Work-life balance has become a frequent topic of conversation nowadays among the different generations, including the Baby Boomers. The oldest Baby Boomers have already retired but many of the younger ones are still working and they are preparing for retirement. The marvelous expert panelists of Booms Day Prepping come together to talk about this fascinating issue.
Wayne Bucklar: You’re listening to Booms Day Prepping, our regular podcast looking at issues and things that concern Baby Boomers and how Baby Boomers need to get ready for the next stage in their lives. As always, my co-host is Dr. Drew Dwyer, my name is Wayne Bucklar and we’re joined by our panel of ageing experts, we have with us Brian Hinselwood, Glenn Capelli, Bron Williams and Amanda Lambros. And before they object to me calling them “ageing,” well that’s why they’re here, we’re Baby Boomers, it’s what we do. Good morning to you all. Good morning Drew.
Dr. Drew Dwyer: Good morning everyone.
Amanda Lambros: Good morning.
Brian Hinselwood: Good Morning.
Wayne: Now Drew, I thought our topic for today, we’d have a look at work-life balance for Baby Boomers. And given that you’re the youngest of the Baby Boomers here and still work hard, I thought you could lead us off?
Dr. Drew: It’s a great subject. I love this because it’s an issue that I deal with when counseling with the Boomer Generation and some of my colleagues actually deal with this surprisingly as much as I do. Some of my colleagues deal with this issue with Millennials and X Generation. So when I started to mix with some people that I work with and understand this because the concept of work-life balance probably came around in about mid-2008 to 13. It’s a not a new concept per say it is, but it’s a quite a soft or gentle concept. When it first came in, it was touched on, it was subject for discussion, it was new thought, it was thought bubble stuff, thought leader stuff. Well today in 2018, it’s absolutely a hard, hard tough upfront conversation because believe it or not, the statistics will tell you very clearly more than 56% of the population globally in the workforce make their job decisions now on work-life balance. So 56% of people will turn down a job if it does not suit their own construct of work-life balance. And particularly, a higher percentage of those people sit in a Millennial and X Generation where the Baby Boomers are at conflict with this. So for the listeners, I’ll put into two context that work-life balance primarily is the understanding or the unprecedented phenomenon of thinking that I can work and play at the same time. So I can have my cake and eat it too and I don’t necessarily have to have money and I don’t have to have a life or the life but if I get both and it works out perfect for me. So in a Boomer’s perspective, for most of us, for all of us, our life is being work, work, work, work, work, work, work, sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. Above the Boomer Generation sits the Silent and the Great Generation of course. Their teaching to the Boomers was sacrifice, sacrifice, say for a rainy day. Put the effort in, put the effort in, save it away and give a legacy to your children. You go straight down to the Millennials, they are so not interested in that legacy. As in, it’s an entitlement, they want it, their right and their birth right now is work-life balance. If they can’t, they’ll get on the door because the system that the Boomers have set up will support me anyway. Although driven by success and still be having the same drives, they also have a very stronger drive the Millennials to “No, I want to start my day when I want, I want to go to the gym, I want to have a cappuccino, some smashed over bacon on toast and then I’ll think about going to work. I don’t want to work Mondays, I don’t work Wednesdays, I don’t work evenings and I definitely don’t work weekends.” Whereas Boomers traditionally, through their workforce has been work, work, work, work, work, work. Now comes the time when Boomers are seriously thinking about, “Hang on a minute, how much do I actually need to retire with? Where is my retirement sitting and do I actually have to work at this level anymore to give myself the retirement I want?” So I put a question to the panel, where’s your work-life balance and how do you see it for you in the future?
Bron Williams: I will jump straight in. As a Boomer who has started the business in my 60s, it is because I recognized that I financially need to continue to bring income in. I do not wish to be solely dependent on the government pension because that would not allow me to live the lifestyle that I want. I don’t need to live an exorbitant lifestyle but the pension doesn’t really go very far to living a decent sort of lifestyle so there is that side of it. Secondly, I still have dreams, I still have goals, I still have energy and I want to do something with this next third of my life, I don’t want to just sit and be the grandma rocking on the veranda in the rocking chair and playing with the grandchildren as much as I love mine. And I think too, there’s this sense of something I’ve been working on since probably my late 40s and that is the idea of living a seamless life where while one part of my life flows into the next, that there is no demarcation between what I do for work and what I do for pleasure and that I do both and both make up a rich and abundant life.
Dr. Drew: Good. Glenn?
Glenn Capelli: I’m gonna quote two Alaskan wisdoms. There’s probably more or less than wisdoms, there’s only two I know. And one was popularized by Frank Zappa in the song “Don’t Eat Yellow Snow.” The other one was wonderfully dictated by Rosello Wallace and it’s a little tune that goes “Variety is the magic key, the magic key is variety.” So the word balance has never excited me for a variety of reasons that maybe I’ll get to later but variety and flexibility in life certainly excites me. So I’m ensuring I’ve got some variety in everyday, variety in every week, variety in every month which means home time, self time, Lindy time, friend time, stage time, flying time, hotel time for all the work I do as well. And when I’ve gone out of whack is when I haven’t had that variety in my day, or in my week, or in my month and I can look and go, “Hold on, wow I’m way out of whack here.” But balance doesn’t excite me. My mum was up and down, she had very slow downs and very fast ups – she’s bipolar. And so I counteracted that by really trying to overbalance my life and overbalance sometimes isn’t tipping over. Overbalancing is flatlining. So no up and down, you’re flatlining and life is just not exciting. So flexibility, variety, magic key.
Amanda: Well I’m gonna absolutely jump in with that one because I actually really like the concept of “variety” because for me balance is the same thing. It’s like well if you’re perfectly balanced on either side, essentially you are flatlined. It’s a nice little balance. So for me, I really enjoy the concept of variety and my way that I do it and to recognize that I don’t want to fall flat with things is making sure that I have the time for my kids, and my husband, and myself, and my friends and the work I do, and the flights I do and the hotels that I stay at. So really, it’s kind of having a little bit of everything and then recognizing, “Okay so this week I didn’t get to do X” whatever it is and then reassess at the end of the week, “Why didn’t I have that opportunity to do that?” And see if I can actually incorporate it into the following week.
Glenn: I’m sorry Amanda with my hearing. I heard you missed doing sex on one particular week. Is that what I’ve heard?
Amanda: Well I try to avoid not missing that.
Dr. Drew: That only gives her balance maybe. She wants variety, she’s gonna have to have sex with other people.
Amanda: Oh no, not all.
Glenn: It brought the tone down Amanda.
Brian: This must be time for me to say something.
Bron: As a wise man.
Dr. Drew: You’ve got to please Brian, raises.
Brian: I’m not sure if I have the strength to do that.
Amanda: Well Brian as long as you have variety in the types of lube that you use, then we’re all good.
Brian: Are we getting advertising revenue for this? Look, I do agree with Amanda that variety is kind of the spice of life and whether that includes or should include your sex life and every other part of your life. But I do think that one of the problems with people as they get older is that they lose the variety. They think, “Oh well I’m near in retiring or I have retired or whatever. I can now sit around and just kind of read books or play golf.” or one of the myriad of things that people do but I think the variety is important. You have to spend time with friends, family, all that sort of stuff. And I’ve always done that, I mean my life has been somewhat different from from the rest of the panel simply because acting is never a 9 to 5 job or it certainly is not a 9 to 5 job for long periods so I’ve always had that variety and in that respect, I’ve been very lucky.
Dr. Drew: It’s interesting because the concept of balance or balancing life and having a life balance has been around for a long time. I’ll slip in the variety a bit Glenn but Aristotle says, “It’s better to rise from life as if from a banquet neither thirsty nor drunken.” And then somebody like Oprah will tell you that, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life” and then I giggle and go, “Yes, if I had 300 billion dollars I could make that statement.” And Simon and Garfunkel, musicians as Glenn will tell you but if they stayed wrote a lot of his songs believe it or not around poverty, and around the stress and the push for poverty. And Garfunkel has written many quotes within his music on this and he also wrote a lot about, I mean his methodology, he has a feeling that in a balanced life, a person should die without any money or penniless and he says the trick to doing this is dismantling. And so I find myself now as a junior very early Baby Boomer even now trying to set up how do I dismantle or get balanced? It’s the first time I ever tried to do this in my life and I’m struggling with it on a daily basis because I’m so driven to achieve what I need to achieve for my commitments to my children, to my wife, to myself, to the legacy, to the aged, to my community, to philanthropy and I struggle myself with balance every day because if I give too much to one side, I get too much stress on the other. If I take that stress away from the other, the stress seems to just jump the other side of the fence and it’s like that little beast I can’t catch and smash on the head and keep still because it doesn’t matter for me. I know and I practice teach and lecture it with my clients to find balance or to build balance and yet for myself, I struggle. But interestingly enough, I’m going to put out another little bit of information for us to think about around balance and that is where work-life balance itself, the generations are quite different. So when you look at the epidemiology and the statistics, a Millennial Generation worker, a person now, younger person are more likely to give up a job because of work-life balance seek another job and in 10 years time, they see themselves probably have been working for more than 5 different jobs or companies. Whereas an X generation is more likely to take pressure from their boss because they’re more likely to stay in the same job to keep that status quo, not unbalance their life will way it is now so they won’t leave, so they’ll take the pressure. And the Baby Boomer has achieved longevity personally in a career or position or life and it is more likely now to stay or to struggle to stay in that position for fear of losing a job and the income. Now interestingly enough, on a global scale in the Boomer sector, it is women and I do love this because I work with a lot of women, I was raised as a nurse. It is the women that are challenging the status quo and stepping out and they want to break that glass ceiling of course. And go “No, I’m going to change, I’m gonna set up something new, I’m gonna go for a different position, a different company, I’m not worried about it and I’m gonna push now that I know how to achieve work balance.” And when you drill down the information, it’s particularly women who have been a wife, raise the children, sacrifice themselves. They’ve reached their mid 50s and up to 60 and now they want a personal challenge for themselves to end their life with. What do you think of that?
Bron: I’d say spot on. You’re talking about my life.
Dr. Drew: Is that you Bron? That’s how you see yourself?
Bron: That is totally me because I brought into the story that my parents feed me which I’m not trying to make this needy sounding, this is just the reality that you become a wife and mother and you support your husband. And I did part-time work, didn’t seek a career of my own and when a marriage then ends and particularly as mine did, I walked away because of a variety of different issues. You then find yourself as I did in the early 50s going, “Okay, now I’ve got a chance to do something,” And I moved into working with the Salvos. Great transition, lots of skills that I already took into that and I’ve learned that I can now sort of step out into my own because I think women in my generation and also in my position who are single who are not in a legally partnered situation, there’s a vulnerability in our position. I know a number of women who find themselves in the exactly the same situation. And we’re determined.
Dr. Drew: And the biggest issue for women that we’ve discussed for Baby Boomers in particular and it’s very heavy in the statistics and very much on the forefront of the community services, social work zone and that’s homelessness for women. It’s a huge risk in our society. I have this discussion at barbecues, it’s definitely not a discussion people like to hear you bring up. But I do, I love the challenge so I will bring up an interesting conversation other than Donald Trump. But it is a conversation that needs to be had. Many women in the Boomer era and the Boomer age group, women over 50 to 55 are at massive risk of homelessness due to transition change, divorce separation, death and dying of partners and loved ones and family. And where do they go? Interestingly enough too and I put this to Glenn because I’d like his opinion on it and that is the Millennials are very heavy in the construct of work-life balance and structuring their future life in work and I giggle because I don’t think they have any concept of the future life of work per se but they are driving this mechanism on the use of technology. Technology is their instrument to drive their work-life balance so basically they’re saying, “I can achieve a work-life balance arrangement with my new boss because I have technology at my fingertips that allow me to push when I need and pull and stop I don’t.” Whereas older generation, Boomer generation, that technology we’ve discussed before in this panel is probably more of a barrier. Not for me because I love it but for older generations that technology is now becoming the tool that they need to pick up to get their work-life balance. Glenn?
Glenn: I’m always a fan of ‘and.’ So that’s the flexibility and variety coming in so technology ‘and’ non-technology. Bron, I really resonate with what you’re saying in terms of that. To me, part of the freedom of life is when you can call your own shots. So I started my own business and we started our business as a work from home business 25 years ago. So that was still relatively new but what it did is it meant we could call our own shots and the ability to do that, to have a freedom and and perhaps now, we all have generations of girls becoming women who realize they can get to call their own shots. They don’t have to be defined by partner alone or role alone and being able to call your own shots is wonderful and freedom but it’s also incredible challenge. Running your own business has got incredible challenges to it. One of the things and Lindy and I being a husband and wife that also run a business together so we’re in bed and in business. And one of the things that we have done and it might even help you with what you’re saying Drew or put into the brew of strategies that I love color. So I color part of my diary green. And when I’ve got green time it means not only is it not work, not only it’s not thinking about work and it’s certainly not Lindy and I having a conversation about work because when you’re working from home, husband and wife team, one will bring up “Oh the job we’re doing.” “Hold on babe, I’m on green time.” This is green time, so you’ve got to have something in your life where there’s that green space, non-work space. Certainly the young folk and how they see things is interesting because I think a lot of them see the world of workers, they’re privileged and it’s the privilege in terms of somebody having them in their workplace. And suddenly when the first time you get sacked or find yourself not in work and 2 months later, or 3 months later or 6 months later, maybe it actually changes some of that vibe. So I do like variety and I like ‘and’ and I would say to any young person out there forming their own business doing it on technology. If you can master technology ‘and’ human being skills, you’re gonna fly because so many have mastered the technology but we get techs come in here and they grab my computer and start doing stuff and it’s like, “Hold on, you’re breaking my heart here. Ask me stuff first, talk with me. Have conversation first.” So ‘and’ goes for me Drew.
Dr Drew: Good, okay. Amanda?
Amanda: I would actually agree. I think Bron is spot on there. I think one of the things that we also have to consider in this balance that we’re having is what’s the most important part for us. So whether it be focusing on yourself, or focusing on your family or wherever that focus needs to be. And so I think for me, one of the things that I witnessed is I witnessed my parents work so, so hard and really not have time for that. So I kind of back flipped on it and I went, “I’m not gonna be all about work. I’m gonna have the freedom to be able to work.”
Dr. Drew: My daughter is like that now and she says it very clearly to us because I do question her as a clinician now and I say to her, “And so you’re not putting enough effort.” She just looks straight through me like a glass and says, “I have watched you and mum do it for years and I’m not doing it” as she gives me the Kardashian click over the face and walks away.
Amanda: And I think that’s pretty much it for me too is I’ve watched them bust themselves which is great because then in their later life, they’ve had the ability to travel the world and do some really great fascinating things together.
Dr. Drew: So out of that Amanda and let’s get a tip for our listeners, the tip for our listeners, don’t be afraid to ask your boss about flexible work arrangements if you’re a Baby Boomer. Have the courage to step forward and go, “Hey, I need some flexible working hours.”
Amanda: It’s funny because my husband and I are in two different generations and he’s in a generation older than I am. And he’s terrified to ask his boss for extra time off of work. I’m like, “Babe, let’s go to here for three or four weeks” and he’s like, “Oh, I couldn’t ask for extra time.” And I’m like, “Well do you want me to call them? I’ll call them.”
Dr. Drew: Because these days a Millennial goes, “We’re taking a few weeks off in doing this” and you just have to get over it deal. “I’ll still be able to commit my commitment through the technology.”
Amanda: And you know what I think really kind of sparked my interest in kind of following through with that is that I’ve witnessed so many of my parents’ friends who they’ve kind of slog through work all their life really, really hard work. And then they finally get to a point of retirement and they go, “Now we’re gonna enjoy our lives and our money and whatever” and within a few months, they’re dead. It’s like they’ve worked so hard, they’ve saved all this money and now they die and usually by that age and we’ve talked about it on the show before, your body is failing you. You’re at the point that you can’t climb Mount Kilimanjaro if you wanted to or you can’t jump out of an airplane as easily as you could have 20 or 30 years ago. So I just look at that and I go, “You know what, I don’t want to like work so hard and then retire and die. I’d really like to enjoy it while I can.” So take that time.
Dr. Drew: Brian?
Brian: Amanda has just said something that rings so true with me. My father who was a very, very clever man and worked in engineering all his life for major aircraft companies hardly had a day off sick. I do remember once when we were living in England, he got the flu, surprise, surprise he was devastated, he had to take 10 days off work. But he dropped dead at 64 and had a heart attack watching a soccer match. Soccer will do that to but that’s what we do that he dropped dead. And I flew back, I was filming in Melbourne at the time and I flew back to the UK and to be with my mom. And because I was there, she said, “Look, we need to go through all of his things so clothes and whatever.” He had a couple of brand-new suits and my dad was quite a big man and they’re not going to fit me because although I’m the same height as my dad, he was whatever number of kilos heavier than me. And so we had to give all these things away and it was horrible. And afterwards, after we’ve done everything, I thought if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m here and my sister was here, there was nothing to actually say he had been on this planet. He worked on his life, there wasn’t a major, there was a few pounds in the bank, not a lot. And we think, “What did he do?” What happened, it’s just 64 years, whack and gone and it was terrifying. So I can’t understand why people still to this day do that sort of thing. Not the dropping dead, the working all their life and then they drop dead.
Dr. Drew: I think that work-life balance is more probably focus for or should be more focus for anyone across. See really, any generation will try to achieve it with their own trials, and tribulations or pressures and so forth. But I think for our Boomer listeners and the people in the group that we’re trying to elevate, lead, and motivate and have fun with as our listeners, it balances more about I think time management, more so time management and better boundary setting for yourself. So if you can set the boundaries and hold your boundaries, it’s not about the time management after that and I think I came in but it was Glenn who said it but having that freedom of self control and I think that freedom comes with setting up boundaries rather than looking at better time management because my time management is crap. And I think better boundary, I have bad boundaries with saying “No” I’ve got to learn to change that, I’m reading a little good book about that and learning to say no at the moment. But balance means enjoying choices rather than having to make a choice I think. So you’ve got to enjoy the choice you made or make the most out of the choices, set the boundary around it rather than trying to fit it into the time.
Glenn: It seems true Drew because sometimes the boundary or the constraint actually teaches us less and so 1957, the year I came to the planet, Parkinson’s Law of Economics, the activity will expand to the time period given. And we reinterpret that in terms of the constraint breeds creativity. And Brian, I really resonate with your story, your dad. But my dad taught us some other lessons and a legacy that he didn’t even know that we were teaching and we didn’t know that we were learning. Jack was a carpenter on the mines and then he became a subcontract carpenter, a chippy when mum got ill and we had to move to Perth. So a subcontractor, nobody pays for their holidays, nobody gives them time off at least, you get time off when there is no job. So dad taught us how to live with that uncertainty I think that you would have certain time when you’re down in tools. And rather than sitting around fretting when you’re down in tools she saw that it’s recovery time. So the constraint actually bred that into that and how he interpreted it and little did he know, little did I know that he was preparing us with lessons for becoming a professional speaker because if we’re a subcontractor or an actor, you’re only as good as your last job. Sometimes it’s running so hot that you can’t fit everything in and other times it’s like where will the next booking come from kind of thing. You learn to create your own holiday pay.
Dr. Drew: At some point too Glenn, every human being has got to understand about their retirement and I know we’ve discussed about changing that word but at some point, you’ve got to retire. Work-life balance is for me part of that retirement package or that idea setting up that retirement so that you can have more freedom, do different choices, work part-time, do what you need. But it never ever escapes me the thought, or the passion, or the construct, or the drive or the holding factor is how much money does individual people think they need to be able to retire or provide themself the work-life balance if we do what Amanda states and Art Garfunkel and that is “To die penniless.” because my mum, was very poor woman, grew up poor. I grew up in a poor family. And in complaining about not having money or 20 cents tied up in the corner of my hanky as a kid, because that was safety money and I used to complain about that. But my mother used to say, “Never complain about money or want or the love of money is the root of all evil. There’s no point dying in the cemetery being the richest body in the cemetery.” I never understood that until now and I realize now, what’s the point in dying rich as Amanda said.
Brian: The other thing is that this concept, it’s poor enough over the years of we have to leave our children something, we have to leave them in the house, we have to leave extra dollars, whatever it is. Why? I mean I know they are children, I know we all love them dearly and we would do anything we can to help them but there has to be a limit. I mean I earned the money, I want to spend it. To me, that’s what I want to do. Both my children thankfully, have very good jobs. They’re very well educated, they’re doing very well for themselves. They probably don’t need anything that I have, maybe some of the paintings or some of the books. But other than that, it’s not like they’re waiting for me to keel over so that they can, “Oh well, the house is worth X dollars and sell that.” Aside from the fact my wife is younger than me so if she will have something to say about that.
Glenn: I think legacy is the example said, the lessons that you display in life are left behind. That’s what mum and dad left for us more than anything else and that’s the best thing to be able to leave behind I think.
Bron: Drew, you’ve mentioned and obviously, Baby Boomers we’ve talked about retirement a lot but I think even that concept is changing and this whole work-life balance thing really fits into that. Like the whole concept of retirement is less than a hundred years old, what the 1930s or something like that, that’s when that whole concept started. You worked until whatever the date or the age was and then you stopped work and you had your government pension and now it’s superannuation. But I actually think that is changing again because that was not what it was like prior to 1930 and I don’t think it’s going to see us well into the future. And I think the fact that we can work part time, we can work from home, we can generate our own businesses. I’m part of many Facebook groups largely populated by women and young women who are entrepreneurial in spirit. Whether it’s a cosmetics brand, homeschooling resources, Reiki, essential oils, whatever, they’re setting up their own business, they work part time now because that’s what they’re going to do all through their life. And I like that in my time of life, I don’t want to be going to work 9 to 5, I actually don’t want to work for somebody else’s agenda anymore. I want to work to my agenda and I want to use them.
Dr. Drew: And it’s interesting guys when you look at the data because as I said, for me it’s an interesting study or research statistical information. It’s good epidemiology to look at it’s good cultural constructs, social architecting. I feel sorry for Millennials, my kids are Millennials that they’re already coming into this phase of life, the working phase of life with debt. They have got huge debt to recover from their university degrees if they’re going to go that way inclined or coming in with debt and a constant battle with debt if they’re doing a trade. And so already, they have a construct on when they want to go in the work life space, they already want balance because they’re already facing debt. Whereas the seniors above them have acquired debt over time and needed to stay in the workforce to end it or ease it out. And Boomers are predominantly in a higher level in the workplace taking on most of the stress. About 80% of Baby Boomer workforce are under incredible amounts of stress because they’re seniors, managers and they have large levels of responsibility. The stress levels in the Millennials now are different because their stress is already acquired when they entered the workforce and so the workforce is busy setting up things like you go into a modern workforce now, there’s table tennis, and game rooms and breakfast benches with food and cereals and it’s quite a “Google lifestyle” if you understand that concept. And they have flexibility, cool at rooms, stress rooms and their employers encourage this because they believe they get more out of the Millennial worker and it’s the stress upon the workers above it who have to come to this concept. So we’ve created an environment where as I said, I feel for the Millennials they’re coming into the workforce with stress and I feel for the Boomers who are going out of the workforce with stress. So for me, the Boomers are the priority. Boomers have to start asking for different workspaces, different work times, different boundaries, more variety perhaps. But I think for Baby Boomers, start getting prepared to learn more or use your skills in a different way. And a different way for me would be to encourage businesses, to encourage or to look inside their workforce because they’ve probably got 3 or 4 generations working for them. Find the seniors, the Boomers and turn them into mentors. Give them flexible positions to lead and mentor the next generation of workers. What do you think of that idea?
Glenn: I think the biggest challenge is inside their own head. The barriers aren’t necessarily there, they’re the ones that we create. There is flexibility open to people. That fear, part of my work, I go walking through the property, we build a swing, so I sit on a swing and I swing in the bush. And people go “Look at that guy loafing around.” I think my thinking and my designing and everything like that happens in my head in those moments but if you’re worried about what it looks like, does it look like I’m working or not working? So the mindset might be the biggest thing.
Brian: I think one of the other things Drew that you touched on there is that so many people, the Boomers getting out of the workforce for many, many, many reasons. Most companies or a lot of companies are losing all that knowledge. They’re not having the mentors, they’re not having the older people to teach the young people how to do the job so that’s a major problem I think.
Dr. Drew: I think particularly the point that Glenn made about human skills because they’re to me they’re called “Soft skills.” And the younger ones, my kids, the technology, the work that they think they know at all. What they do lack and very clearly in a psychological profile or social empathy profile is they lack human skills, interconnection, communication, interpersonal communication strategies. I think we can use our older generational workforce to mentor and transition this and keep it remained, the human skill and keep it remained in the workforce as they technologically update and drive themselves in a different space.
Bron: And I think one of the issues with that is that those human skills, those soft skills actually don’t come with a qualification. There are no letters in your name to say, “I’ve got these qualifications.” And unfortunately, it is the qualifications that are often deemed to be far more important than those skills.
Dr. Drew: And for the general person Bron, they call it the “University of Life.”
Bron: That’s right, yes. And I think that we can start to value which comes back to the humaneness and our human experience, if we really can place value on the things that a human being learns over time as opposed to what somebody learns through an online course or an academic degree or whatever training that they do that both are valuable and should be equally valued.
Glenn: Bron, perhaps that’s when we get the letters after our name. “Dickwit” I think.
Bron: I like it.
Brian: I think one of the other problems is that if you’re trying to convince younger people that they need or would benefit from this mentorship. Most of them will say, “No, I don’t. They can Google it.” So they don’t see the value of learning from an older person.
Dr. Drew: You’re dead right. There’s a great coffee cover have sitting in an office. It says, “Don’t let Dr. Google interfere with my degree in medicine.” But at the end of the day, it’s for me as I say to my Boomers when I’m working with them in crisis, or stress, or change and particularly around grief and loss issues, I’ll get a comment for Amanda next but I often say to them all the time, “Stop stressing about the future, it’s not worth it. Start preparing for your future and give yourself the foundation and the support and the encouragement and the circle around you that will give you the future that you’re stressing about.” So there’s my positive motion for the conversation to Boomers listening to us and having a joke, and contemplating and reflecting, stop stressing about the future and start preparing for your future and do it with some emotional intelligence.
Amanda: And I’m going to second that. So on top of “Don’t stress about the future,” it’s also “Don’t overthink the past.” And I think a lot of people unfortunately get stuck in overthinking the past of working those extra hours, and the late nights and not spending enough time with their kids or not being able to be there for whatever, school function was going on or to support them at the basketball game or whatever it might be. And so what they’re doing is they’re moving forward into retirement and older age with the thoughts of, “Oh but I could have been so much better” and don’t think about those “could, should, would have,” really just focus on the here and now and really preparing for your future and not stress about it.
Dr. Drew: My mum is an interesting woman. I do love her dearly. She’s raised very poor, a very broken woman but she had a lot of sayings and I think those sayings come from her era and age group. She’s in her 80s now but she used to say to us as children and having so many of us and no father. She’d say, “The past is history, tomorrow is a mystery.” She used to say, “So forget about them, go to the bar.”
Amanda: Now we’re not saying that everyone should have drinking issues.
Dr. Drew: You can choose what to drink at the bar. My mum found the bar an interesting place to talk, meet, greet, socialize and diversify her life.
Bron: She got that variety.
Brian: Fair enough. I think the other thing about fretting about the future is that quite obviously, none of us know what the future holds. So you’re kind of fretting about something that you have to a large degree no control over. So it’s simply not worth fretting and getting excited about because if you’re just doing what you want to do now as both Drew and Amanda have said that planning it for the future, that’s all you can do because you’ve no idea what the future holds.
Amanda: I totally agree.
Glenn: What a wonderful thing to embrace I think Brian because in many ways it has become the anxiety age, hasn’t it? Anxiety has got a hold of everyone.
Dr. Drew: Yes, absolutely. I mean it’s that intensity that I find when I get the chance to spend some time in counseling. It’s the intensity that’s destroying a lot of people’s ability to balance, or get rhythm, or harmony in their life, or relaxation or time to meditate or time to take some time out. Time has become a currency and the intensity around that currency is what causes a lot of unbalance for people.
Amanda: And I think also to touch on that Drew is that earlier you had said we need to think about time management and setting boundaries and with time being a currency which it absolutely is, you need to be even clearer about the boundaries that you’re setting, the purpose of setting those boundaries and then what the consequences are if you don’t set those boundaries.
Dr. Drew: What’s your boundaries Wayne?
Wayne: I’ve been sitting here very quietly listening to the conversation and a few thoughts come up and the first is my pilot friends telling me that there’s nothing as useless as runway behind the aircraft. And I look at the past like that, it’s been and gone and it should not give you comfort or reassurance, it’s what’s in front that makes all the difference. And the other thing is that work-life balance and I have had a very fortunate life. Certainly for my dad, there was a distinct difference between the things you did at work and the things you did out of work. And for me, there’s not such a balance. If I’m doing a podcast with you now sitting in my lounge chair with a headset on talking to 5 or 6 intelligent people around the world, this is work for me. But if we didn’t have the meter running, I’d be just as likely to be talking any of you for pleasure. And so the line between work and not work has washed away to some extent. I’m old enough that my only one son is now in his mid 30s and has an independent life and I don’t carry soccer matches or whatever and the grandkids have not yet appeared if they’re ever are going to appear. So I’m not not in that part, that phase either. So it’s pretty much everything I do is largely about stuff that I want to do. Now the constraint around that is that occasionally, I have to do stuff at a particular time and so that some days when you’ve got to do something and it’s not what you want to be doing, that I find work. It’s that I’ve got to do it now that makes it work. But for the other 90% of my life, I live this very luxurious existence I guess that there is enough time, there’s enough money, there’s enough sex, there’s enough everything else, there’s enough food. Yes, there could be more of any of it.
Dr. Drew: How can a person tick so many of the boxes Wayne?
Wayne: Well part of it Drew is that for now 20 odd years now, it’s been a very deliberate strategy of not pursuing money alone but pursuing doing things that appeal to me and my career has been a large running accident. I mean this people talk to me about career planning and I hear you all laughing because for me there is no career plan. The last career disappears and a new jobs appear when I need it to appear. It’s just serendipitous, most of it just falls into place. I’ve had periods of stress and anxiety in my life, I’ve had periods that have required deliberate management that haven’t gone well. But generally in the last 10 years, it’s all been pretty good and now I run a business that I’ve structured to fit into my lifestyle rather than the other way around. So you know, I’m a little bit like Bron in that I don’t look forward to retirement. I don’t think I would do anything differently if I was retired from to I’m doing now.
Dr. Drew: I’ve got to put in the place here in that message Wayne and that is for Boomers, I want to get it very clear as a message to them as we evolve as in the Boomer generation as this work life balancing evolves in front of us. Get smart guys, get smart you buggers. You’ve got a world of knowledge behind you and you’ve built yourself to where you are now. It doesn’t mean we stay stagnant or you have to stay in that room. It’s learn where this workforce, workplace, life balance things are going and learn to master it and get ahead of the game. As companies that are employing and changing their employee workplace relationships and they’re looking at now building work-life balance structured workplaces, I believe that Boomers have a little bit of head start by understanding the concept, learning about the concept, stepping into these new workforces, all these changing businesses that want to support it for the upcoming workforce and becoming a leader in it. Getting into those workforces and saying, “Take all my skills and knowledge and I also understand and want to be a part of this changing workforce.” Because I think as work-life balance continues to unroll and no longer will be a soft subject, it is now becoming a very forefront subject in the workspace just because employees will fit into specific generations, they won’t fit into specific workspaces because of that generational thinking. So we’ve got to unwind some of our generational values in the work issue and if you’re a Boomer, start to think like a Millennial, understand where they’re at, understand the workforce they’re building but use your skills to get in front to be a leader for them in it.
Wayne: I am struck often by that notion of the Baby Boomers managing the Millennials and I want to go back to Amanda’s comment earlier about her husband asking for flexible working conditions in the workplace. One of my observations about working bureaucracies was that it is the 50-plus year olds who don’t believe that a subordinate can be trusted to work unsupervised, it is the 50 year olds who say, “I have to be able to see you to believe that you’re applying yourself cognitively to your work” and it’s the 50 year olds who won’t ask their boss if they can work from home. And I think a lot of it is because they actually don’t trust themselves to be able to work without being seen. And as all of us would work from home, no – working without being oversight, it is a responsibility because it’s very easy to be distracted. And if your income is not directly tied to your output as it is for self-employed people, that distraction costs your boss – not you. But the issue I think often is self-imposed for Baby Boomers because they don’t trust themselves. And because they don’t trust themselves, they don’t trust the Millennials.
Dr. Drew: And that’s the mindset I want them to change. Interestingly enough, someone goes to say something, statistics show us very clearly hot desking is the biggest issue in the workplace at the moment, it’s a big popular thing. Women are more productive at hot desking than men.
Bron: I wonder why.
Amanda: I am so glad that you came up with that Drew because I have another one that they said that women who actually have flexible work time are 20 to 40 percent more productive than if they just did the standard 9 to 5, 5 days a week and all that. So what happens is there’s almost like a level of guilt is what they think the statistics has come from is that people feel, “Oh while I’m at home which means I do have that opportunity to maybe watch a TV show or make my own lunch or whatever it might be and so I feel as though I may be taking too much time away from work.” So then they work even longer hours and into the night and all that other kind of stuff. So 20 to 40 percent more productive is pretty amazing.
Glenn: I think there’s a percentage of people who do work from home and it’s not distraction that’s the difficulty, it’s ongoing concentration. They do so many hours that’s why we had to create the green time and the green space, Lindy and I, because our commitment is just “do more, do more than.” If you’re doing a job, do the best you can. And sometimes doing the best you can requires a little bit of less time, a little bit of green time, a little bit of surf time, the rhythm of life as Drew said. And when we get that, that’s when I think we start to flow and that kind of productivity you’re talking about Amanda starts to happen.
Dr. Drew: Glenn, who gave you that, “Do more, be more, achieve more commitment?”
Glenn: I think instilled from what I saw from my dad but dad played us an old song, “Do what you do, do it well boy, do what you do, do it well” and it becomes a really positive song for me but the flipside of that or “the ying or the yang, or the yang at the ying” is that sometimes by doing everything to the best ability constantly, you need some time where you go, “No, let’s do some stuff at 50%. Let’s do some stuff at 85%.” I mean Lindy my wife, her 85% is everyone else’s 120 percent.
Dr. Drew: It’s the same with my wife. I agree. I know when I asked you that question, I know where my strive and commitment came from to do better, do more, achieve more – it was thrived from growing up in failure, I know that. Growing up in a very poor family and seeing and being surrounded by failure, and by poverty and stress. My immediate commitment to my life was very much like my daughter says to me now and I’m not going to stay there or be in that space. But now as I’m older and in my 50s, I look at it and go, “Hang on a minute, I need to stop thinking like that and stop a glass half full instead of glass half empty and start understanding and appreciating achievements and using my life in a better way.” And as I said earlier, for me this is a challenge like you wouldn’t believe.
Glenn: There’s also that part of it maybe for you, no certainly for me that acknowledgement from mum and dad didn’t come readily. Any “Well done, it’s good on your son, we’re proud of you” and a pat on the head. Now if somebody like yourself Drew, if you were waiting for a pat on the head, when you’re 7ft 4, you’re gonna be waiting a long time mate.
Dr. Drew: You have to get on your knees to get it.
Wayne: Now time is marching on ladies and gentlemen and we should think about wrapping up. Do you have some final thoughts?
Glenn: I remember an old song and “Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow.” I think they went with snow but somewhere in there and that variety of life, find the flow in life.
Amanda: And I’m gonna follow up with just be nice to yourself. You don’t need to stress over the little things and worry about the future, just be good to yourself for the right here and right now.
Wayne: I’m worried Amanda whether I can be nicer to myself but I will try.
Glenn: Wayne’s World is an inspiring movie Wayne.
Bron: I’m just going to follow on with “to live a seamless life” so that one probably goes with what you are saying Glenn, to “flow.” So that there’s no demarcations and it’s all part of who you are.
Brian: Look, I would just like to pretty much second everybody but particularly Amanda living in the moment, do what you’re doing now as well as you can. The future will to a large degree take care of itself and if you’re happy now there’s every chance we’ll be happy tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.
Dr. Drew: And I’m going to shamelessly advertise my book, “Aging in the New Age” because I’ve got a quite a few tips in there for Boomers around active, healthy, positive aging and work-life balance. So a couple of tips – stay in the workforce, plan to stay in the workforce if you can because it’s important for your growth and your sustainability. And and if you’re going to head into retirement, scheme mentality, spend the kids inheritance according to Brian and I totally agree with it. You don’t have to leave them much, we’ve created an environment and a society, they’ve got everything they need. Embrace change for yourself because it’s important. Plan for any change that’s coming. Seek and accept the support that is around you and available and planned to stay connected with the things you love and that inspire you, the things that have influence in you. Design any type of new you, just for you because it’s important that you stand in the center of all of it. And remember the heart has no wrinkles, so break out the lube.
Wayne: Now Drew, there’s some lovely thoughts and a nice synopsis of your book. I was getting worried I thought you might have forgotten you wrote a book. Where can people buy the book from?
Dr. Drew: It’s available on Amazon or Lulu and you can get it from our website boomsdayprepping.com.au. You can get it from my website dr-drew.com or my other website Frontline Care Solutions, but really just Google, “Aging in the New Age by Dr. Drew” and it’ll all come up. It’s a great little book. I’m writing my second one at the moment, I’ve got two on the go at the moment. One is, “Is it Better to Burn Out and Fade Away?” and it’s about this actual concept of how do we place, and see and phase ourselves into Boomer retirement. So do you burn out or do you fade away? And the book will allow the concept to come out too, “No, I’m not going to fade away, I’m going to burn out.” Well, that’s my take on it. They’re not big books I write, they’re little ones but I try and pull in some information that’s always evidence-based. It’s always quite easy to understand, a lot of psychological platform in there because I do study it and look at it. But really it’s about motivating, empowering and lifting our Boomers because I am still a firm believer with so many Boomers on the planet and the transition coming with an ageing population. The world is only just beginning to taste its stress and it will be the Boomers I think will guide and pull the world out of this stress because we’ve got enough experience and brains amongst us to help save the planet.
Wayne: Well dear listener, we’ve come once again to the end of another episode of Booms Day Prepping. This show proudly sponsored by “Aging in the New Age” by Dr. Drew Dwyer. We’ll send him an invoice for it later I think. If you’ve liked our episode, please click the button, click the like button, click the share button, any of those buttons at the bottom of your screen, just click them all, we appreciate the feedback. If you have questions and I say this every week and we’re guilty once again of not getting around to a question. Do send us any questions that you have, we might have to do a whole questions episode to clean up some of the backlog. But if you do have questions please by all means, use any of the social media channels to ask us a question, we keep an eye on all of them and we will receive it. The Booms Day Prepping episode is brought to you by Dr. Drew Dwyer and myself as your hosts and our panel, thank you for being with us. Our panel as always has been Amanda Lambros, Bron Williams, Brian Hinselwood and Glenn Capelli. This is Booms Day Prepping, my name is Wayne Bucklar.