Small Biz Boomer

Life Lessons for All Generations

Archive for the tag “AARP”

For BabyBoomers Sometimes It’s Best to “Listen Down”

Recently I attended  a conference  where I met two young women  who had just attended a workshop for millennials.  One was  a millennial and  the other a Gen-Xer .  Both expressed concern about the lack of clarity and focus of  the  panel.  The workshop, they said, simply did not speak to them.  I asked them about their concerns and found they had some great ideas to what could have been done differently.  We then discussed their workplace situation.  It seems both faced barriers and constant challenges  from baby boomers who were still stuck on how things were done 20 years ago.   The boomers, they said, would not even try to . listen to their ideas.

No doubt about it we  baby boomers are amazing.  I do know and greatly appreciate “AARP” – the American Association for Retired Persons which advocates for us boomers and those older.   We have amazing  role models that remain relevant across generations .  Witness Aretha Franklin,    “The Queen of  Soul,” with a new comeback album that will “cover” the latest hits.   The late  Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Brendan Eich (the guy that invented JavaScript) remain tech industry  and social  icons.   Heck we even can claim a  U.S. President  (Barack Obama).   We are leaders of social change,  news anchors, business owners,  heads of state, corporate giants, authors and  we are  eternally young to boot.   Yet for far too many it has been hard for us  to make room for the generations that  have come after us.  While we have much wisdom and knowledge to pass on,  we have become rather stingy and egotistical about it.  We jealously guard our turf, not wanting to share.  Worst we don’t want to hear fresh ideas from those younger than us.  Yes, we will hire “young” presuming that younger  means cheaper just so long as  our ideals,  our wisdom, our  knowledge will still dominate.  That need, by the way, includes the workplace as well as the simple community event.     So where can we start to bridge the information/wisdom/knowledge gap?   Let’s just start by listening.   Young people have a lot to offer not just in terms of social media or new tech know-how.  Many are also quite wise.  Frankly, if  we #boomers are to really to  remain “forever young,” we have to start listening and respecting what we hear from members of   generations that follow us.    So  next time a seemingly overconfident millennial or gen-Xer offers you advice,  just listen.  It may be the first step in helping you change the world  or at least change your life.

 

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SXSW: BoomerRise

Now in its 27th  year “South  by Southwest ‘  SXSW interactive/film/music festival indeed has something for everyone.   Thousands from around the world attend the annual event  in Austin, Texas each year.   Still,  the  debate in the news media raged on to  whether “Southby” – the launching pad for  Facebook,  Twitter and  Foursquare – was still cool.  One thing for sure baby boomers , including yours truly, were EVERYWHERE.

The SXSW Interactive speakers menu  was dominated by boomers:   Angel funder/philosopher Guy Kawasaki,  Segway inventor Dean Kamen, astrophysist Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Raleigh, North Carolina Mayor Nancy McFarlane and BoomerWiz Blogger Patricia Patton.

I managed to catch a few “selfies” with the famous and not so famous.

Baby boomers were everywhere.

Leading Others to the Path of Reinvention: PR Guru Dwain Schenck

Dwain Schneck, author of "Reset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act"

Dwain Schneck, author of “Reset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act”

When Dwain Schenck lost his job in 2012 he was in denial for six  months. He had never been out of work and had a long, successful public relations career. He in fact was in many ways a pioneer in the public relations field. Now he is a leader in another arena – personal reinvention – as the author of a new book, “Reset: How to Beat the Job-Loss Blues and Get Ready for Your Next Act”

Dwain’s career path included  being  director of public relations for AmeriCares and director of communications for Quantel.  He also had his own public relations consulting business for many years before taking a job as Vice President of Communications for a Fortune 500 corporation. It was that job that would lead Dwain to his latest path of reinvention when he was let go. “I have found there are two kinds of ways people deal with losing a job in this economy: there are those who look at it as a market reality and are practical about the situation and say to themselves ‘it’s just a bad economy, it’s not my fault’ and they move on and usually find a new job or a source of income and satisfaction, ” Dwain said. ” Then there are those on the other side of the ledger: those who are emotionally devastated from their job loss and feel like they’ll never work again. I definitely fell into that category,” he said.

In his book Dwain describes his own journey after his firing which included a furtive and depressing job search. Throughout that time period he confided in friends including MSNBC”Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski who herself had gone through a devastating and public job loss at CBS. Dwain remained depressed and it was Mika who pointed out to him his unique  communications style and candor and suggested writing the book—for no other reason than to help others learn how to keep their sanity through their job search.  After some rumination he began to rebuild his life and now, in addition to writing the new book and making speaking engagements and media appearances he has formed Schenck Strategies LLC (www.schenckstrategies.com), a boutique corporate communications agency.

Still, his greatest passion is helping other people who have suffered the pain of job loss.  Indeed, “Reset” is a road map for those who need to quell the initial shock of being fired , forgive themselves before moving on and  to take that next steps in their careers and lives.  Dwain and his business associates have created a web site that serves as a resource and offers an open discussion platform for the suddenly unemployed to get moral support on an ongoing basis (www.resetyourfuture.com).ResetCover

“If you live long enough and have the ability to step outside yourself once in a while, you realize your problems are not unique – say from your neighbor’s problems,” Dwain said.

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