September 26, 2013 // 9:37 AM

The Entrepreneurial Spirit of the Baby Boomer Generation

Written by Scott Miller

For the Baby Boomer generation, reaching age 65 doesn’t mean they’ll stop working. For some, financial reasons compel them to continue working for an additional 5 or 10 years. Others simply enjoy their careers and don’t want to leave quite yet.  Some workers stick to their current career whether by choice or necessity, but others use retirement as an opportunity to “re-career.” This is a recent trend that is revolutionizing the American workforce.

Boomers remember their parents retiring in their sixties and taking it easy for the last decades of their life. But today’s worker doesn’t view work the same way. For them, work is a lifestyle and a way of self-fulfillment.  They may retire from their jobs at 65, but then they will freelance in the same field or start their own businesses.

The boomer generation is leading the way in entrepreneurship. Many simply started using their free time with hobbies or volunteering before they realized they could turn it into a business.  Non-profits have started at the hands of seasoned workers who have retired and gone back to work for themselves. Older workers report finally feeling fulfilled doing something that they are passionate about and love doing. At that point, it isn’t even work. It’s about feeling useful and contributing to the world.

For years “older” workers struggled with ageism, but employers are now seeing the value of seasoned workers. Companies typically preferred to hire younger workers because they assumed that they were cheaper, tenacious and more energetic and creative.  However, recent studies have shown that these stereotypes are untrue. An older worker typically has superior performance to fresh college grads because of their wide experience and honed skills. Even concerns about mental abilities are unfounded. The average seasoned worker has excellent concentration and better performance than a young worker who is constantly distracted and multi-tasking.

More and more employers value the wealth of experience that older workers bring to the table.  They may have been in a several industries, come with  a variety of refined skills and  a number of advantageous contacts. They can typically make wiser decisions drawing from past experiences.

These traits aren’t just helping them get jobs in the workforce and excel. They’re also helping them be entrepreneurs and change the world. While smart phone apps and tech start ups are constantly being covered in the news, smaller entrepreneurial ventures are making an impact behind the scenes in the local community. Small nonprofits and consulting businesses are providing value to the community and some impact the world on a larger scale.

We have community members at Garden Spot Village that are part of this movement. They are re-defining what it means to be “retired.” For many that have left their career behind, it doesn’t mean they are done working. It just means they’re moving on to the next great thing.

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