“I’m all for progress: It’s change I can’t stand!” – Mark Twain

I keep on thinking of a former client, who would not give up on trying to market a 4.5-hour audio tape in a world of less-than three-minute YouTube videos. She is heading back into the recording studio to make her audio tape even longer.

Will she sell them in cassettes or eight-track tapes?

eighttrack

I reflect on a friend and colleague, who repeatedly states, “I just don’t get this social media stuff.”

He’s unemployed.

And another friend, who refuses to blog to build his personal brand, and reluctantly accepts the power of social media.

He has been unemployed since 2006 with the exception of five months.

There is my incredibly talented artist brother-in-law, who works as a metropolitan county employee just to hold on to his pension that he has already vested. He could make x-times more opening an art studio in a cool ocean-front town and putting out his own shingle.

He sleeps on a neighbor’s couch every night.

And then there is my only sibling, who categorically refuses to accept texts from her boss and colleagues at work. They can email or call her instead.

She is nearing retirement, counting on her pension. Wonder if she is going to be pushed out the door first.

Change Resistant Baby Boomers?

Does age make us more resistant to change? Is this a reason why north of 50-types are struggling in the pronounced economic malaise that started in 2008/2009? And what can they do about it?

All five of these people are extremely bright and capable, and that is the case for literally hundreds of thousands or more. According to political consultant Dick Morris, only 50 percent of working age Americans are employed and 100 million of this same group pay no income taxes.

woodstock

The economy is obviously a factor, but what about those who abhor change and desperately cling to the status quo?

The problem is that change is inevitable. Married people change during the course of their union. Do they manage this change or does the marriage fall apart?

Organizations change, particularly following an acquisition or a merger. You and your job may be just fine for the time being, but the culture has changed. The days of starting in the mail room, working up to the executive suite and retiring with the gold watch are gone forever.

Another key change, and certainly the fastest shift, comes in the form of gadgets, gizmos, bits, bytes, bells and whistles. For the Baby Boomers (born, 1946-1964), they are the last generation in history to come into the world before the true onset of digital technology.

The integrated circuit was invented by Robert Noyce in 1959. The first Baby Boomers entered the workforce in 1964. IBM introduced the PC in 1981. The last Baby Boomers entered the workforce in 1982. Microsoft was founded in 1986. The World Wide Web came online in 1990. The first blogs entered cyberspace in 1997. The first Baby Boomers started to retire in 2011.

Digital Natives

For the Millennials (18-33 years of age) and the X-Gens (34-45), they were born into technology. This will obviously be the case for each and every succeeding generation. For the Baby Boomers, technology was not intuitive. It had to be learned. Technology represented change whether they liked it or not. Obviously many still don’t like it, and many had to be dragged kicking and screaming to a computer screen.

millennials

According to Pew Research, 83 percent of Millennials interact with social media, only 43 percent for Baby Boomers.  The Diffusion of Innovation Curve states that in any population, 2.5 percent are innovators; 13.5 percent, early adopters; 34 percent, early majority; another 34 percent, late majority, and 16 percent are laggards.

I have to conclude with far too many of my Baby Boomer colleagues that they are (being charitable here) in the late majority. For someone trying to market 270 minutes of audio on preventable medicine or a sibling that will not send or accept texts, the word “laggard” or “Luddite” may perfectly apply.

How about obstinate? Resolute? Stubborn? Or maybe a word that is closer to the mark, Fearful?

The last lyrics of the Who’s rock anthem, “Won’t Get Fooled Again” are: “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” It very well may not be the old boss. In most cases, it will be a younger boss in a skirt and a blouse, who can detect a technophobe in a matter of nanoseconds. Worse, she or he like a marauding shark can sense fear and hunger. Technophobia, fear and hunger all equate to the kiss of death in landing a job that requires adapting to and managing inevitable change.

It’s time, no it’s past time, to come to terms with change.

http://thepowerofpositiveaging.com/wpress/chapter-excerpts/

http://www.rogerclarke.com/SOS/InnDiff.html

http://www.nationaljournal.com/njonline/no_20100225_3691.php

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