In the past few days we’ve talked about the twenty-somethings and the challenge we have to reinvent work for them, and manage them differently.
Well, we boomers won’t be going quietly. We’re also reinventing work for ourselves. I’m not alone in my opinion that retirement ceased to be a viable option with my parents’ generation. Take a look at this, then click back in, I’ll wait.
Many boomers turn self-employed.
The print-version of the article had this byline: “More than 11 percent of those over age 50 work for themselves.” So reports a 2003 study by AARP, and I’ll bet it’s way more than that now. Making the switch to self-employment is getting to be a pretty common denominator with people I’m working with, call it “entrepreneurial coaching.” And my clients aren’t making this switch because they have to, they want to. It’s exciting, energizing stuff.
Count me in the trend: I didn’t even wait for my half-century mark. When I left the corporate workforce over a year ago there was no doubt in my mind that I’d keep working for a long time to come, and probably until I physically couldn’t. I turned to what I most wanted to do, management coaching, figuring out how to turn work-desire into profit (versus paycheck). And I’m having the time of my life: I should have done it sooner. As grateful as I am for the years I spent in the corporate environment (sure learned a lot, met great people), I’m not going back to it.
One of my biggest hopes for the near future is that small business enterprise will make bigger market gains—and fast.
I have dreams about Main Street USA coming back all over the country, proliferating the distinctiveness, charm, tenacity, and values-building character of the mom-and-pop operations that taught great work ethic first and foremost. “Work” meant “livelihood”—remember that word?—Lively neighborhood” Heck, I want barter to make a strong comeback too.
Ironically, even if this throw-back to traditional free enterprise were to happen, it would be considered big change today, seen as more evidence that “the only constant is change.” Well, great. Change calls for new thinking, new learning, and entrepreneurs are terrific students: The best kind of learning is that which you do for yourself.