As a 40-year veteran of the world of work (I did start young, OK?) I am definitely in the boomer category though like many of my generational cohort I’ve had multiple different careers in that time – starting our new careers along with new career Gen-Xers; maybe even very early new career Gen-Yers. That may have kept us career-changing boomers on our toes!
The Future is Here
Like many other boomers, I am in the downward slope of traditional employment (whatever that means these days) and am realizing that I and my cohort are now the elder statesmen (gulp) in our organizations, with responsibility to provide feedback, guidance, and support to those who are coming up behind us. And, like many other boomers, I expect to continue working past “retirement” but for myself rather than for an employer. This is all happening now for many of us and soon for the rest of us.
Future Ready: Collaboration, Alignment, Adaptable skills, and Community
In my current profession as an information researcher/analyst I belong to the Special Libraries Association, whose mantra this year is Future Ready. The concept of “future ready” spans four themes: collaboration, alignment, adaptable skills, and community. As an association and as a profession, we strive and struggle to incorporate these themes into the ways we do business.
Understanding, internalizing, and acting on those four themes is essential, in my opinion, to effectively fulfilling the dual desires of many boomers to provide support to those following them in the workplace and to move into self-employment after we leave the workplace.
Credibility and Influence Follow
We must collaborate with and value our co-workers, customers, clients and organizational superiors and subordinates, if you’ll pardon the expression.
We must align our thinking and our actions to the needs of the preceding groups and individuals.
We must be adaptable to explore new skills.
We must reaffirm for ourselves the incredible value of community, and recognize that a sense of community may be even more integral to younger generations than to ourselves. In these ways we will have credibility with those we hope to guide, support … and do business with in the future.
P.S. Social Media Cannot be Ignored
We boomers did not grow up from childhood tech-literate in the current sense; from pocket calculators to personal computers to smartphones; from dial-up bulletin boards to the world wide web to email to the explosion in social media tools – we’ve had to continuously catch up. Some in my generational cohort give short shrift to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the many other social media resources that continue to evolve. But
social media resources are such a powerful addition to the “toolkit” that enables us to collaborate, align, adapt, and expand our community. To ignore it; to refuse to continue “keeping up”, will indirectly hurt our credibility and our ability to build future opportunities.
Personally I look forward to using all available resources to help me support those incredible people who are still building their careers, while at the same time building community with those I will be doing business with in the future as well.
Nora Stoecker is a full-time information researcher/legislative analyst in a very large scientific and engineering research organization. Prior to a career as a legislative analyst she was a research librarian; before that she spent many years in human resources. In addition Nora is the owner of NKS Info Services, a part-time freelance information research business. She’s currently also President of the local chapter of the Special Libraries Association. Nora has worked with Impact PeoplePractices for almost a year now, helping Christine McLeod Founder of Impact with research.