Terkel begins by describing how he was amazed by the celebrations at his parents’ 25th wedding anniversary. As a teenager, he could not understand what people were happy about, yet his parents, at 55 years, were on the verge of dying. Remembering the celebrations, at 79, he had long passed the age he once considered old and yet he was actively involved in golf, swimming and business. He is surprised at how corporations view that age as old and urge people to retire. He remembers how one would be considered a baby by trying to become a CEO at age 41, the time he joined the corporate jungle. One had to be in the 50s to qualify as CEO. Presently, there are CEOs well below 40 years. He also contrasts how difficult it is for those falling out of jobs today in their 60s to get new employment with the way it was easy for the same age group to be reemployed earlier on. Circles of power are growing leaner with less dominant managers in control. Insecurity among the management is growing, with most of them being fired, retired or driven out of jobs by mergers or closures before they are halfway up the management hierarchy. Computers and younger managers have taken over their jobs.
The laid off managers end up living on their meager savings, which could have been substantial in the previous years. It gets worse when life suddenly changes from the hustle and bustle of running a corporation to the humbled loneliness and boredom of being on your own. The busy days, people seeking opinions, phone calls and incentives disappear. Former high ranking colleagues are too busy for you unless, sarcastically, they can earn from spending time with you. Those still in employment blame the old retirees for exorbitant taxes going towards Medicare.
In conclusion, Terkel sees his generation as a lost one. Although it feels great being a parent and grandparent, their children are a different generation regardless of how close they are to them. He,