As one generation leaves, another takes its place

The people who grew up during the depression and went thru WW2 are leaving us. The people who grew up in the 60’s with all its issues both good and bad, are retiring and leaving places of business for the life of a retiree. People like me in their 50’s are taking their place in the areas of management and leadership in business and civil society.

So what do you all see happening with this? It seems like just yesterday all my managers were Vietnam veterans.

What do you all think as the generations turn?

This probably belongs in IMHO, but I think this is nothing new. It’s been happening since the dawn of man. Older people leave the workforce and younger people take over. I don’t see significant generational changes happening myself. I’m 62 and still work full time. Not all baby boomers have retired. This generational turnover is slow and gradual. We’ll survive it.

Reported for forum change.

That’s a sobering thought.

Far more worrisome is if this weren’t happening. It’s actually my single biggest worry about life-extension technology; that it will mean the oldest generation with access will stay in power forever.

I’ll be polite since this is still GQ, but I think it’s safe to say that the people in power now are old and largely set in their ways, frequently denying basic reality like climate change. We need the turnover to get fresh people in there that grew up with access to the basic facts of reality. The old generation has to retire for this to happen–it simply won’t happen on its own due to the nature of power, which is self-reinforcing and naturally exclusionary.

I’ve seen a lot of family businesses close. The nicest and most successful furniture store in my hometown lasted over 70 years. Two generations of the family ran it. The third generation wasn’t interested and it closed. At least 15 long term employees were out of a job.

Several long time businesses in my hometown suffered the same fate.

I hate seeing those empty buildings and remembering all the times that I was inside.

You know you’re getting old when you can point at a building and say, “that used to be…”

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Moving thread from GQ to IMHO.

Its been weird, I guess I’m still a ‘young adult’ although I considered myself in the early stages of middle age.

Going from a kid, to a teenager, to a 20 something, to a 30 something has been interesting. My generation still has no real power, but we’ve got a foothold. I remember when I was a kid I’d see injured vietnam vets in my neighborhood, they aren’t walking around now even though they should still be alive. The youngest WW2 vets are about 90 now.

I don’t know if an entire generation really has a personality though.

There seems to be room for interesting speculation as well as consideration of actual population trends. Suppose many people reach an age once considered ancient, but are still healthy, motivated, and good at their job. Would you want to boot such a person out just because he or she is 80 or 90? This person is surely full of valuable experience and can mentor younger generations. Conversely, if a person is gormless, dull, and superfluous in the workforce, maybe it would be more efficient for society to pay them a stipend so they can stay at home and watch television all day rather than screw up at work and take up a position better filled by somebody else (potentially a robot).

As for real trends, the population pyramid varies depending on region. Some countries currently rely on an influx of young migrants to offset an aging population. Does anyone know the latest medium- and long-term projections of total population and age distribution?

It’s been interesting and cool to watch people my age ascend through the ranks at my workplace. In a couple of years, we’ll be running the place completely. :slight_smile:

Meanwhile, it don’t like watching my older coworkers become slower and less “with it”. I hope I’m brave enough to retire when I start getting so frustrated by technology that I refuse to learn how to use it. I don’t want to be one of those old people who hangs out in the breakroom all day, talking about all the cool stuff they did 20 years ago. I also don’t want to be one of those employees whose value is tied up in all the institutional knowledge they have. IMHO, when that’s the only thing you’re able to contribute to an organization, that’s when you should be packing your bags.

It is rough being a completely generic Gen-Xer in some ways (born in 1973). The Baby Boomers have been the focus for my entire life and largely in charge. The Millennials are the new hot generation in media speak but people tend to forget that there is an entire generation of people between those two. It is just smaller and that may be a good thing for people like me. I am already starting to see the Baby Boomers retire very rapidly and that trend can do nothing but increase over the next 5 - 10 years. That is generally a very good thing in my mind.

I think there is going to be a shortage of mid-level professionals and managers in the near future as the Baby Boomers retire in ever-increasing waves. That includes everyone from airline pilots to IT managers. That just might help alleviate some of the financial strain at least among certain demographics. God knows that we have waited long enough for it.

Society is a fabric of many generations woven together. One generation leaving and being replaced by another is just a gradual change in the mix. It’s not like finishing a book and taking it back to the library and checking out a new one, and suddenly having a whole new story to immerse yourself into.

It certainly is.

Vernon: “Now this is the thought that wakes me up in the middle of the night; that when I get older, these kids are gonna take care of me.”
Carl: "I wouldn’t count on it.+
-The Breakfast Club

Tyler Durden: “We’re the middle children of history”.
-Fight Club

Yea, just like the Queen!


I’ve been told that the baby boomers were going to retire and there were going to be a large managerial hole to be filled in ten years since I graduated college. Then 2008 happened and they said well now we need to hang on until we rebuild our savings, then the oil price decline hit in 2014 and I’m still talking to guys in their 60 who are saying ten more years then I’ll retire. Hell, I just talked to an old manager this week who isn’t planning on retiring because he’s convinced that when he does he’ll die. I’m not convinced that the baby boomers will ever give up power until time rips it from their cold dead fingers.

There was a science-fiction story I read years ago (the name escapes me) that covered exactly this. There were these multi-hundred year-old people with all the money and all their progeny were scrabbling for crumbs. Made me think about Basic Income for the first time.

I work with one man who is 75 and who probably wont leave until he just cant work anymore. Another coworker, about 75 also who just recently retired. He could have retired years ago but he could not stand his wife.

My place of work has a good retirement so most people retire at 62-65.

Other jobs like say college professor or top executive, you might not have gotten that position until your 50’s so those people dont retire until their 80’s sometimes.

Well to be honest, its hard to plan for retirement if you go on living until your 100.