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 New Boomers And Old Dig In.

Joshua Waldman via

Welldiggers Speaker Joshua Waldman via

Welldiggers started in January 2005.

Nine years later ring leader and organizer Walt Duddington invited me to speak to a monthly meeting.

He gave three open dates. I picked the first one available.

Why would a blogger writing for BoomerPDX jump at the chance to address a group of networking baby boomers?

As a reasonable man who found himself picking up his personal goods at 6:30 one morning in a downtown garage from a security guard after nineteen years on the job, I’ve got a measure of insight into what it feels like on the discard pile.

That’s where you go, or where it feels like you’ve been tossed, when you leave a long-term job. But it’s not a permanent location.

No matter the circumstances, once your routine changes, you need new goals and new methods of achieving them. The Welldiggers meeting was full of men and women who reject the scrapheap. If they hit, they bounced off.

A good networking group adds to the bounce.

From Welldiggers literature:

Driven by the scary days after the “dot-com bomb” in 2003- 2004 and the horrific layoffs in technology industries, our intent was to create a network of mid-career managers and professionals that needed a network of contacts for the first time, or wanted to expand the breadth of their existing contacts.

What is this contact all about? If you agree that most people have good intentions, a contact is someone who also has your best intentions in mind when they see an opportunity you might like to know about.

Contacts at the Welldiggers seem dialed into the idea of spreading good news, about assisting one another during times of transition. It’s not a stretch to say you could feel the love in the room. Not the sort of ‘love everything, love everybody’ love, but the love of sharing.

Welldiggers are good company. I saw it from the sidewalk waiting for the door to open at the Buffalo Gap. The people showing up had a gentle confidence, an inner-knowledge of life. They were poster material for “Tough Times Don’t Last, Tough People Do.”

These men and women seemed bullet proof to the little injustices that might drive others into a bad day, week, or even a bad year. Taking part in Welldiggers is a step in the right direction, no matter the state of their work lives.

It was a relief thinking none of them were on the verge of despair before I spoke.

Is public speaking easy? If you don’t care how it turns out, it’s simple. Show up and run your mouth. As a cautious blogger, that wasn’t my plan. I outlined the talk, recorded it, did another outline, and added a few more bullet points.

I was set to go after Mr. Duddington’s introduction, but since he ended where my talk ended, I rearranged on the fly to start with my ending.

The opening included points on adult education, from Jackie Peterson’s Better, Smarter, Richer course, to Joshua Waldman’s online course, The Age Advantage. Do contact either of them for more information.

Jackie Peterson:

Joshua Waldman, author of Job Searching With Social Media For Dummies, owner of

More Welldiggers lit:

Most of us are so busy with the daily activities of our lives and careers, that the care and feeding of personal networking has taken a back seat. We need a safe place to learn and practice face to face networking.

Welldiggers meets on the first Thursday morning of each month, at 8:00 am, at The Buffalo Gap on SW Macadam near Johns Landing- in their upstairs meeting room.

Both Jackie and Joshua have a history at Welldiggers’ meeting. I was glad to mention them to the group on my day. There’s something about hearing positive feedback on things before diving in to make the water more inviting.

From continuing education, to extending an outreach hand to generation in front of boomers and behind, I encouraged the group to improve their tech communication skills.

On this day, D-Day 2014, the passing of the Greatest Generation comes into stark focus. They are fading into history one by one with stories untold.

How will the Millennials and those coming after hear those stories? Probably on a smart phone or tablet. How many ninety year olds navigate the gear as well as twenty-somethings who were born with wireless systems?

It’s sad to think anyone would reject information that didn’t arrive on a certain platform as bunk. Boomers have a responsibility as a conduit of the Sandwich Generation. We need to deliver coherent history to the young, or live with the guilt of revisionism where lesser people sculpt history to their agenda.

If history is written by winners, the Greatest Generation are America’s biggest winners for participating in the most important day in history, the day that saved the world from industrialized evil. You don’t have a death camp in your town because of them.

Welldiggers Lit:

All are welcome- employed, seeking a transition, or currently unemployed. The real value of networking is creating a diverse group with people who expand your personal network and the Welldiggers’ network.

Welldiggers’ purpose is not “sales leads”, as you would expect with the Chamber, Le Tip, etc. We are careful to not impose ourselves on other Welldiggers… but there is no problem with creating awareness of what each of us does for a living.

The first and primary purpose is to put in place a vast array of connections, a safety net, a universe of people who know people, who know other people…. to help “bullet-proof” our professional lives.

Walt Duddington knows something about bullet-proofing. He walked the thin, blue, line as a Portland police officer on the east side before transitioning into a telecom executive. He’s got presence and the sort of personal gravity that matches the poster of keep calm and carry on.

When the bottom drops out, you want guys like Walt around. Why did I take the first available slot to speak in front of the Welldiggers? Walt invited me, but I didn’t hear an invite. I heard, “if you know what’s good for you, get on it.”

That’s a universal Boomer message to heed. Are you getting on with it? We want to know. Leave a comment.

About David Gillaspie
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