Posted: November 26th, 2010 | Author: Jerry Weider | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
One of our Board members forwarded this article to me and it turns out that it is an entire series on our Boomer cohort. It makes for interesting reading this Thanksgiving weekend……and we have a lot to be thankful for.
Baby Boomers have been in the spotlight for a very long time, but now, as the oldest wave of Boomers approaches 65 and the attention once again focuses on the first “Me Generation,” some in other generations admit it’s a little hard to take.
“Everyone is sort of feeling like, ‘Will these Baby Boomers ever leave?’ ” says Debra Fiterman, 30, of Minneapolis.
WHAT GENERATION ARE YOU? Take the quiz
MORE BOOMERS: Stories, photos, videos, graphics
PHOTOS: Famous Baby Boomers
“Boomers have certainly sucked up a lot of cultural oxygen,” says Leonard Steinhorn, 54, a communication professor at American University in Washington and author of The Greater Generation: In Defense of the Baby Boom Legacy.
“They are outsized. They changed America in deep and profound ways,” he says. “It’s natural for other generations to think they didn’t get their time in the sun.”
Other generations tend to roll their eyes at some perceived Baby Boomer traits.
Boomers seem to be “always examining themselves and their feelings,” says Stan Broitman of Huntington, N.Y. At 67, he’s a member of the Silent Generation, born about 1925-45.
” ‘Am I happy?’ People didn’t raise those issues in the previous generation. People were always afraid to raise the issue because if the answer was ‘no,’ what were they going to do about it?”
OUR VIEW: Baby Boomers don’t deserve bum rap
OPPOSING VIEW: The car-wreck generation
“But in the Boomer generation, they did do something about it,” Broitman says. “Sometimes it was drugs,” but psychotherapy also became common. “People began to go for help because ‘I’m not happy,’ ” he says. “And the divorce rates also went up.”
Fiterman, who studies the Millennial generation (born about 1981-2000) says younger people who work with Boomers find them more hesitant to change and think Boomers seem “very formal and political.”
“They get things done in a work chart,” she says. “It’s difficult for Millennials working with Baby Boomers who are so protective of their knowledge and reluctant to let loose.”
To encourage better communication between generations at work, leadership consultant Tom Davidson, 54, of Richmond, Va., offers a program, “Boomers, Geeks and Geezers.” He says people need to realize “it is our early life experiences that shape our values,” which we take into the workplace.
Generations United, a membership organization based in Washington, focuses on intergenerational programs.
“There is some natural tension between generations,” says executive director Donna Butts, 55, a Baby Boomer.
And, she says, there’s “finger pointing about whether they’ve been too self-absorbed to worry about the next generation.”
A good influence
But a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll of 1,011 adults conducted by phone earlier this month finds that most give high marks to the Boomer influence:
• 52% say Baby Boomers have made things better for the generations that came after them; 39% say they’ve made it worse.
• 57% describe Baby Boomers as “giving,” while 37% describe them as “selfish.”
• 54% say the better word to describe the generation is “practical,” 41% say “idealistic.”
VOICES: What is the Baby Boomer’s legacy?
PERKS: Discounts abount for Boomers turning seniors
CBS NEWS: Boomers joining social media at record rate
The results point out what Neil Howe, a historian, author and demographer in Great Falls, Va., knows very well. “Generations have mixed feelings about other generations,” he says. “It’s not just good or bad.”
“I would say that today — in the eyes of many people in their 80s and 90s — looking at the culture wars and the unpleasantness of politics and the polarization and the meanness, they see the Boomer stamp,” says Howe, 59. “They remember exactly what they experienced in the late ’60s with their kids, and now their kids are running the country, and they don’t like it.”
Norma Downey, 83, of West Islip, N.Y., says she and her friends often discuss Baby Boomers, since their children are part of that 77-million-member group. In particular, she says, her book club often turns to a discussion of Boomers after someone has visited with the relatives.
“I grew up in the Depression,” she says. “Baby Boomers grew up in a pretty good society. They had a lot of things. They all live on the edge. They spend right up to what they make. We always saved some, even if it wasn’t much.”
During his 34 years as a banker, Broitman says, he saw Boomers get overextended financially. “They’ve gotten into debt, and they haven’t really figured out how they’re going to pay off this debt,” he says. “People just borrowed the max.”
The work divide
The workplace is often where these differences between four generations are most pronounced, resulting in new companies in the USA that aim to ease the 9-5 generational divide.
“I’m hearing from younger workers that Boomers take their jobs too seriously, are too wrapped up in this thing called ‘career’ and have left things kind of a mess,” says Eric Chester, 53, founder of Generation Why, a consulting firm in Lakewood, Colo. “The world is kind of a mess for this new generation to pick up the pieces.”
David Stillman, co-founder of Minneapolis-based BridgeWorks, a generational consulting company, says the biggest complaint he hears about Boomers in the workplace is they won’t delegate.
According to Gen Xers and Millennials, “Baby Boomers are not doing as much mentoring as they could or should. Xers are frustrated because they want opportunities to lead,” says Stillman, 41.
But, he says, outside of the workplace, the relationship is quite different.
“I’m hearing from Millennials left and right how much they love, admire and respect their parents,” says Stillman, co-author of The M-Factor: How the Millennial Generation Is Rocking the Workplace, out earlier this year. “I think a lot of the complaining we are hearing from Millennials about Boomers is when they enter the workforce and these bosses don’t think and act like Mom and Dad do.”
Michael Goergen, 38, of Bethesda, Md., CEO of a professional association and a member of Generation X, says he has a “very, very positive view” of Boomers.
“This is the group that mentored me in a lot of ways,” he says. “I take the very best from what they have to offer and filter out the rest.”
But that sentiment isn’t often shared by others in Generation X, says Stillman. “Xer behaviors at work and in their personal lives is almost a counter-reaction to Boomers.
“I hear from a lot of Xers, ‘I want to work hard, but no-way-no-how will I pay the same price for success as Boomers paid,’ ” he says. “These people were run ragged and were trying to keep up an unrealistic pace. It’s not healthy. They don’t seem to have a work-life balance.’ ”
Ken Dychtwald, 60, a psychologist and gerontologist in Emeryville, Calif., says he’s concerned about what may seem like “Boomer bashing.”
“I don’t see a rising up among people against the generation,” he says. “I do believe Boomers are self-centered, but at the same time, they are extraordinarily generous with their time, their money and their compassion.”
Cory Zimmerman, 27, a university admissions officer in St. Louis, says he thinks his parents are lucky to be Baby Boomers.
“I look back at that time and think about it as a cool time to be growing up — the Summer of Love and the great cultural upheaval at that time,” he says.
But, Zimmerman says, “I suppose every generation looks back at the ones before it and puts on the rose-colored glasses.”
Butts cautions against generalizing too much about any generation, Boomers included.
“There are so many differences in this group of people,” she says. “The only thing we have in common is we think we’re fascinating.”
Posted: November 17th, 2010 | Author: Jerry Weider | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
Jewish Baby Boomers are finally getting some press…..see the article below and the response by Paula Jacobs, a JBoomer supporter in the Boston area.
Remeber our launch event this Sunday, Nov. 21st. See post below for details.
Whither the Jewish baby boomers?
NEW ORLEANS, La. (JTA) — As America’s 77 million baby boomers retire, they will place an unprecedented burden on the Jewish community’s infrastructure.
They will need more services, and many will want to become involved in a community that isn’t making room for them.
The federation system in particular needs to meet the challenge — and now, as the oldest boomers turn 65 next year — or face losing the wealthiest and most highly educated generation in American Jewish history.
Those are some of the salient results of a study presented Monday at the General Assembly of the Jewish Federations of North America titled “Baby Boomers, Public Service and Minority Communities: A Case Study of the Jewish Community in the United States.”
, a joint effort by New York University’s Berman Jewish Policy Archive and the university’s Research Center for Leadership in Action, analyzed a national survey of more than 6,500 Jewish baby boomers — those born between 1948 and 1964 — in 34 U.S. communities.
Jewish baby boomers expect to work after retirement age, want that work to be meaningful and want it to help others, but are not necessarily committed to working within the Jewish community, the report found. Boomers represent 50 percent of affiliated Jews in the United States — a major loss if they disappear.
“Even affiliated and involved Jews will look elsewhere if the meaning they seek is not available within the Jewish community,” said David Elcott, the Taub professor of public service at NYU’s graduate school and author of the report.
While most Jewish boomers plan to work or volunteer in an “encore” career after retiring, the survey showed that 35 percent aren’t sure what kind of work they want to do, and 42 percent expect to get paid for it. The Jewish community is used to relying on its older population to volunteer, Elcott said.
Not only that, but just over a third of boomers surveyed said they “want to help other Jews” in their encore career, and just 14 percent look at the new career as a way of expressing their Jewish identity.
Nearly 86 percent of those hoping to perform public service work would like to work through a Jewish organization, the survey showed, but that does not mean they are committed to helping Jews, Elcott noted. They could just as well be building homes in New Orleans or doing literacy training in inner cities.
If Jewish organizations cannot provide meaningful outlets, Elcott cautioned, they will look elsewhere.
“This is the first generation for whom it will be as natural to work with the YMCA as with a Jewish organization,” he said. “We are not prepared for that. We’re prepared for it from our 30-year-olds, but not from this middle generation.”
The federation system and other Jewish communal structures have been putting much of their funding and emphasis into programs for Jewish youth and children, with some attention to the very elderly. But for the most part they have ignored or taken for granted the needs of the generation in its mid-40s to early 60s.
Some federations are beginning to reach out to boomers in a concerted way.
, a grass-roots nonprofit created to advocate for boomers within the Jewish community, plans to launch Nov. 21.
Linda Blumberg, planning director for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, told the GA audience that her federation and Jewish Family Services agency are seeing increased numbers of boomers seeking their help.
American Jews over age 50 are losing their jobs and coming to the federation for help paying mortgages, accessing health care and training for jobs in new sectors, she said. Blumberg noted that many were former donors who are no longer able or willing to give — at least not at previous levels.
The Detroit federation has created a number of programs to help these adults. Women to Work provides job training for women who have never been in the workforce but whose husbands are now unemployed. Prime Time helps those over 50 prepare for a second career and acquire necessary computer skills, as well as estate planning and medical care.
“Federations are certainly interested in increasing their donor base, and are looking for ways to engage baby boomers as volunteers, too,” Blumberg said, noting that a number of boomers have been recruited to serve on committees, plan these initiatives and even provide the pro-bono professional services that their colleagues now need to access, from medical care to legal advice.
It is well known that federations are trying to engage and train young leaders, but this year for the first time the Detroit federation started a leadership training program for boomers to bring them into the federation system as planners and other agency personnel.
“We are looking for opportunities that speak to them, where they can give back to the community and make a difference,” Blumberg said. “Federations around the country haven’t really developed a comprehensive approach” to the problem.
“If we lose this generation,” she said, “we lose their children and grandchildren.”
Click to login and write a letter to the editor or register for a new account.
Sue Fishkoff writes about Jewish life for the JTA and is the author of the 2010 book “Kosher Nation
Baby boomers on the radar
To the Editor:
Re “Whither the Jewish baby boomers?”
: I was thrilled to read that the baby boomer population is finally on the radar screen of the American Jewish community. In particular, I applaud the grass-roots organization JBoomers for its pioneering initiative to reach out to this underserved Jewish population.
As Professor David Elcott points out in the report “Baby Boomers, Public Service and Minority Communities: A Case Study of the Jewish Community in the United States,” Jewish boomers present both challenges and opportunities for the organized American Jewish community.
Boomers bring a wealth of energy, resources and creativity. The challenge is to provide meaningful spiritual, educational and social justice programs that actively engage Jewish boomers while fostering and strengthening Jewish community ties. It’s time to step up to the plate.
Posted: November 1st, 2010 | Author: Jerry Weider | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »
By David Elcott, Stuart Himmelfarb, Roberta Marcus Leiner, Gary Rosenblatt
Berman Jewish Policy Archive, Research Center for Leadership in Action, NYU Wagner, September 21, 2010
A forum held at NYU Wagner discussing Prof. David Elcott’s report “Baby Boomers, Public Service, and Minority Communities: A Case Study of the Jewish Community in the United States.”
In this report, Dr. David Elcott finds that most Jewish Baby Boomers see retirement as a time for work and service, not rest. But he argues that organizations serving ethnic or religious communities are unprepared to tap this potentially huge influx of talent and experience. Based on a nationwide survey of 34 metropolitan Jewish communities conducted in July 2009, the survey elicited the attitudes of more than 6,500 individual Baby Boomer respondents about their future plans for public service and civic engagement. In addition to analyzing the survey data, Elcott offers recommendations on how the Jewish community can find substantial pathways that will engage Baby Boomers in communal institutional life.
Topic: Jewish Organizations, Jewish Communal Service, Volunteerism, Generational Issues, Engagement, Retirement
You can hear the pod cast at: http://bjpa.org/Publications/details.cfm?PublicationID=6509