Thursday, 19 June 2014

Book Review: BOOMERangs: Engaging the Aging Workforce in America

Nickerson's Books

Cash Nickerson
I read this book. I had a couple of issues with it. I'm not one to pull punches, even though it was sent to me for a review! Authored by Cash Nickerson (seriously!), JD, MBA. A lawyer, businessman of many years experience.

Firstly, it is an American book, and uses U.S. data. The hardest thing I found was trusting the accuracy of the data presented. For example, he tells us we can expect to be employed until age 71, "according to Google." Since when is Google a reputable source of data?!

There are several graphics, and no obvious permissions to reproduce them. Similarly, the author quotes Dylan Thomas', "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night." (POEM: Copyright © New Directions Publishing Corp.which violates copyright laws. If he does have permission, he should say so!

Content

Nickerson tells us that we boomers are struggling with technology. Not in my circles, nor amongst my Facebook friends! Hubby tells me of using a moving clothesline for airline reservations in his early career. He learned to integrate computers into his work life.  They thought, at first, that two employees could share one computer. My late mother learn to do her Rotary Club newsletter on the computer at age 55. I was proud of her.

The other terrible woe he tells us we will face is dementia, and failing eye sight, and chronic disabilities, while we are gainfully employed and taking time off work to care for aging parents. I don't know about you, but I know many people who are living and eating well, exercising in middle age, and even running marathons at our age. He is doom and gloom!

Societal Changes with Technology

In Industrial Society
-we may be employed for 30 or more years,
- retired for 15 years.
In the Information Era,
-we may be employed as 40 years,
but live longer, for another 25 years!
The author spends several of the first chapters explaining the differences between Societies and Eras of Humankind. This, I taught to my Gr. 5 and 6 students, as it explains a lot in terms of lifestyles, age expectancy, and our retirement years.

All we really need to know is that since life expectancies have changed, our working lives have become different as we officially retire, living off our rich pensions (or not as the case may be!).

Since we are living longer, we have more years to pay for food, water, shelter and clothing, than ever before. This includes finding something worthwhile to do in retirement, if we do not need to work for a living any more. He makes a good case for employees to consider their working lives and situations. I know many retirees who pick up post-retirement jobs, a V-P works part-time at the LCBO, many older people work at Lee Valley Tools, to top up their incomes or keep a standard of living. This is an important consideration.

This is the crux of the book. Never quit your job, he tells us. I shuddered! I happily retired at age 50. It was a relief. Don't be afraid of change, I say.
This senior continues to compete in the stone boat
contests at the fair. These are hard to control horses.
We cannot stop seniors from doing what they love!

His peer group, of course, involves big bucks business people, with high-powered careers. For people like this they will find it difficult living a gentler life. He does touch on the differences between blue collar and white collar workers. As I found, however, one may need to retire early for various reasons, including caregiving, and we often do not have a choice.


Research

There were lots of websites cited, with the URL listed in the "Footnotes" at the back of the book, but these footnotes were truly badly-cited URLs, with no date, and some were mysterious. When you cite a URL, you need to use "as accessed on Date, month, year." Some were simply Google searches, which would be very different depending upon your computer or mine.
Another source of information, vaguely cited, were newspaper articles making certain claims. For an MBA this is shocking!

Another concern, poor editing. I found several spots with typos, as well as, for example, references to the Grey Tsunami or the Gray Tsunami. Take your pick. It was an easy read, but I kept questioning its veracity, in the light of his company's work: PDS, the 4th largest IT staffing firm in the US.

Target Audience

I suppose I was not his target audience. I'm already retired. I am not an employer. He does call his US government to action to readdress the situation of the older worker in the workplace. I think we must simply treat people equally, with dignity.


BOOMERANGS: Engaging the Aging Workforce in America?  
In his new book, BOOMERangs (Charles Pinot, May 2014) author, attorney and thought leader on the American workplace, Cash Nickerson explains there needs to be a call to action by governments, employers, and Boomers alike to address outdated mindsets, including a major rethinking of the Age Discrimination Act.
“There is a Gray Tsunami approaching,” says Nickerson “and because it is moving so slowly, we are not prepared nor are we preparing for it.” 

4 comments:

Nancy J said...

Wow, does the author think for himself, or rely on info from any source? Work till 71?? Does he mean actually go out to work for income, or work at home, like so many of us do? The senior with his beautiful horses, are they dragging a set of harrows? a board that has to stay level? I guess this is a special competition? So many of my friends in the 70 plus age have all learnt technology late in life, and wonder what it was like before all this. And we all continue to learn, Your book reviews, they need serious reading, Cheers,Jean.

William Kendall said...

From what you're saying, it sounds like a good deal of it was cobbled together and feels sloppy.

And I find it dubious to trust anyone named Cash.

Red said...

Retirement is like many other things...it's variable. I did my 37 years as planned. Others are not that fortunate. Far too many teachers spend their last years on disability until age 65.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

This book actually came off the publishing printers and is on book shelves in stores? Hmmmm.

From your input and critique it should never have been completed and for sale in the first place.