Monday, February 15, 2010

New economy, new attitude

While enjoying my 9:30 a.m. yoga class this morning, I glanced around the room of 22 or so students, and noticed that almost all of us "regulars" are Baby Boomers -- from 40-something to early 60s or so. Meanwhile, lots of other Boomers were out in the gym, exercising on machines, in the circuit, with weights, etc.

Hmmm, I thought. It's interesting that so many people in this age group are able to attend a class that clearly falls during the 9-5 workday.

Though it's probably a combination of factors (retirees, people on flex time, housewives, etc.), I suspect that many are, like me, working as a freelancer or a consultant these days.

It's no secret that middle-aged workers have borne the brunt of the downsizing fever these past couple of years, as employers, eyeing only the bottom line, gleefully cut us loose from our well-paying positions. After eking it out on unemployment, applying for the few paltry jobs out there, and getting thoroughly discouraged, many Boomers seem to have found their way into the world of self-employment -- via contract, freelance or consulting jobs.

And I'd be willing to bet that they're loving it! This lifestyle gives you independence, freedom and flexibility -- especially if you can land some well-paying gigs.

Want to go to a 9:30 weekday exercise class? Planning to meet a friend for a leisurely two-hour lunch? Feel like popping in a load of laundry so it doesn't pile up so much? Go for it!

Think better after midnight when the kids are asleep and the house is quiet? Work more efficiently in smaller bursts as opposed to a drawn-out, eight-hour day? Want to tackle some projects in the evening while the TV is on in the background? Go for it!

After spending much of our lives as drones for some big, soulless corporation, it's nice to finally see what real life balance can look like. And you know what, I'm thinking this might just come back to bite said corporations in the butt -- big-time.

For, when they start hiring again and needing quality workers, they're probably going to cast desirous glances our way. After all, the things middle-aged workers bring to the job -- our experience, our wisdom, our work ethic, our focus, our maturity, our knowledge -- are things that benefit the bottom line in the long run. And the things we lack -- shallowness, entitlement, it's-all-about-me drama, callowness -- are found in abundance in the rest of the employee pool!

I don't know about you, fellow Baby Boomer, but the new economy has given me a new attitude. When these companies crook their fingers, I'm not going to go running back to them with my tail between my legs.

Sorry, no -- I've got a yoga class to catch!

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