“The pandemic has accelerated a movement to think of work and life in a more open-minded way,” Jeff Tidwell, CEO and cofounder of Next for Me, told me. “No matter the age, over the past year we rethought what work-life balance could be, including the time we spend with our families and communities, and even where we live.”
I started a new company this fall. It’s called Next For Me. We publish a weekly newsletter that’s a resource to post-50 life for new work, a new purpose, or a new social contribution. You can subscribe right here.
It began to add up for me. There are 76 million baby boomers in total. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 2060.
Over 40% aren’t financially prepared for a life without traditional income past 65. People are living significantly longer than when big programs like Social Security were put in place. Pensions have been cut from most careers outside of government. The Government Accountability Office said in an October report, “If no action is taken, a retirement crisis could be looming.”
The companies of today are not prepared to welcome and employ older employees with meaningful work. Hiring and support for the unique needs of the audience is lacking. Most HR departments are just beginning to acknowledge the need to address these workers in new ways. In fact, ageism is as prevalent as ever in the workplace.
And still, 60% say the most important thing they look for in a job is meaningful work.
Many are looking at next careers or how to evolve in their existing industries in ways that will account for the wisdom and experience they bring to their work. In some forward-thinking organizations mentoring programs have emerged. The roles can be exchangeable too. A unique perspective from a younger worker might keep the older worker up to date on industry trends. In return, the more senior worker can provide advice on decision making or some “been there, done that” common sense.
Lisa Napoli at Gracefully Radio interviewed me about why we started Next For Me. In the conversation we cover the changing face of retirement, a looming fiscal crisis and changes in the workplace for +50 workers.
Below is the video and text of a presentation I gave at Tech Inclusion in San Francisco on October 19, 2017
Today is my epic story and some techniques for surviving as a graying, gay person in tech.
I’ve worked in tech for close to 35 years and alternative newspapers before that.
I was always interested in changing the status quo through media and associated myself with organizations that I thought at least accepted who I was.
When there was discrimination it was often subtle, but thanks to some early activism I was always reactive first.
Sorry mean people.
I survived with a technique I’ve come to call
“The Humanist + Activist Approach”
Here’s how it works and why it’s more important than ever today.
If you haven’t noticed… blatant harrassment and discrimination is filling the news cycles.
We’re in a dangerous political environment. Those in power today are turning back the clock on many gains in civil rights. Just yesterday our vile, so called president was joking about lynching gays. Seriously
This thinking is becoming normalized and will bleed into the workplace and discrimination will become even more OK.
This may be hard, but before you react, take time to understand the experiences and point of view of the people you interact with. That’s the Humanist part.
You DO have a right to be at the table without discrimination though. so, Don’t ever back down.- That’s the Activist part.
Subtle uneasiness. Always can tell that something is off that you can’t put your finger on it. This is when understanding that person matters.
Still, a lot goes unstated. You can almost hear it “He’s old and doesn’t get it” “Gay people are different” “I’d rather not know about that thing I don’t understand” “we don’t