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Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Bring on the (guilt) trip

I just read an article in Macleans magazine about how my generation is leaving a dire present for their children:  fewer jobs, lower pay, higher taxes, bleaker futures.  I say my generation but being born during the Second World War means that technically I am a pre-Boomer.  Dave is full-fledged though.

We always think with gratitude that we were the last of the Need a Job? Choose from among these...people.  I certainly didn't seek out that status, or step on anyone to get it, or abuse it when I had it.  I don't want to feel personally responsible, because of my accident of birth, for the fact that my own children are suffering fewer jobs, lower pay, higher taxes, bleaker futures.  Does someone really think that I'm gloating about that, snickering with my aged boomer friends about how we screwed Gen X Y and the as-yet-unnamed generations that follow?

Granted, I did not personally call my MP to complain that life was good and could something be done about that.

I did get involved with the volunteer community, supported the United Way campaigns, wrote letters to Amnesty International and boycotted lettuce, carrots, grapes, red meat, gender-exclusive activities and printing e-mails ---all at appropriate times.  I didn't kick puppies or push razor blades into Hallowe'en apples.

I do care that my kids can't have their pick of jobs and that their mortgages are hellish-high and that day care costs almost as much as one parent earns.  I think it is a shame that in a few years, there will be more retired people than workers, and that those of us who lived to this ripe old age are going to need health care.  I just don't know why suddenly it's both a universal surprise and my fault.

R U Listening, Macleans???

Cordially yours,
Pre-Boomer Left-leaning Totally-selfish Canadian Woman.


  1. Hmmm, I didn't know when I started this rant where I was going with it, but since the feeling was genuine, I'm sticking with it.

  2. I liked your rant!! They're talking here in the states about messing with Social Security. It's not my fault I had to retire early due to their lousy policies. I may borrow a few ideas from you for a verbal assault on deserving members of the House and Senate. Is that okay?

  3. This whole collective guilt thing is a real button pusher for me, and I hate when people use this technique to get us to do something about something over which we have no control really. Like you, I paid my dues literally and physically. I continue to volunteer in my community. My own 3 children are fortunate--so far--gainfully employed, but I do know a lot of people, well qualified people, who are jobless. Every generation goes through this; it's like a wheel of life, around, around, around.

  4. I have thought about this too. The Boomers (I include you) are the same as everybody else. There were simply more of us born at the right time. If anybody is to blame, I guess it's our parents. After all, we didn't ask to be born.

  5. I'd just like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a glorious Holiday Season!!

  6. The question the article raised for me is whether we as a generation have been selfish with our good fortune. There are two challenges we need to consider: whether we as individuals have been greedy, and whether we as individuals have stood up sufficiently to influence government and broader social and fiscal behaviour. I'd be curious to know what balance an objective observer would find between the 'V' generation and the me-generation, between our efforts at peace, love, and save-the-planet, and our more selfish pursuits. We know that the greed of ENRON and Bernie Madoff and the Wall Street banks had a huge impact on the world's financial troubles, but was that tendency to greed, at a more personal scale, typical or exceptional of our generation? Is there a statistician out there who has done a fair assessment?
    - Pokemon the persistent

  7. Pokeymon,
    You are definitely persistent. And thoughtful and articulate. As an individual, I think the answer to the two questions is no and yes. However, as a citizen of the world, I'd probably have to reverse my answers. I know of no stats to use in a fair assessment and I'm not sure I would follow up---I'm just getting into the swing of balancing my life and my guilt load.

    Nice to see you back.

  8. No and Yes?
    To which.
    My mother blames our plight on the hippies. So I have my load of guilt too.
    When I look back there....I shudder ;)

  9. Eat the rich. Simple.