Best Jobs for Baby Boomers
Somehow or another, I tripped over an article on CareerBuilder that listed the 25 Best Jobs for Baby Boomers. The top 25 were whittled down from a list of the "225 Best Jobs for Baby Boomers," from a book by that very name by Michael Farr and Laurence Shatkin. Their job list was derived for Bureau of Labor Statistics data on jobs in which "40 percent of the workforce is age 45 or older," and which "had the best combination of high salaries, fast growth, and ample job openings."
By desire (Who wants to retire quite yet and be considered irrelevant?) or necessity (Hmmmmm. Might have been nice if I'd ever worked anyplace that had a pension plan. Make that a pension plan that was actually going to survive.), a lot of Baby Boomers are going to keep on truckin' to work even after they turn 60 (which started happening to the Boomers last year).
We are assured that, given demographic ebbs and flows, our presence in the workplace, if not exactly welcome, will be needed. Which means that employers will have to overlook our higher health care premiums; boring "when I was first starting out...." and "remember when the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan for the first time" reminiscences; and the fact that our graying, sagging, aging presence will start reminding the graying, sagging, aging Gen-Xers of their own mortality.
General and Operations Managers
Obstetricians & Gynecologists
Family & General Practitioners
Medical & Health Services Managers
Financial Mangers, Branch or Department
Treasurers, Controllers, and CFO
Government Service Executives
Private Sector Executives
Education Administrators, Elementary & Secondary School
Administrative Services Managers
Sales Representatives, Agricultural
Sales Representatives, Chemical & Pharmaceutical
Sales Representatives, Electrical/Electronic
What strikes me about this list is that most of the jobs sound like darned good jobs if you're already in them, but aren't exactly great choices for second careers.
Come on. There may be a latter-day Boomer (say, one born in 1964) who's willing and able to go back to Med School and put in all that extra training to become a Surgeon, but it's not all that plausible a second career choice. And for us first wave boomers, just do the math. Assuming that someone born in 1950 could go directly to Med School without taking a year or so to brush up on their Organic Chemistry, they'd be 61 when the got out. Add on a few years for internships and residency, then the extra stuff you need to do for surgery. I don't think becoming a Board Certified Surgeon at 70 makes all that much sense. (Although I'm sure there's some example out there of the-WWII-medic-who-always-wanted-to-be-a-doctor-and-became-one-the-same-day-his-grandson-did.)
Psychiatrist is another one? Don't you have to have a PhD and an MD? Too much time!
Financial managers and controllers might be a better choice for second career. Indoors. Sedentary. Definitely lends itself to part time. Baby Boomers know how to do arithmetic in their heads without requiring machine intervention. But CFO, other than of an itsy-bitsy company, might be a stretch goal. Someone might want real experience, there, especially in the post-Enron, SarBox world.
Personally, I have no interest in becoming a CEO at this stage, but I do think wistfully about becoming a Government Service Executive, which would have a very nice government service pension. At least until the tax-paying rabble decides that they don't want their tax money to go for pensions, given that their pension plan never existed or went bust and their trying to decide on a third-career at age 80. (Wal-Mart greeter, stuffing envelopes at home, of 900-talk-nasty phone rep?)
Postsecondary Teacher. Sounds great! Other than those helicopter parents intervening to change their kids' grades. And the petty-yet-cut-throat faculty politics. And publish or perish - hey, we're starting to learn all about perishing. But, wait a minute. Are we talking about nice, cushy tenure position with light teaching load and TA's to run the sections and do the grading? Or are we talking about cruddy, over-worked-under-paid adjunct jobs for $2K a course?
And while I truly regret that I never did sales during my career at any point, I don't think it sounds like a good career choice at my age. Wilhelmina Loman, anyone?
I admit that I may have some career changish thing up my sleeve before I decide to pack it in - which I have no intention of doing at this point. But it probably won't be anything on the best jobs list - although "Management Analyst" sounds like it could be right up my alley, given all the time I've spent thinking about screwed up management.
For now, I'll keep doing what comes naturally, which is product marketing, i.e., the same kind of work I've been doing all along. It actually seems to be something I'm good at. It actually seems to be something that people need. And it actually seems to be something you can do on your own terms, without getting sucked back into a full time corporate stint.