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Age: The Curse of Being A Baby Boomer Making a Career Decision

Updated on February 12, 2013

Making A Career Decision Over a Cup of Coffee

Is it a curse to be a baby boomer with values? Sometimes I think so.

There's a song, an old song, written by Gordon Lightfoot back in the day and the lyric goes "I'm on my second cup of coffee and I still can't face the day." The lyric is playing over and over again in my mind and I can't break free of it. I'm actually on my third cup of coffee and trying to make a career decision and I am struggling. All the values that are a part of me are getting in the way.

I was raised in a modest income family and taught that there are no free rides. You work for what you get. No one gives you anything. It has no value unless you earn it. These are the things I grew up hearing from my parents, our neighbors, and my teachers. Somewhere along the line, it stuck, and became a part of me. I've always worked hard and tried to be the best at what I did. My personal value was determined by the quality of my work, not the amount of money I made. People have been kind to me along the way but I never expected their kindness. I have been grateful for it but never have I expected it.

My core values of honesty and integrity seem more like a curse than a blessing in this job market today. I can't fluff up my resume with things I've not really done and I can't blow sunshine (you know what I mean) in an interview. Geeze, I can't even ask for the money that I know I'm worth because it feels like greed. It's just not in me to be greedy. I'm just one of those old-school baby boomers who wants to earn a decent living. What's wrong with that?

I Am What I Am

Over the course of my career I've acquired some very attractive skills that transfer across a wide array of industries. Those same skills can be presented as very generalized skills or very specialized skills. It's all in the phrasing. If I followed the advice of some of the career web sites, I could make myself look like a six-figure candidate or, a minimum wage one.The problem is that I just ca't make myself fluff it up or dumb it down. I am what I am. I just want to earn a living being that - a decent person with above average skills who wants to make a decent wage.

The Baby Boomer Curse

So what is it about being a baby boomer that makes it so hard to find work today? I've made a list of things that are holding me back.

  • I won't accept a job that I know I will hate.
  • I can't accept a job that I know I will not be good at.
  • I don't want to accept a job knowing I will continue searching for the right job.
  • It doesn't seem fair to take a job that can't possibly pay my bills.
  • I will not work for a company that I feel has no moral integrity.
  • I won't misrepresent myself just to get a job.

As I made the list, I found myself wondering if I am totally unreasonable. Am I nuts? It's a tough job market out there and job offers are scarce. Are these values that I hold so dear (honesty, integrity, loyalty) a baby boomer's curse?

Times Have Changed

When I entered the workforce back in the early 70's, employers looked for candidates who would make a commitment to grow with and stay with the company for many years. That was the secret to gaining experience which was considered a valuable commodity. Somewhere along the line that seems to have changed and "experience" now translates to "exposure". Employers don't seem to care how many years you invested to hone your skills. They seem to care more about how many different experiences you have had.

More than a few times lately prospective employers have commented on my varied experiences. Not one of them has mentioned the 35 years I worked for the same company. I was proud of that record, thinking that it demonstrated loyalty. I just don't think most employers are looking for loyalty anymore. They would rather have you hire on, stay a bit, then move on. I suppose there is something to be said for bringing in new blood with fresh ideas and economically it is probably smart. If no one stays long then companies avoid paying benefits such as retirement and non-working time off (vacation). From a business point of view, I understand it. Times have changed but I haven't. I still think there is nothing more valuable than a dedicated, experienced employee.

I Won't Give Up And I Won't Give In

I've just poured the fourth cup of coffee. I'll have to rewrite that old song because I still can't face the day. Sometimes writing is more about hearing your own words than writing for the benefit of an audience. I've heard myself loud and clear and I've made a decision.

The job I was offered yesterday will most likely go to someone else. It would have been a good fit but there were some obstacles to it being the perfect job. If I compromise, I won't be happy and neither will the employer. If I accept it, they will have wasted time training me while I continued searching for the job that meets my needs. It isn't fair to them or me.

I won't give in to the new career model of here today, gone tomorrow but I won't give up either. Somewhere out there is an employer who wants an experienced employee who can be counted on to be there and get it done. There must be. The curse of the baby boomer is only a challenge to be met head on. I will honor the values instilled in me and sooner or later I'll find a job that values those things too.

Thanks Gordon! Thanks Hubpages!

Thanks for the lyric Gordon Lightfoot. Without it, I may have made the wrong decision. Your lyric brought me here to this place, Hubpages, a place to put thoughts into print and action.

For those who don't know him, Gordon Lightfoot is a legendary song writer/musician from Ontario, Canada. His music has spanned the folk, pop, and country genres. Bob Dylan says Gordon Lighfoot is his favorite song writer. He could become yours too.

Inspiration comes from many places. We just have to be open to listen.

Today my inspiration came from a song I heard a long time ago and a wonderful tool called Hubpages that I only recently discovered. The past meets the future.

It is a good day!

© 2012 Linda Crist, All rights reserved.

Read more of my hubs here.

Amazon - Gordon Lightfoot


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