There are many myths out there that get in the way of reality, and when it comes to baby boomers, they can get in the way of our quest to stay active. Bob Weinstein, author of the e-book So What If I’m 65: Get a Job, Get the Most Out of Your Best Years, says there are seven myths that are easily debunked.
Myths are powerful because they influence the way people think. Even debunking well-ingrained myths doesn’t eliminate them.
But several studieshave debunked commonly held myths about boomers. Here are seven of them, myths that have plagued boomers every time they job hunt:
Myth 1: You’re too expensive
Fact: Studies conclude that HR professionals no longer think boomers are a financial drain. We’re actually cost-effective, which is reason enough to hire us. Also, we have fewer dependents than younger workers.
Myth 2: You’re less productive
Fact: Boomers tend to be more productive because we’re more careful and make fewer mistakes than younger workers.
Myth 3: Your physical limitations hinder performance
Fact: Undeniably, many boomers as we get older are plagued with health issues. While we’re living longer, there’s no ending the continuing war with our biology. By the same token, we’re winning many skirmishes because we’re not letting physical issues slow us down or hinder the quality of our work. The proof is that our attendance records are much better than those of our younger competitors.
Myth 4: You have a poor work ethic
Fact: Boomers have a strong and resilient work ethic. After having worked so hard to land jobs, we’re more inclined to work twice as hard to hold onto them.
Myth 5: You’re likely to job-hop
Fact: Companies with large numbers of boomers are more likely to experience lower turnover, which means enormous savings in hiring and training new employees.
Myth 6: You’re more prone to endure workplace injuries
Fact: Studies have concluded that boomers have fewer workplace injuries than younger workers, because we take fewer risks and are more careful.
Myth 7: You’re resistant to learning
Fact: The answer tothis myth is similar to the one about job-hopping. In a biased workplace where boomers have to practically stand on our heads to impress employers, we’re more likely to work twice as hard as our younger colleagues. That includes upgrading our skills on our own time-– especially if we’ve been out of work for more than 12 months.
Recent studies reveal that we learn differently as we get older. Boomers are more interested in accuracy over speed. Any company making precision products -– from intricate multimedia computer games and industrial robots to sophisticated medical equipment and synthetic body parts – would prize this trait.
Many more stereotypes can be debunked. But they’re all a variation on the same tired theme: boomers are not as competent as younger workers and lack the essential skills so critical in this frenetic workplace.
The myths extend beyond the 9-to-5 workplace to how boomers are perceived in the larger playfields of science and politics.
A study by BenjaminJones, a researcher at the National Bureau of Economic Research, a nonprofit research organization, concluded that over the past century, the age at which inventors make notable inventions has increased steadily.
In politics, NBER researchers found that the median age of U.S. presidents is approximately 54 years and 11 months. Ronald Reagan was 69 when he became president. The oldest living former president is George H.W. Bush, born in 1924; Jimmy Carter, also born in 1924 and 111 days younger than Bush, is the second-oldest.
The study’s findings are only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. There are many more examples of significant contributions by boomers in athletics and the arts.