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Baby Boomer Career Choice: The Next Step

eastsidePortland baby boomers embrace their wonderful city as much as any bike riding hipster in tight jeans.

They do it differently, but they did it first.

Like being country before country was cool, boomers were cool before Portland became as chill as it is today.

Don’t believe it? You should.

Here’s why:

In 1979 the intersection of NW 21st and Lovejoy had a walk up named Heavy Number Taco on the southeast corner.

Biker babes did food business in front, biker dudes did a side business in the back.

It wasn’t a franchise, but is the sort of boomer business plan that works in Colorado today. Minus the taco.

How cool is Colorado? Not as cool as 21st and Lovejoy was.

Start with the rent.

A studio apartment in the neighborhood ran $155/month. The neighbors were young professionals, artists, and everyday folks mixed into one happy group.

The Earth Tavern was just up the street, Cinema 21 not much further.

Cool boomer could comb their goatee, pull their thinning hair back into a greasy pigtail, and cruise.

Val’s Place sat across the street from Heavy Number, a bar where everyone knew your name after your second visit.

The place was loaded with young boomers. One group of regulars, twenty-something women, would come in, sit at the bar together, and talk about weekend trips with their married boyfriends.

More than a few young men made an effort to learn what women, gorgeous women, really wanted.

Was it more than a luxury trip to Palm Springs once a month to cover their rent? More than free beauty treatments in their favorite salon? These ladies understood the market for married men in their forties and fifties and invested themselves.

They had a secret they shared together while laughing off the not so smooth moving guys their age.

While that game is played out every day in history by the same age demographics, the players from 1979 turned into 60 year old women while the men bumped another thirty years, or so. They changed from free spirited single ladies waiting for their Ralph Lauren casual men to wake up and marry them after a promised divorce, to respectable citizens with a bitter edge.

Then everything else changed.

You won’t find a Heavy Number Taco or Val’s Place. The calculated decisions of those days grew more calculated today.

Do sixty year old women find time for hot weekends with 90 year old seniors? Only if they carry the initials RN after their name.

2014 baby boomers want more from relationships than a part time thrill. They want more for their time than exciting memories and a paid mortgage. Men and women both want more and they’re planning accordingly.

Whether you call it a Second Act, an Encore Career, or a Solopreneuer, boomers are the cutting edge of discovering and adapting to the changing social landscape. Where they land after their official work-life is over warrants notice.

Why? Because in true boomer fashion, things are never done, they’re just evolving to the next stage.

About David Gillaspie
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