Messengers of Bad Tidings

phone dialGuess what? If youíre an out of work boomer or canít afford to be retired anymore, you can find work as a handholder/bearer of bad tidings. Of course the work is only temporary, but come on, you canít have it all.

Michael Winerip of the New York Times writes a great column called Generation B and he recently highlighted the work of an employment agency in Denver called the Boomer Group.

Boomers are particularly in demand for the empathy skills. Got lots of bad news about your product or service and need to set up a phone bank to handle the irate callers? Boomers are your guys.

Thatís right. If itís a shoot-the-messenger type of situation, youíre going to want baby boomers to be your cannon fodder. Why? We have experience. We have values. We have a work ethic. We are good under pressure.

Crikey, if we have all that going for us, canít we do any better than temp jobs? It sounds like those are the qualities every employer dreams of having throughout their workforce.

Somehow, our primary skill set has become the ability to deliver bad news or commiserate with angry people who have already gotten the bad news. Itís nice to be valued for your talents, but what effect does all this empathy distribution have on us?

Several temps mentioned that they may have over-empathized Woody Allenat first or that it was hard to listen to people vent all day long, even swear at them. Yeah, that would be hard to do all day, even as a temp. But when the Gen Xs and Ys stay in bed on the day of the snowstorm, you can count on the boomers to come through. Weíre too mature to be ducking out for a mental health day, though God knows we need one as much as the next worker.

If boomers have all these great qualities and if Woody Allen was right that 90% of life is showing up, we should be on top of heap, but more often than not, weíre being heaped with scorn. Whatís up with that? You love us as worker bees, you just hate what weíve done with the planet, we were rotten parents, and weíre too selfish.

Itís okay. Weíll just take those temporary jobs and try to rebuild the 401-k. Remember, we work while you sleep in.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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