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Clash of the Generations by Valerie M. Grubb

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Chapter 1THE NEW WORKPLACE REALITY

Clinging to the past is the problem. Embracing change is the solution.

—Gloria Steinem, Moving Beyond Words1

Since the first major round of corporate downsizing in the 1980s, the longtime traditional employment trajectory has been in flux. Gone are the days when people entered the workforce as young adults, worked until their mid‐50s or so, and then sailed off into retirement while younger generations took their place. Instead, the average retirement age has steadily been creeping up in recent decades as older employees—in particular, the Baby Boomers—stay in the workforce either by choice or by necessity. Medical and technological advances mean we're living much longer than previous generations. But the financial instability caused by the 2008 recession has taken a massive toll on retirement plans, requiring many older employees to remain in the workforce longer. Boomers aren't continuing to work only because they have to, though: many of them continue to work because they want to, thanks in part to the growing availability of office jobs that people can continue to do regardless of age. In addition, many Boomers just enjoy the camaraderie and social connectivity of the workplace. And Boomers often have a lot of pride in their career—a sentiment that can make them inclined to stay in the workplace longer.2

In recent years, though, a new generation has become the largest group in the labor market: the Millennials. In early 2015, a Pew Research ...

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