Anna Quindlen to boomers - quit clogging the promotion pipeline

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
I'm a big Anna Quindlen fan, and have enjoyed her columns in Newsweek for the past nine years. In the current issue, however, I was bummed to read that she is quitting that gig. I was more bummed, however, by her reasoning. She feels that we boomers are clogging up the working world and need to get out of the way to make room for the next generation.

I feel her reasoning is flawed in several ways. First is her assumption that the work/retirement progression of our parents is the proper road map for the boomer generation; graduate from college, work 40 years, retire for 15 and die.

I just don't think this is valid. Medical advancements will keep the boomer generation healthier later in life, and the nature of our work is considerably less demanding than that of many of our parents. There is no physical need for many of us to retire at 62 if we don't so choose. And people leaving college today could well live to be 100 or more. With a work career of 70 or 80 years ahead, what's the rush?Second, the financial climate for our generation is different. While Ms. Quindlen may have the wherewithal to walk away from a well-paying position, many of us don't, especially after the market collapse. Give the inadequacy of the Social Security funding, many of us have a jaundiced view of what to expect from that program.

Third, a progressing society shouldn't squander its intellectual capital. While the times may have passed by some of us, others are still surfing the wave of progress and have a great deal to contribute.

Fourth, I don't share her angst at the dominance that the boomer generation has enjoyed in the public consciousness for the past 50-plus years. The numbers tell the tale, and as our generation travels like a pig through a python through the years the fact that the focus follows us is not unfair; it's natural.

Last, I don't believe that younger people with superior ability will remained trapped behind older workers any more than Lou Gehrig remained trapped behind Wally Pip. Quality will come out, and capitalism is the system that best allows this to happen.

Perhaps her words trouble me because she is slightly younger than I am, and I still have ambitions. I'm still learning new skills, and ironically I sometimes find myself trapped behind people who are younger but have more experience in the areas of my endeavors.

Maybe we baby boomers should take ourselves out of the game, head to the bench, wrap ourselves in warm up jackets and let the kids play. But that's not for me, Anna. At least, not yet.
Read Full Story

From Our Partners