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Whether it’s purely a cultural choice or economic necessity, we are seeing an increase in tow or three generations living together. This is even more prevalent in the workplace. So we need to get proficient and comfortable with initiating #cross-generational conversations and connections.

(Traditionalist generation) actress and author Marlo Thomas wrote about the benefits of multigenerational bonding she experienced since childhood hanging out with her father Danny Thomas’ fellow comedian friends.

Her advice on connecting with people of other generations you would like to connect with: Don’t make defensive jokes about your age difference; don’t try to force your wisdom and experience on them. Do smile and introduce yourself the way you would with a peer in age. Do share a bit of your story to begin. Importantly, listen to their story.

I am periodically asked about tips for intergenerational networking in a business context. Networking with people of other generations is a great pleasure to me and has resulted in many good friendships and business connections. As with all personal and professional relationships, the best way to nurture the connection is to show sincere interest in the other person, show respect, and appreciate what you can learn from each other.

Don’t expect too much until several interactions have built a bond. If you are thinking mostly of the ongoing time commitment rather than the value of connection, you will not reap the benefits of ties to the future with those younger and the wisdom and perspective of those older than you.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com


Dr. Marshall Duke, a psychologist at Emory University found that children who know a lot about their families, especially the ups and downs rather than all good or all bad, tend to do better when they face challenges. Those with the most self- confidence have a strong “inter-generational self” and know they belong to something bigger than themselves. The research was related in a recent New York Times article.

Communicating effectively means more than talking through problems. Talking also means telling a positive personal or family story. When facing challenges they add a new chapter to their story that illustrates them overcoming the difficulty. The stories become traditions and what I might call a “family brand.”

Can you see how this same approach can help organizations thrive, keep their brands alive and strong and connect them to their community of stakeholders?  Please share your thoughts.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com

Are Age and Wisdom Connected?

I received a very interesting article from The Economist sent by my friend Iris Wolinsky, a mediator and arbitrator. I love it and always say we need to challenge our assumptions about age - and all aspects of diversity and behavior.

Here is link to article. Age and wisdom  Older and wiser?

Americans get wiser with age. Japanese are wise from the start

What are your thoughts?   



Not only is the amount of student debt staggering, but also it continues to grow significantly. Increasing 5% from 2009, students graduating in 2010 had an average of $25,250 in student loan debt, as has been reported widely.

As stated in the Y Pulse newsletter  (11/14/11), “Students have been raised to believe that having a college degree improves their chances of getting a job, but graduating in a poor economy, a degree doesn’t guarantee employment. They’re facing a catch-22. What’s more, when they have a hard time finding work, some are going back to graduate school, hoping that biding their time and improving their knowledge will result in a job. But meanwhile, they’re racking up more debt in school. In many cases, they’ll enter the ‘real world’ buried in debt. During the years they would normally be setting up their households right after graduation, they’ll instead be living at home trying to save money, shifting the typical consumer cycle by several years….”

Economists have been weighing in on how this affects the broader economy. And it brings many questions to my mind.

  • Of course, there are some young graduates whose parents were able to pay the education bill and are not weighed down by debt. How are they affected by the debt albatross hanging on their classmates?
  • How do you think the economics of firms would change if education debt/student debt were not a serious problem?

-       Would organizations be able to reduce entry-level salaries and compete on the basis of good and plentiful training offerings?

-       Would new employees be willing to trade higher salaries for more training and less oppressive work time pressures?

-       Would the U.S. be more competitive with other countries?

-       Would corporate social responsibility increase

  • How much are Gen Y/Millennials’ decisions about career choice, amount of education and lifestyle (whether they can afford the one they choose or not) being affected by student debt?

Please think about these questions and comment on this important issue. It deserves a healthy dialogue.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com



My coaching colleague and former serial entrepreneur Craig Jennings posted a wonderful Picasso quote on his weekly Prescriptions for Inspiration:

“ I am always doing that which I cannot do in order that I may learn how to do it.”

---  Pablo Picasso

That’s the attitude consultants who like new challenges have. It’s an attitude anyone in any kind of transition should adopt. New things can be scary if you let them be, but also exciting, exhilarating and very gratifying when accomplished.

We are living in a world and at a time where there are few certainties, and the risk-averse are at a disadvantage. Young people tend not to know better than to try whatever is new and they think they can learn from.

Boomers - Remember the 60’s and 70’s? Some experiments and lessons are painful; some result in a tremendous payoff. With enthusiasm and initiative, if not an intense passion, even if we lack Picasso’s talent as most of us do, doing what you haven’t done before can bring a new career direction, personal growth, a new income stream and a boost to professional identity.

See what hints, help and inspiration you can get from the younger generations, Don’t let pride be an obstacle, and make positive choices. You just may find new energy and that life going forward is more fun. 

Comments positive and to the contrary are welcome. 

Phyllis Weiss Haserot      www.pdcounsel.com




As we celebrate our nation’s founding and freedom and our own personal freedom, I have been reflecting on some of the keywords of our personal and intellectual freedom and what they can mean. Here are a few that can affect our sense of purpose regarding our work and our lives.

  • Too many choices
  • Shifting priorities
  • Blooming creativity
  • Resisting the mundane
  • Losing track of the abundance
  • Too much clutter
  • Too many things started and still unfinished
  • Keeping in touch with others

Freedom requires discipline and accountability – to one’s self as well as to others. Usually accountability to oneself is the hardest.

Do you relate?  What are your personal freedom keywords?

Looking forward to your comments.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot


From Alan Weiss’ Monday Morning Memo 6/27/11

Alan Weiss is no relation of mine, but is definitely in tune with the way I feel about the retirement concept. Here is his Monday Morning Memo 6/27/11. http://www.contrarianconsulting.com

This week's focus point: "Retirement" has no real meaning any more. Most productive people, young and old, continually seek out new ways to express their talents and rejoice in life. To foresee an arbitrary age -- when many are at the height of their powers -- as a time to cease being creative and active is merely a form of conscious decline. Producing value and providing happiness are endeavors that should never be "completed."

© Alan Weiss 2011. All rights reserved

Reprinted with permission.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot    www.pdcounsel.com


Marc Freedman, founder of Civic Ventures’ most recent book, “The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife,” deals with the newly defined phase of life between midlife and old age. He calls it the encore phase, rejecting “young old” and “working retired” labels as unsatisfactory and inaccurate.

My side note: Interestingly, another phase of life has been identified in relatively recent years as well between adolescence and adulthood, but it is not referred to in the book. It is known either as emerging adulthood or enduring adolescence. I mention it because together the two phases illustrate how the lifecycle is stretching out not only in years, but also diversifying, presenting complexities, challenges and opportunities we all need to understand. The big shift is even shiftier than Marc Freedman contemplates.

But back to his focus on the post-midlife shift. Freedman does an excellent job of describing the oxymoronic nature of this stage in great detail: “A World Out of Whack,” as one of the chapters is titled…”individuals are thrown into an identity chasm”… “myth of Boomer reinvention.”  Freedman sees the “reinvention fantasy” as part of the problem. He sees the “obsolescence of much of what’s accepted as hard reality by many economists and demographers of today.”

Currently, social entrepreneur Freedman says,” the transition from midlife to this new encore stage is a do-it-yourself project with little guidance, few role models, and scarce resources.” Imagine the windfall of talent that could result, he says, helping carry us toward a new generation of solutions for growing problems in areas like education, the environment and health care.

Freedman advocates for a new map of life and how to navigate it. Boomers will not deal with their 60s and 70s as generations before, both given their fitness and their mindsets. He is optimistic that this encore stage can be characterized by “purpose, contribution, and commitment, particularly to the well being of future generations.” (I am sure the skeptical Gen Xers and Yers will be glad to see that happen.)

Freedman lays out 10 possibilities for translating opportunity to large-scale fruition. The missing piece is where the funding and institutional fortitude to make it a reality will come from. He is hoping his imaginative and inspirational ideas will attract the attention and resources.

Marc Freedman is not only an important and articulate voice, he is a doer. And with a fortunate alignment of the stars and a great deal of effort, it might happen.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot       www.pdcounsel.com





A study by Brad J. Bushman, Scott J. Moeller and Jennifer Crocker, ”Sweets, Sex, or Self-Esteem?” to be published in the Journal of Personality concluded according to the Wall Street Journal weekend Ideas column that “college students would rather have their self-esteem stroked that eat their favorite food, have sex or drink beer.” The sub-title of the article is “Comparing the Value of Self-Esteem Boosts with Other Pleasant Rewards.”

To gauge the addictive qualities of each pleasure a ratio of “wanting” to “liking” was used. College students said they liked ego stroking, sex and beer more than they wanted them, but the gap between wanting and liking was narrowest for self-esteem.

This is an interesting finding, and maybe not so surprising since the Gen Y/Millennial generation has had more attention focused on them from parents, teachers, coaches and others than any other in history and many of their parents followed psychologists” advice preaching boosting self-esteem. 

The findings of this study raise in my mind a few questions:

  • What about other generations? Is this a phenomenon of Gen Y?
  • Would a similar conclusion apply to Baby Boomers, for example?
  • Does that help to explain why Boomers want to hold their ground in the workplace even when money for retirement is not an issue for them?

Please share your thoughts.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot



Two hot topics among lawyers over 50 at the American Bar Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco August 5-8 were succession planning and anticipating and planning for what comes next for midlifers (defined as age 50-70).  Many Boomers have been putting off planning or even visioning of their next phase. A large percentage (40-60%) want to keep going either as lawyers or in some other capacity after age 65 or 70.

The "Lawyers at Midlife: Planning for and Living the Rest of Your Life" presentation on Sunday morning drew 40 people at 8:30am. The presentation by Mike Long, a former practicing lawyer and for many years now an attorney counselor at the Oregon Attorney Assistance Program in Portland, was a whirlwind tour of the financial, job satisfaction, health/longevity and relationship factors people in midlife should be seriously considering and planning for. The presentation focused on the individual's transition and did not address the institutional (firm or organization) factors of client retention/transitions and knowledge transfer. The audience was engaged, and many admitted they were quite behind in their planning for the inevitable.

Phyllis Weiss Haserot   www.pdcounsel.com

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