Boomers have been hit hard by the Great Recession. Our post-WWII bulge generation is aging and out of work at the highest rates and the longest periods since the government started tracking older worker employment data in 1948.
The downturn has compounded significant structural changes in the U.S. economy, making job prospects dim for those who are 50-plus and currently jobless. This time around, it’s not civil rights or women’s rights that need our awareness, voices and votes. It’s the economy, [stupid], our role in it and the legacy we, the Boomers, are leaving for our children and grandchildren.
Since Feb. 2010, I’ve been traveling around the country with a team conducting video interviews for a multimedia documentary project entitled OVER 50 AND OUT OF WORK. Fourteen million members of my generation are unemployed. Many are fearful they will never find another decent job or see the value of their homes and savings restored. They are very worried about their futures.
Boomers have contributed to remarkable social and cultural changes during the past fifty years, but our lives aren’t over yet. Maybe we’ve just delayed our ultimate generational coming of age until now. Cool, huh?
Our parents are referred to as the “Greatest Generation,” while Boomers are often described in the media as self-indulgent, self-absorbed and self-centered. Both the ordinary and the extraordinary Boomers we have met along the way prove otherwise.
Maybe we’re finally realizing that we are the grown-ups and that there is more to adulthood than the individual responsibilities we’ve shouldered and upheld over the past 20 or 30 years to our families, our local communities, our jobs, and sometimes to military service. Maybe the Boomer generation’s time has come to reactivate our cool and change the world all over again.
Susan M. Sipprelle is a multimedia documentary maker, a journalist and a photographer. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in 2008, and is the mother of five children.
OVER 50 AND OUT OF WORK is an ongoing multimedia project that documents the impact of the Great Recession on jobless Americans, 50 and older. Boomers, generally regarded as self-centered and indulgent, reveal unexpected depths of faith, perseverance and resilience through their life stories.
Click on the Names to View Their Stories.
All opinions expressed by Susan M. Sipprelle are solely her own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.