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In Defense Of The “Selfish” Baby Boomers

June 21, 2017

Baby boomers are selfish.

It’s a charge we hear a lot these days coming from the younger generation and those who are concerned with their job prospects. So why are they selfish? The argument is that as more and more boomers decide to stay in the workforce longer, they are taking up the space that should be going to those younger generations who are trying to start their careers. Boomers are thinking only of their own wants while not noticing, or not caring for, the needs of others.

Of course, as with just about any argument that blames the woes of society on one specific group, there are a lot of things people are not considering. Angry millennials and gen-Xers take up the call without giving too much thought about what exactly is selfish about what they are doing. Now, before we get into all that, we first have to ignore that the whole argument about boomers taking the job of young people is just patently false. People argue that since boomers have more experience employers will no doubt choose them over less experiences younger workers. But it’s precisely because of that experience that boomers and millennials aren’t competing for work. Countless research and studies have been done on the subject and concluded that by-and-large these demographics simply aren’t competing for the same positions, nor is there a trickle-down effect that is pushing the younger generation out of the workforce.

The truth is that finding work is hard for everyone. The argument that boomers are selfish for continuing while there are younger people that need the work suggests that boomers don’t need the work. Yes, there are some boomers who are perfectly comfortable financially, and continue working simply because they like it. But in most cases, working past the so-called “retirement age” is a necessity. Boomers will live longer than any other generation before them, they will support their kids longer than any other generation before them and their retirement will be more expensive than any other generation before them. How then, is it fair to expect them to walk away from their jobs? They need the paycheque as much as anyone, so is it selfish to provide for themselves?

You can label it as selfish all you want, but in that case, selfish is not a bad thing. Firstly, putting yourself first doesn’t mean you disregard everyone else. Boomers look out for themselves, but they also volunteer, give back, mentor, and having experienced professional in the workforce longer actually helps to create more jobs. There’s nothing malicious or even unfair about boomers wanting to keep working. It’s smart and it’s understandable. The anger from others is also understandable. Being out of work is scary, but there’s other things to consider before throwing around blame.


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