-year-old Quindlen came right out and said she’d decided to step aside (give up her Newsweek column) to make way for young people.

    She even quoted approvingly her son’s remark that could have come straight from the Linked In troll (“Nonie”) who Ellen just dissected: “You guys just won’t get out of the way!” Quindlen’s son complained.

  3. Sahalu Says:

    Luddites! In the technology industry, where I have been working for the last 20 years, the vast majority of the directors, managers and senior engineers are Baby Boomers in the 46-63 age range.

    One of the most hyper-creative and productive engineers in telecom (data communications) is in his 70’s.

  4. scott adams Says:

    A difference of opinion is what makes good discussions, but unfair bias doesn’t.

    Since the 60s and on, we have achieved social equalities, explored space, advanced technically and in medical knowledge, and progressed in many areas.

    It has made many people rich and left many hard-working people poor.

    Collectively, mistakes have been made and we are now in an economic correction. How we come out of it is what is important, and it will take a collective effort, time, and a personal commitment by each and all.

    Where do we go from here?

  5. Bob Stover Says:

    Personally, I think we ought to give them what they think they want, mass retirement, so that they can figure out how to pay for our Medicare, Social Security and myriad other government benefits tailored to seniors, WITHOUT OUR TAX CONTRIBUTIONS!

    How silly this younger group that you described seem to be. Most Boomers, (I’m 54 for eleven more days), have lived through and mastered the computer age, the Internet age and the electronic media age.

    Most of the complaining generation don’t know how to use a slide rule; can’t solve, much less graph, complex quardilateral equations upon which most hard science like engineering is based; write a proof for a simple law of geometry or alegbra; and can’t diagram a sentence or, as you pointed out, speak coherently in our mother tongue, no matter what method of communication is used.

    I remember leaving the Air Force in 1974, going to college, and learning how to write computer programs on punch cards. I remember when computers filled entire air-conditioned buildings, and I remember the amazement and wonder we felt when we confronted our first desk top computers with IMB compatible DOS- based programming, and then graduated to Windows 2.0.

    I remember when word processing was invented and those big 5.5 inch floppy disks used to store information. There was no such thing as a hard drive, much less RAM, etc.

    I have a few things to say about wealth starting with, “I don’t know what it means, but I’ll know it when I see it.”

    I certainly don’t have it, as I no longer even own my home, having lost it in foreclosure during the Tech bust back in 2000. Many Boomers have “squandered” our money and foolishly not saved enough for our retirement, because we were spending our hard-earned or borrowed money on the college educations of these ingrate children and giving a lifestyle of fancy cars, McMansions, and electronic wizardry to our young with no strings attached.

    Being able to master the technology of computers and such is a wonderful and necessary thing, but it is a useless tool in the hands of a generation that don’t even know how to phrase the questions so that they can solve the problems.

    Frankly, some of the complainers are still living with their Boomer parents, paying nothing for the privilege and taking up free child care, housekeeping and laundry services, without a clue as to how to manage a household budget, much less the budget of a huge global corporation.

    • Tom Boyle Says:

      I agree with Bob. If the younger generation wishes us to retire, I guess they are saying, “Yes, we want the higher taxes necessary to fund Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare that we Boomers will need to depend upon.” and “Yes, we will take on the taxes you no longer would be paying … our ‘higher technology’ will make the difference.”

      I don’t think they are wishing such responsibilities upon themselves.

      I think the whole program, starting with NAFTA, then the savings wipe-out, and to follow, the high inflation coming at us from huge spending programs, is targeted at a “reverse-psychology” to keep us working . . . and away from collecting on all the programs we have contributed the past 30+ years . . . away from Social Security et. al.

  6. Candace Meyer Says:

    All I have to say is the title of your article is great. The Linked In submissions that I actually read are few, however your title drew me right in.

  7. Chris Hone Says:

    A great article. The “hurry up and get out of the way” attitude is not surprising. It is almost what defines the Millennials in the workplace. But isn’t that just youth?

    Of greater concern to me is the apparent infusion of that same attitude in some of the healthcare bills working their way through Congress. Its one thing when a 20-something expects their first job to be “Executive Vice President of Everything” – it’s a little more scary when they are crafting legislation that will be the equivalent of lining up a bunch of nice ice flows for us oldsters to climb onto.

  8. Bill Strouse Says:

    Ellen, you’re “just takin’ names” for now, right?

  9. Sherrie Mathieson Says:

    Ellen,

    Your article is fantastic . . .and I agree with many of the ensuing comments.

    I believe it’s human nature to play “the Blame Game,” and it thrives on inaccuracies and bias that supports further bias.

    The media tends to focus on anything that will stir up emotion – and today there’s much of this on the Iinternet as well – as a means of getting attention.

    As a Boomer myself, and through my work, I also realize that people as a whole vary so much. . .in all ways.

    Within the Boomer population are people that look (that’s the focus of my 2 style books) and act behind the times. Likewise there are many Boomers who are very modern, youthful, fit, curious, and, of course, very computer-literate and skilled.

    Certainly as a member of the latter group, you have a right to be incensed.

    Sherrie
    SherrieMathieson.com

  10. Karen Sieczka Says:

    Wow–at 47 I’m already washed up and should step aside!? For whom?

    The overall tone of the Mashable article makes the younger generation sound like a bunch of petulant brats whose parents overindulged the little “darlings,” gave them all the advantages in the world, and this is the thanks they get.

    Of course, the same sentiment came from the Greatest Generation about us Boomers, although they might have couched it in different terms.

    Honestly, I don’t think many in the younger set have been properly prepared for the weight of responsibility, the weight many of us more “experienced” folks gladly take on every day while we create jobs, products, and services for every generation.

    BTW: I am quite computer literate: yes I Tweet and use Facebook and LinkedIn and other social media to help me in building my success. But I also know the power of the written word as well as how to network and communicate face-to-face.

    I work in a multi-generational environment as a trainer and have worked with those from 18-85. When I interact directly with people, I haven’t personally experienced a bias. I think some of this “divide” is due to media hype fanning the flames for some political purpose.

    As a people, of any generation, united we stand, divided we fall.

    Karen Sieczka

  11. Angie Muresan Says:

    While opinions fly, in all fairness, it should be based on merit.

    I believe that the Boomer generation is about the most sophisticated and educated out there, who are accustomed to hard work, challenges, and the need for reinvention.

    They are intelligent and witty, compassionate and courteous.

    They’ve worked hard to get to where they are, and I personally don’t believe they should move aside for the young coddled generation who demand the world give them their due.

  12. C. Guajardo Says:

    I’m not a Boomer. I’m a Gen Xer and yes, I am very computer literate. I’m a former software designer and now have started my own business. I’m also a single mother of two very young children of my own.

    Here’s what I’ve observed from working with Gen Y – aka Millennials – in the corporate world:

    1) Their parents have coddled them by paying for the bulk of their college expenses, tuition, iPods, iTunes downloads, etc. without expecting their children to take any personal responsibility to earn part of that money or to repay part of that money.

    These same parents are working themselves into the ground to pay for their young ones’ expenses, their current Boomer daily living expenses, and to replace their lost retirement funds.

    2) The same young ones who are being bankrolled by the Boomers complain that they can’t advance upwards because those same Boomers are taking up space in those higher- paying jobs.

    3) The young ones choose not to acknowledge that the Boomers need the jobs to a) pay for the young ones’ college and b) replace their reduced retirement funds and c) and pay for the Boomers’ daily living expenses.

    4) The Boomers that I have spoken to in the past have joyously offered up their current income and retirement money to pay for their darlings’ college education so that their kids don’t have to undertake the personal development journey of personal responsibility and consideration of their parent’s future financial needs.

    5) The young ones feel “entitled” to have their parents spend their current income and retirement funds on their college education without any recompense or consideration.

    Boomers, I’m not saying throw your kids out onto the street. I wouldn’t do that to my children either.

    But if you expect your children to have a decent work ethic, then stop doing and paying everything for them.

    If you expect your children to have some consideration for why you are still in your job, then give your children the freedom to experience financial need (i.e., the financial need to earn money to pay rent, to pay for their own iTunes downloads, to do their own laundry).

    They don’t understand why you need or choose to keep a job because they have no personal experience of the reality of personal responsibility.

    You robbed them of this experience, and then you set your children loose on the rest of us to put up with their attitude of “I don’t have to work but I’m entitled to be promoted.”

    I mean this with deep respect for your intentions (because I’m a parent too) but YOU, the Boomer generation, have chosen to take your kids’ personal responsibility away from your kids as an act of love, but you ended up creating a bunch of selfish children with a poor work ethic, poor resourcefulness, and poor if any consideration for their parents’ generation.

    I think the best way you, the Boomer generation, can “help” your little kids come back to a more reasonable reality is to stop paying for all of their expenses. We’re not talking about 4- year-old children. We’re talking about college-age kids.

    When I was a senior in high school, my Dad took out a 13% loan to pay for my freshman year of college. I told my dad to give the money back to the bank and cancel the loan, because I didn’t want him or my Mom to be stuck carrying that loan.

    I went out and got some jobs and earned a scholarship that paid for all of my college education.

    I cared enough about my parents to think ahead to their future rather than saddling them with my college tuition.

    But my parents also chose not to lie to me by pretending that paying for my college education was so easy for them. They were honest in a kind way with me about that money. And I appreciated their honesty with me.

    Boomers, you created a generation of Frankenstein’s Monsters by doing and paying everything for them and by telling them that “they can have everything they want and can achieve everything they want.” You forgot to tell them that they can only be, do and have everything they want, if they are willing to earn it, just like the Boomers and Gen Xers did.

    Stop coddling these Millennials, and our country will benefit from not having to deal with a bunch of young employees who strut around thinking they deserve to be promoted to President of the Company on day one of their job!

    • ellenbrandtphd Says:

      Quite a little Blog-Within-a-Blog, Ms. Guajardo!

      It’s among the first Anti-Millennial rants I’ve ever seen.

      I’m leaving it in, because it’s refreshing to see a generation other than we Boomers attacked.

    • C. Guajardo Says:

      I think this generational warfare is just going to get worse. You have approximately 80 million Millennials and about the same number of Boomers. I think the Gen Xers number significantly less (50 million maybe?).

      Most of these people are going to need to engage or continue engaging in income producing activities (i.e. jobs, businesses) in order to live their daily lives now as well as in their futures.

      Either people open up to new ideas on how to earn income, take responsibility for their own expenses (college educations for example), have honest, frank discussions with their children about how much money they can honestly afford to donate to a college education, or there is going to be a huge economic train wreck in this country.

      I’m sure someone will start hounding we Gen Xers. . .just as soon as they can find us, since we’re such a small generation!

  13. Lu Says:

    Some other Boomers are also responsible for feeling that Boomers are old, decrepit and out of touch.

    Can you honestly say that a Boomer will hire another Boomer? Or will they hire the perky, cutesy non-experienced person first?

    Some Boomers devalue their own in the workplace and don’t always value their worth, knowledge and vast experience they bring to the table.

    This attitude casts Boomers aside for the younger, perhaps more attractive and less experienced generation. It happens all the time in every profession and devalues the contribution and worth that Boomers make to society.

    • ellenbrandtphd Says:

      Very interesting comment.

      If you’re in recruiting or HR, you might try to get a “Boomers Hiring Boomers” national campaign going.

      But again, I believe that with Boomers making up perhaps one-half of all active voters in the next several national political elections, we will pound our generational agenda home, one way or another.

      We all have to realize that what has happened to our generation is not normal nor typical nor “the way things are.”

      These attempts to marginalize us are occurring decades before similar attempts aimed at prior generations.

      They are based on the feeling among some, particularly a misguided group on the Far Left, that a shrinking economic pie is now a fact of life – and they want to give as large a slice of it as possible to their preferred constituencies – which isn’t us!

      Boomers, with our extraordinary talents for entrepreneurship and optimistic activism, can prove them wrong by focusing on the necessary alternative: Growing the economic pie for everyone. That means revivifying all those sectors of the US economy we have simply given up on the past several decades and literally thrown away – or given away to other countries.

      More on the “hollowing out” of the US economy and how we can reverse it in future articles.


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