Consider these trends:
It took nearly 38 years to get 50 million people to tune into the radio. But it took only 13 years to get 50 million people to watch TV. Copy of June 6, 2012Then along came the Internet and 50 million people logged on in less than 5 years. That adoption rate was exceeded quickly by the iPod. Fifty million people had one in 3 years. Those numbers seem quaint when one considers Facebook who acquired 50 million subscribers in 2 years and then nearly 200 additional subscribers in less than 1 year.
What does this mean? The adoption of new technology is increasing at a dizzying pace. Acceptance of the radio spanned 2, maybe even 3 generations if you consider the introduction of FM. The transition from the radio to TV occurred in one-third the time, equivalent to the growing up years of Baby Boomers. Generation X witnessed the move from TV to the World Wide Web in less time than it takes to complete elementary school. Within one decade we have seen the fall of Napster and the rise of the iPod, the fall of AOL and the rise of Facebook and Twitter. Life altering and revolutionary innovation that destroys entire industries and creates new ones now arise within a few years, not decades. Not generations.
All this change is bad news for Boomers who resist adoption and adaptation. Thirty years of experience in a career that earned them significant respect, considerable responsibility, and middle class wages are less relevant in today’s job market. Often times the skills that just a few years ago earned them high middle income wages are now obsolete. Now left without a relevant skill, past experience becomes a footnote on a resume, not a ticket for a job.
And that’s a problem. For the past decade, Boomers were told the decision to keep working longer was at their discretion. Moving forward they may be disappointed. The brain drain is becoming less relevant as old jobs go away thanks to automation, technology, or outsourcing. Short of working as greeters at Wal-Mart, Baby Boomers equipped with an industrial age mindset are becoming dinosaurs in the job market.
This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.