As any Generation X, or for that matter Generation Y, knows well the Baby Boomers are an intimidating lot. The motto of Baby Boomer Brats has for ever been “I want, therefore I MUST have. And NOW!”
The retelling of a little history - to enlighten following generations (who have my total sympathy) about why Baby Boomer Brats (BBBs for short) are so demanding, so self-centred, so immature and so noisy - reveals all.
World War II broke out only 25 years after the horrific World War I when thousands were slaughtered. WWII was no picnic either. When peace was declared men, women and children danced in the streets out of the sheer joy of finding themselves still alive. (I speak as one who danced.) With the new chance to live life in peace, people quickly decided to have families, a house and to live in the way they had dreamed of during the grim war years. They were thrilled out of their minds (almost literally) when their babies arrived - today’s Baby Boomers.
Since they themselves had had to go without the good things of life during the war years, the parents of Baby Boomers vowed their children would be denied nothing. And they stuck to that. Unwittingly they bred a generation of spoilt brats and it is this mostly spoilt generation (in the west at least) that following generations have to deal with. These are people who have been used to getting their own way since birth and stamped their feet and shouted when they didn’t.
Fortunately among their ranks, some Baby Boomers (BBs) have managed to mature and become fully adult and responsible, though goodness how they managed it; the others remain BBBs, that is the brats they ever were. Often to be found in the professions and allied occupations, BBBs used to be known as “yuppies” and “dinks”. Some of them are now tipping into their 60s.
Although some youngsters today are staying at home longer and are therefore slower to mature, my heart bled for a 19-year-old who, in a letter to an editor recently, was scathing about BBs, pointing out that when starting off BBs had the benefit of steady and lifelong jobs available and could buy a house at a reasonable price.
In comparison, today’s young generation face a life of constantly fluctuating employment, constant re-training and astoundingly high house prices. He wanted to know why BBs were still grisling. Good point, but he was really referring to BBBs. We’ve all seen them sulk like a child and how a teenage son (or daughter) has had to try to keep some family aplomb going. What was it the poet said about the son being father of the man?
Much to the amusement of some of the previous generation, BBBs are reaching retirement age and likely to continue to be noisy. No doubt the politicians will listen, well sort of, when they shriek blue murder about their own concerns. But one of the penalties of growing older, they will discover, is loss of influence. This will not go down well with BBBs.
But there is some light on the horizon and new needs and demands are bubbling up. It’s called a skills shortage and governments have been twisting and turning to find experienced workers overseas to fill jobs. It has also brought a new focus on training older workers (late 30s and 40s), who in their younger lives missed out on an apprenticeship in trade skills, which could open up another at least 20 years of useful working life, if not longer.
Also slowly employers are beginning to value older workers, their expertise and corporate knowledge, but too slowly. Significantly while talking about recruitment at the National Press Club (May 31, 2006), Defence Minister Brendan Nelson mentioned it was clear that in administrative areas “(defence) people could go on well into their 50s.”
The dumping of workers because they have reached some age-line in the sky (I speak as one dumped by a BBB because I was “old”) is now being re-thought by progressive employers. So, it could be back to work for some Baby Boomers and for some from the earlier generation (the Brats can stay at home and moan).
As Brisbane fitness instructor Gina Neville points out because of improvement in health and fitness, today’s 70-year-old is equivalent to a 50-year-old of the previous generation. They can well work many more years, and some do, a fact no doubt not lost on pension policy development researchers, though politicians may be afraid to go there.
After all, you can only go around Australia in a campervan just so many times, play golf, go on yet more tours and cruises, and then what? Play bingo? After the house has been renovated from top to bottom, and you’ve bored the family silly, do you sit waiting for Godot?
Heck, no, but that’s what some older people are tempted to do. People need objectives to go on living constructively. They still need a contribution to make. One of the benefactors of older people’s longer strength and health, of course, are the voluntary organisations which depend on voluntary workers to operate. That’s good, but at the moment a lot of vital living and active work contributions are being lost because of attitudes towards older people when the workforce could do with them. What a waste.
Maybe older people should get together with the brigade of BB noisy Brats, newly retired but still in full voice, to wage war on attitudes.