Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Nutwood Baby Boomer Edition

I recently started subscribing to a site called Politics Daily, and I'm really enjoying it. It's many of the writers that posted on AOL's Political Machine, plus a few new faces, and I like the quick analyses and perspectives. Earlier today, I read my favorite piece of the day, and I think it will be one of my all-time favorites.

Gary Sinise For President?

Dylan and Ethan Ris

Posted: 05/12/09

Over at the Daily Beast, columnist Nicolle Wallace figures that the GOP needs a Reaganesque figure to lead the party out of the wilderness. That means finding someone with Reagan's most important attribute: mid-level moviedom fame.

So after parsing the four Republicans in Hollywood, Wallace settled on Gary Sinise as the GOP nominee for president in 2012.

... Gary Sinise might be our savior. According to news reports, he's part of an underground group of conservatives in Hollywood-an act of bravery in itself. His stated belief in American exceptionalism might end up being a powerful contrast to Obama's "American apologist" mantra. The natural strengths that an actor brings to politics would come in handy to anyone going up against Obama in 2012. We will need an effective communicator who can stand toe to toe with Obama's eloquence.

We agree to support Sinise's candidacy, but only if Tom Hanks commits to following him around on the campaign trail shouting "President Dan! You got new legs!" at regular intervals.

Lieutenant Dan

I'm glad I wasn't taking a drink when I read that, because I would have done a spit take!


It was nice and sunny today, so I sat out on the deck for a while. Ken was off today, so we got to spend some quality time with Mr. and Mrs. Lounge Chair! After I read Time's 100 most influential people issue, I finished a Ladies' Home Journal. This wasn't the same magazine that had the silly slumber party for adults blurb, and there was actually a very interesting article about generational conflicts in the workplace. I've talked about that with former coworkers, Ken and I have talked about it, and I believe he wrote an entry about it at some point. (I don't know where to start looking for it, or I'd link to it.)

It addressed three main groups: Baby Boomers, who make up 40% of today's workforce; Generation X, who comprise 36%; and the youngest group, the Millenials, who are 16% of the workforce, but growing. (The Matures are the other 8%, and that number is falling.) Ken and I are on the tail end of the Baby Boom (born in 1962), as are many of my former coworkers, and we've both experienced some of the conflicts mentioned in the article. I think the thing that got to me the most was the sense of entitlement that many young workers seem to have now--a feeling that they should get everything they ask for, that they don't want to work weekends or holidays, and that they should never have to work overtime.

Disclaimer: I'm coming at this from a healthcare perspective, so your results may vary. I was also privileged to work with many fine younger people who didn't feel that way, but I've also worked with some who did.

This was especially hard for some of us who had been in healthcare for a long time. We felt that we had "paid our dues" by working multiple shifts, plenty of weekends, lots of holidays, long hours, etc. After over 20 years of working, I was still working every other weekend when I stopped working. You can imagine how maddening it was to hear some younger people come in and say, "I'm not working every other weekend" or "I can't work those hours."

The article goes on to talk about the things that the various generations can learn from each other, and there are some good lessons there. Us Baby Boomers can be a little on the rigid side, and have a feeling of "Hey, I had to do this, so you do, too." I think we need to get beyond that, because technology and attitudes are changing, and younger people don't necessarily want to be defined by their jobs. They have many outside interests and value their leisure time. Perhaps workplaces need to be a little more flexible when it comes to accommodating hours, flex time, etc. This doesn't always work in healthcare, because so much of it is hands-on, and round-the-clock.

I also think that Gen X-ers and Millenials need to recognize that there are some things that they can't just walk in and do. Sometimes experience is necessary, and can take years to develop. Respect the knowledge of those who have been doing the job for years; there is much they can teach you, and they usually have a pretty strong work ethic worth emulating. I would also suggest that they reconsider multiple piercings in the workplace, especially in a healthcare setting--the less hardware and fewer holes you have, the less your chance of infection, or passing an infection on to others. Clothing itself can be a problem, as older workers sometimes don't approve of more casual attire. When I worked in Indianapolis in the 90's, my favorite attire was leggings and a long T-shirt. A group of older workers put together a new dress code, and decided that leggings shouldn't be worn. That was silly, and leggings and long shirts or tunics are very common now.

It's definitely an interesting dynamic. We would all do well to recognize our differences, but try to understand each others' strengths. As goes the workplace, so goes life, eh?


  1. Gary Sinise/Rush Limbaugh - WHAT a winning ticket! Of course, they'll both have to take down Ms. Palin, first!

    As far as the Baby Boomers vs. Gen X'ers and Millenials (new word to me!) - very interesting. I think the bigger question, at least in the near future, is going to be finding ANY job, never mind arguing over how many hours they don't want to work.

  2. I happen to think that some of the generational issues are a result of the greatest generation being just that ... what is ther may I ask, for anyone else to do?

    The Greatest's had grand parents who grew up in slavery, and saw man land on the moon. Fought great evil in WWII, and over threw so many social issues that you name it, they did it first!

    You can't imagaine what it is like to tell a young brother that 'No, you too could really be President!'. Women haven't got there yet, but it too is rightthere from their grasp.

    Computing, genetics, you name it, it has been done. So what is there left for the Gen-X and Millenials to do? And you thought the 80's were the period where 'Greed was Good'?

    I am not sure that all the changes that are being pushed for are necessarily the best things for anyone. Much of it is change for the sake of change. The incivility reminds me of that, at how causally people speak and address one another.

    Because it has come so easily, the younger generations don't understand how much sacrifice has been made to make things available, not only to posess them. And materialism seems to be the lever that moves them most. So much rampant hypocrisy in the green movement is evident.

    A lot of what I see going on, is the kind of futuristic, Blade Runner-esque kind of society forming. The top of the economic food chain is controlling more and more wealth, strangling off opportunity. I would think that would lead to more and more problems within generations, because the ability to earn things and feel empathy for their fellow man, actually is missing.

    Empathy is something to make you look good, a cosemtic thing. For instance, I think Brangelina cares about what they do, but other not so much. Anyway, I am rambling. As Snaggle Puss would say, 'Exit, stage right!'

  3. Our current economic climate shall come to pass in a year or so, but the aging workforce will soon be looming. There are millions that will retire, and the Gen X's and Gen Y's will have to step in. The whole workforce dynamic will need to change.

  4. I'm a Gen X'er and was SHOCKED by the amount of people my age that have that attitude. The job I heard it the most at was at a craft store. I was thinking, ok you don't work THAT many hours to begin with and this job is easy as fuck, quit your bitching. You don't get to walk into a job and own it after a month. Damn babies. ;)

  5. most of the people i work with that whine about wanting weekends off and the same benefits of long term employees are not the young..it is the newly hired 35-55 yr olds...they are coming into a place making half what they used to because they were laid off and they are pissed off about it and are quite vocal in their demands and envy/dislike of any long term associates who do have the weekends off or such things. The young ones just quit...constantly....very very very few stay at my employer.....if you are 20-30 and come to where i work, you most likely will quit in a year or less.
    I love Mr. Sinise..LOVE him and have watched him in every thing he has ever been in...i will watch CSI:NY and hit mute and just watch his mouth move..

  6. Here's a different spin on this - what are they trading work for?

    I'm of the opinion that Americans NEED to find a better work/life balance. It's a shame to me that we don't have a cultural tradition like a 4:00 p.m. tea time, or a two hour siesta where businesses close.

    I'm only 32 and been in the work force for ten years now, and I definitely respect the sacrifices my parents made for me to have the opportunities I did (and do!), but now that I'm further out from childhood, I'm shocked at just how much we missed as a family together because of their insistence on working so much.

    For what?

    A new car? that screened in porch? a bigger house?

    If you want to get at the root of the Gen X (me) and the Millenials (my brother) self-centered mentality, why criticize them? Perhaps we should look at the people that raised them (the Boomers' generation).

    It's no coincidence that suburban life, mass market materialism, and class/gender strife either began or came to a head during their life-times. The boomers began the current focus on wealth and acquisition long before Gen X and the Millenials came around. And is it so far of a stretch to see the origins of today's self-centered 'I'm important' cyber-culture in the rights movements of the 60s and 70s, where entire groups of people demanded to be recognized for their true worth and value?

    Granted, the Gen-Xers and Millenials have perverted the message into something nasty, but the similarity remains.

    Just a different take (and maybe not one I believe in fully - the devil's advocate is a fun role to play!)

  7. I'm one of the older Boomers, on the cusp of being a Greatest. To avoid being an Old Fart, I have to remind myself that any mistakes or perceived craziness exhibited by younger people is almost certainly a result of inexperience and the idea that they're impervious to the trials and tribulations of life. Unless one has experienced it, studied it, and lived with it, one can't knock it. I agree with Charley that we Boomers are partially responsible.

  8. As a younger Booner, I fully remember those days, nights and weekends. When I left nursing after 25 years, I found my two greatest headaches was; 1.health care becoming more and more busniess and 2. those who were following in my footsteps.
    I couldn't tell these girls anything; they knew it all. They didn't want to work weekends, holidays, nights. Then why even bother go into healthcare. Or any field for that matter if your not going to listen to those more experence than you.
    But then my heart was recently warmed when my rabbi's daughter came to me and asked my advise. She's studing to be a nurse :)

  9. I just got back from my trip to Boston to spend Mother's Day with my children.

    Your topic in this entry hit a nerve when I heard my son-in-law complain that his manager just changed his hours and his days off. He works retail. He was furious! I can see someone being disappointed but with today's economy, I thought he should be grateful to be employed!

    But as a good mother-in-law, I kept my mouth shut.

    I think today's generation makes more demands on employers than we did in my era. We negotiated but never overstepped our boundries...it was considered disrespectful and also fearful of losing our job.

    Hugs, Rose

  10. I'm a boomer and I recall in my childhood that there were predictions that as technology expanded and became more efficient that the work week would grow shorter because people would be able to work more efficiently with the assistance of technology. We were going to strike a better balance between work and leisure. Unfortunately in the U.S., most working class people have very little leisure time. We have no provisions for mandatory vacation time in the workplace, unlike many of our industralized counterparts in other parts of the world. We work a lot and die young. Some progress.


I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you?