Tag Archive: Baby Boomers


Did I hear this right?

A devoted wife was essentially ordered by her narcissistic husband to deliver via c-section (e.g., major surgery) her baby four days early in order for the offspring to be born on the birthday of one, Jim Morrison.

jimmorrison

 

The presumed thought-process of the selfish father: “My daughter will forever share her birthday with ‘Mr. Mojo Risin.’” The emphasis is on the first-person singular: “My.”

The mother-to-be was not pleased, but ultimately relented. The  Boomer family’s male OB/GYN thought the idea was really cool.

The baby fortunately was born relatively healthy and happy. Most of all, the narcissistic father of the “Me Generation” through a raw exercise of personal power, and a selfish disregard for the opinions of others, attained what he wanted: A December 8 c-section/birth.

If the baby had been born as scheduled four days later (December 12), she would have shared a birthday with “Old Blue Eyes,” Frank Sinatra. Enough said.

Back to the Jim Morrison birthday c-section: What was the purpose of this trivial and potentially dangerous procedure to the health of the mother and the daughter? One and only person was personally delighted, but in the long run will he ever be totally satisfied? The unrealistic demands will just keep on coming. And most likely there will be no reciprocation offered in any way, shape or form.

morrisongrave

Maybe the mother and daughter will be required to make a pilgrimage to Morrison’s final resting spot? Springtime in Paris?

As it turns out, the youngest daughter also has the same birthday as Kim Basinger, Sammy Davis Jr. and Ann Coulter.

One can only imagine, if Mr. Y-chromosome demanded the c-section be performed on Mick Jagger’s birthday, eight months later on July 26. Wouldn’t it be easier to hold out until December 18  to accommodate Keith Richards’ birthday?

Scar of caesarean section

The real question that comes to mind: What kind of husband demands that his wife hurry up or delay a C-section in order to accommodate the birthday of a rock legend?

“Men Need Better PR”

Walking the halls of the Office of the Governor in Sacramento back in the days when it was “Morning in America,” I was confronted out of the blue by our scheduling secretary.

She was not upset with the author of Almost DailyBrett per se, she was having difficulties with the testosterone-laden gender and needed to unload her frustration.

One could surmise that her anger was compounded by the presence of obsessed males of the Baby Boomer or Me Generation.

Without any further ado, she stated ex-cathedra that men needed better PR. She offered no rationalization, just assuming I would instinctively understand her thought process. Having got this matter off her chest (no double entendre intimated here), she proceeded on with her business.

Even though this exchange was a mere nano-second of my life, I always remember this gender-specific  pronouncement and in many ways one has to concur. Yes, the most important public relations are personal public relations.

Ubiquitous Narcissism

Even though the author of Almost DailyBrett has never taken a psychology course, and most likely never will, he does detect greater societal attention to the subject of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This affliction touches both genders, but for this discussion let’s just focus on “Mr. Light My Fire.”

narcissus

Does this mean NPD is ever-present with male Me-oriented Baby Boomers born after World War II or from 1946-1964? Let’s leave that question to those with a higher pay grade.

Back to the question of a mother, a c-section, a daughter, Jim Morrison and a NPD father, clinical psychologist Dr. Craig Malkin identified some of the characteristics of rampant narcissism. Three immediately jump out at you:

1.) Idol worship (e.g., the lead singer of the Doors)

2.) A high need for (ultimate) control

3.) A lack of empathy

There is also a  fourth characteristic that comes into play: The NPD-type will take immediate and long-standing umbrage to anyone and everyone who points out even the most-minute human frailty.

Let’s not forget that Baby Boomers and the X-Gens that followed through the fruit of wombs and issues of loins gave birth to the Millennials, born after 1980. Some have praised them for being civic-minded and others have derided them for generation-wide narcissistic behavior.

Having worked in both politics and big business, the ones that emerge to the top in these tough professions have a highly inflated opinions of themselves, the majority of whom are men. And yet not all of them display all of the symptoms of NPD.

The best of them (and I was fortunate to work for two of them) certainly had the obligatory ego to withstand the inevitable slings and arrows that comes from being at the top. What was most impressive was they insisted on eschewing the first-person singular: The “I,” the “Me” and the “Myself.” This song was not about them.

Instead, they mandated that all communications whether verbal or written, regardless of the technology, utilize the first-person plural: “We, Us and Our.” Yep, we were a team with a leader who was part of the team. This approach is healthy.

Without expressly stating it, they were also calling for the adherence to “The Golden Rule,” essentially treating others the way one would want to be treated.

Thinking back to NPD Mr. Jim Morrison Birthday C-Section, there is no first-person plural even though we are discussing what was once a complete nuclear family, and certainly no concept of The Golden Rule.

Instead, there was only “Me, Myself and I,” and Jim Morrison too.

Almost DailyBrett Note: The above story is true. Specific details including the particular rock icon and corresponding birth date have been changed to protect family privacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Morrison

https://www.thedoors.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Me_generation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesarean_section

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obstetrics_and_gynaecology

http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2012/05/millennials-the-greatest-generation-or-the-most-narcissistic/256638/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Rule

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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

“I believe some Americans are simply saying, we don’t want to pay the price. We would rather spend our time on the net, texting, tweeting, gaming, creating our own little worlds. We are not willing to study hard. We don’t want to learn a trade. We don’t want to go to a demanding college. No. It’s far easier to devote our time to leisurely pursuits and let the government take care of us.” – Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly, February 14, 2012.

For just one mere nanosecond, please resist the temptation to shoot the messenger and concentrate on the message. There is an uncomfortable truth in these words, yes even words from Bill O’Reilly.

oreilly

The world is changing. It is moving from analog to digital. It is shifting from the old to the new. Are we wasting precious time or making the best of our limited tenure on earth? Will we take control of our lives or will we ask someone else to take care of us?

When it comes to sinking or swimming, I have made my decision. The real question is: Will I ultimately succeed? Nothing is certain.

After a long kick-in-the pants career including leadership stints in the California governor’s office, a publicly traded custom semiconductor innovator and an international public relations firm, my prospects came to a crashing halt three years ago.

When I would compete for a job, I would receive “optional” demographic forms asking me whether I was male of female? Male, strike one; Caucasian of anything else? Caucasian, strike two; Veteran and/or handicapped? Neither, strike three. None of these factors has changed or for that matter will ever change, but I do know that more of these optional demographic forms are in my near future.

What I can do and some of my fellow, mature, white, Anglo males are doing (none of these characteristics are an advantage) revolves around preparing to personally compete again in this high-tech world requiring as Mr. O’Reilly stated, skills, education and disciplined thinking.

If all goes well I will finish next month my master’s degree in “Communication and Society” from the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication. I am actually looking forward to sporting the long robes, the mortar board and tassel. This degree was hard-earned, much more difficult than I ever imagined. I sweated out this degree. Would I do it again? That’s not an easy one to answer.

DSC00347

As a Baby Boomer reentering the college ranks at 54-years young in order to reinvent myself yet again, I had several concerns:

1.)  Would I be accepted by my fellow classmates or would I be an amusing curiosity? There was no denying that I was almost 2x the age of the average graduate student. Refreshingly that turned out to not be a problem. For the most part, my colleagues have treated me well and with respect, and made sure that I was always invited to their bull sessions over adult beverages.

2.)  Would my annoying political philosophy be resented by my “progressive” colleagues? I adopted a policy that listening was cheap, and it doesn’t hurt to hear what people have to say. If my social justice classmates believe that Internet access is an entitlement and a basic human right…well then, intellectual property be damned.

3.)  Mac vs. PC. This was actually the biggest hurdle to clear. After two decades of jobs with IBM Think Pads loaded with Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and Excel and powered with Intel processors, virtually every machine at the UO School of Journalism is a Mac. It is akin to driving a stick for the first time, if you are used to an automatic.

Reflecting on O’Reilly’s words, I have to say that not all of us are willing to study hard and for good reason. I still have the scars from taking both Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis in the same quarter, and earning the Zertifikät Deutsch from the Goethe Institut. The 50-100 pages of laborious communications-related philosophy each night for the relentless Pro Seminar class was absolutely brutal. I made it.

O’Reilly opined that some of us don’t want to go to demanding colleges. This remark reminded me of the Stanford student holding up the sign (after Oregon spanked the Cardinal last fall) stating that Oregon was his “safety” school. If all else failed, he could go to Oregon.

Guess I must not be at the same academic level as the geniuses on the Farm. His opinion of my “safety” school is not going to make me any less proud. If a Baby Boomer asked me about going back to college my reply would be: “If not now, when?”

And finally, if I had a dollar for every time someone suggested that I was going back to college to chase coeds, I would be a very wealthy hombre. I am old enough in most cases to be a coed’s father…but that doesn’t mean that I am not interested in her mother.

“As people do better, they start voting like Republicans – unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing,” – Republican presidential campaign strategist Karl Rove.

“If you are young and not a liberal, you don’t have a heart. If you are old and not a conservative, you don’t have a brain,” – Too many Republicans claiming credit to count.

“Hope I die before I get old,” The Who, My Generation

According to a recent syndicated column, literally millions of Baby Boomers have undergone a personal political metamorphosis during the course of their lives. They have been transformed from a born-this-way liberal caterpillar to a conservative butterfly. In my Roman Catholic family, JFK was the patron saint and I could have sworn that Nixon’s first name was “damn.” That was then, this is now.

catepillar

What I have seen recently is empirical evidence that our generation may not have been as liberal as some thought in the 1960s, and that the majority of us became more conservative beginning in the 1980s. Certainly that is the premise of a syndicated column by Karlyn Bowman and Andrew Rugg of the American Enterprise Institute.

Keep in mind that AEI is conservative, libertarian, free-market oriented – not exactly totally unbiased — so it may not be surprising that they have come to this conclusion. The piece, which relies heavily on polling data over time, is still worthy of analysis.

There is no doubt that Baby Boomers (born1946-1964) harbor vastly different attitudes and approaches from their parents, the majority of whom will go to their respective graves never appreciating classic rock. At the same time, Baby Boomers as a generation are more open-minded when it came to racial issues, sexual orientation and women’s rights than the generations that preceded them. Despite the relaxation of attitudes, the AEI report states that the inevitable maturing and aging of the Baby Boomers in the 1980s resulted in many of them marrying and caring for their own families for the first time and with that parental responsibility.

butterfly

“In the 1986 Time (magazine) poll, 64 percent of the Baby Boomers polled said they had become more conservative since the 1960s,” Bowman and Rugg wrote. “When asked about their ideological identification, 31 percent said they had been liberal in the 1960s and 70s, but only 21 percent described themselves that way in 1986. The number identifying as conservative rose from 28 percent to 41 percent.”

Even though the AEI research into quantitative data about the political shift of Baby Boomers over the course the past 50 years is impressive and hard to argue with something is indeed missing in the analysis, carried in the market-oriented Wall Street Journal, the liberal-leaning Los Angeles Times and many other publications. The column never mentions a major factor: The “R” word as in Reagan.

Americans instinctively gravitate toward a winner. If you doubt that assertion just think about how many nationwide are fans of the New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Lakers, and those who line up for hours to buy the latest gadget from Apple. In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan was seen as a winner, and he projected the confidence of a winner. Millions simply wanted to be on the winning team.

Portrait

In 1986, no one was talking about broken government. Reagan was popular. It was morning in America. The right track/wrong track barometer was solidly right track. My boss, George Deukmejian, was re-elected that year as the Republican governor of the biggest blue state, California, with 61 percent of the vote. For those of you scoring at home, that is still the largest landslide of any California gubernatorial race in the modern era (at least).

Looking back at the 1980s, Reagan ran against incumbent Jimmy Carter in 1980 and Walter Mondale four years later. In these two races, Reagan won 93 states and lost a grand total of seven. Quiz: What was the one and only state to vote against Reagan both times?

Before Reagan, America had a long-succession (for a variety of reasons) of presidents that did not serve two terms (Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter) and some pundits wondered whether the job of the presidency was frankly too big for any person to effectively dispense the responsibilities over the course of two terms. Guess the pundits were wrong as Reagan, Clinton and George W. Bush were two term presidents.

As the first Baby Boomers reach retirement age of 65 this year, the question remains how many more presidential elections will this generation make its considerable presence felt?  For now, Baby Boomers are a large, active voting bloc. Barack Obama and his inevitable Republican challenger will be developing outreach strategies for this high participatory constituency. Reagan obviously won the majority of this group. You can be certain that campaign pros on both sides of the great political divide are reviewing the Reagan strategy and coming up with their own twists to win over the Baby Boomer generation in 2012 and beyond.

Quiz Answer: Mondale’s home state of Minnesota. DC voted twice against Reagan as well, but it is not counted as a state.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903999904576470303202499330.html

http://blog.american.com.14feb-youth.com/author/bowman_rugg/

http://www.aei.org/about

Is the Baby Boom generation dead and we just haven’t bothered to bury them yet?

The Economist reports this week in “As boomers wrinkle” that the first Baby Boomers, born in 1946, are retiring this year with the rest of this motley generation will follow in kind for each of the next 18 years. Oh, what a strange trip it’s been. http://www.economist.com/

There are plenty of accounts of how the agonizing retirement of my generation is going to kick the you-know-what-out-of-social networks throughout the Western world. I am not going to add my voice to this rising chorus. You all know the drill about too many of feeble us and not enough of productive them.

woodstock

Instead, I am going to lament about the “Dinosaurization” of the Baby Boomers. This is not an exercise in stereotyping, albeit all stereotypes are based upon elements of prevailing truth. And let me acknowledge right now so I can avoid the inevitable snarky comments that come when you write about a sensitive subject…yes, yes there are exceptions to every rule and every generalization.

Besides starting to retire, one thing is becoming more common for Baby Boomers besides losing hair and having their parts, yes even those parts, starting to sag, and that is that their bosses, superiors and influential colleagues are getting younger by the day. To which I say, “Get used to it. This trend is going to continue.”

What prompts me to invent the word “Dinosaurization” is that many of the members of the if feels good, sex-drugs-and-rock-and-roll generation are actually handing the shovels to up-and-comers to bury them figuratively, and eventually literally. We used to talk about how our parents were stubborn, only to find out that many of us are just as…ah, resolute…as the World War II generation…what Tom Brokaw called the “Greatest Generation.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greatest_Generation

One of the chief ways that Baby Boomers are hastening their own collective demise as well as keeping many of them unemployable is their steadfast refusal to embrace new technology. The world is changing and yet many of our generation are burying their heads in the sand…and it is not silicon sand.

Ask one about reading books, magazines and newspapers via electronic readers and they almost to a person will wax nostalgically about spreading out the printed page on the table while nursing their morning coffee. How long has Norman Rockwell been dead? http://www.nrm.org/

So what are some of the most prevalent excuses that I have heard (please feel free to mentally add to this list) for avoiding at all costs social media, such as blogging, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr?

● The most prevalent excuse, statement, declaration etc. is time, or the lack of it. They have too much to do and not enough time to do it all. They are already overloaded with information. They don’t need to engage in online conversations either as a reader or a participant. “Let’s just work on a contributed article for the trade pub instead.” How about re-prioritizing our time? What a novel idea!

● “It’s all a fad. Social media is hot now but it will eventually burn out. Why should I pay attention to what people are blogging, Tweeting or Friending? Do I really care about little old ladies who write about their cats?”

● “You just can’t communicate in only (Twitter’s) 140 characters. I need more time and space to truly express myself.”

● “Facebook is a waste of time. I just don’t understand what 500 million people are doing on this website.”

● “Do I really need to develop a list of connections on LinkedIn. I have a cool business card folder right on my desk.”

rollodecks

All of these analog answers and several others I have heard in one form or another and at one time or another come from the crowd that arrived on this planet between 1946 and 1964. We are proud to have been part of the Civil Rights, Sexual Revolution and Women’s Rights Movements. We stopped a war and were celebrated as the Pepsi Generation. We burned flags, draft cards, administration buildings and everything we could think of.

We were rebels, man. We were activists. We were idealists. So why are these younger generations more instinctively attuned to a digital world? That’s just the point.

Does this mean that you really can’t teach an old(er) dogs new tricks? If so, then we just transformed ourselves into 21st Century dinosaurs to our own peril.

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