The Baby Boomers and the Traditionalists | Inquirer Business
Ask your career counselor

The Baby Boomers and the Traditionalists

12:03 AM November 20, 2016

2016 marks the 70th anniversary of the Baby Boom. Baby Boomers belong to the demographic group born between 1946 and 1964. They are aged 52 to 70 in 2016.

The phrase “Baby Boom” referred to a noticeable increase in birth rate (2,357,000 in 1950 in the USA) after World War II. This phenomenon was first described as a “boom” in Sylvia Porter’s New York Post column on May 4, 1951, but the word “Baby Boomer” was first used in a 1970 Washington Post article.

During their heydays and up until the technological revolution, the Boomers were the wealthiest and most successful people in the workplace. The Boomers have redefined the traditional values of their parents, the “Traditionalists” who were the founding fathers of many large business empires today. It is said, rightly or wrongly, that the Traditionalists started the family fortune, the Boomers grew and expanded it, and the Generation X squandered it.


Empty nest
Many Boomers today are retired or retiring. Due to medical and scientific miracles, many are still strong, healthy and with great intellect. Their nemesis is idleness or simply doing nothing.


The 2015 movie “The Intern” depicts the Boomers’ dilemma today. Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro) is a 70-year-old widower and retired VP at DEX One. He found retirement to be boring and applied as an intern with a fast-growing e-commerce fashion startup founded by Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway).

The film starts with Ben’s video resumé: “Freud said, ‘Love and work, work and love. That’s all there is.’ Well, I’m retired and my wife is dead. As you can imagine, that’s given me some time on my hand. Retirement? That’s an ongoing relentless effort in creativity. At first, I enjoyed the novelty of it. Sort of felt like I was playing hooky – I used all the miles I’d saved and traveled the globe. The problem was, no matter where I went, as soon as I got home, the nowhere-to-be thing hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized the key to this whole deal was to keep moving. Get up, get out of the house, and go somewhere. Anywhere. Come rain or shine, I’m at my Starbucks by 7:15. Can’t explain it, but it makes me feel part of something. How do I spend the rest of my days? You name it. Golf, books, movies, pinochle, tried yoga, tried to cook, bought some plants, took classes in Mandarin. ‘Xiang xin ho, wushen me doushigou le.’ Translation: ‘Believe me, I’ve tried everything.’ And then, of course, there are the funerals. So many, more than I can imagine. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an unhappy person. Quite the contrary – I just know there’s a hole in my life. And I need to fill it. Soon.”

Today, the Boomers are probably the biggest economic group with the biggest purchasing power. While they are “workaholics”, they are often referred to as the “Empty Nesters” as they feel bad about doing nothing.

The Traditionalists were born before 1946, fought or were children during World War II, and founded some of the business empires existing today. Most women stayed at home, while men worked in the factories or farms. The founding fathers in business were the wealthiest, as they pioneered in many industries. They have traditional values, a “Waste not, Want not” attitude, were patient, conformist and patriotic, and they believe in the nobility of sacrifice for the common good. Today, they are either retired or are titular heads of many business organizations.

Rene Cristobal is one such Filipino traditionalist. He was recently given the Order of Orange-Nassau, and knighted by the King of Holland last month.  This Order was first created by Dutch law on April 4, 1892, when Queen Emma was regent of the Kingdom. This Order is the third Dutch order, after the Military William Order and the Order of the Dutch Lion.

The Order of the Orange-Nassau is awarded to persons for longstanding service to society, the State or the Royal House of Netherlands. In 1994, the Dutch honors system was extensively revised by law, after 36 years of discussion. Since 1996, an honor is only awarded on the basis of personal outstanding merits for society. The emphasis in appointments to the Order of Orange-Nassau is on “the special nature of the merits for others, and granted to people who work unselfishly to solve social problems, benefitting the Netherlands as well.”


Since 1978, Rene worked tirelessly for the welfare and protection of overseas Filipino workers. A prime mover in overseas employment, he is a staunch advocate of the “no placement fee” policy, and has consistently reaped awards from DOLE-POEA as a Hall of Famer. He has also received international recognition in migration, microfinance and social entrepreneurship.

Rene heads several companies dealing with international trade and service contracting. His firm deploys (without collecting recruitment fees) Filipino professionals in Americas and Europe, including the Netherlands. He also chairs a Scholarship Fund accredited by the King Baduouin of Belgium.

The Traditionalists and the Baby Boomers have a great work ethic worthy of emulation. Sir Rene Cristobal exemplifies great attributes of these two generations. With so many things in his plate, he will likely live to be 100 years old. He said, “After all, my doctor tells me I look 99.”

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

(Ernie is the 2013 Executive Director and 1999 President of the People Management Association of the Philippines (PMAP); Chair of the AMCHAM Human Capital Committee; and Co-Chair of ECOP’s TWG on Labor and Social Policy Issues. He is President and CEO of EC Business Solutions and Career Center. Contact him [email protected] or [email protected])

TAGS: DOLE, Generation X, OFW, overseas Filipino workers, POEA, Traditionalists

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.