Last Friday, I was part of another interview by my friend Beverly Mahone of Boomer Diva Nation. This time I was acting in my capacity as an executive coach who also does some life coaching on the side here and there. Her basic topic was called Men Have Issues Too, and I was the voice of baby boomer men. Click on that link to listen to the interview, which went about an hour.

There were two main questions within the conversation over that hour. One was how could women get baby boomer men to talk to them. The other was what the general mindset of men is. Whenever you get into conversations like that, you have to always remember to make sure everyone knows you're talking about generalities and not specifics. After all, you can say something about a group of anything, and you'll always have at least one that doesn't quite fit what everyone else.

On the first question, I answered that, with baby boomer men, and remember, that figure is for men born between 1946 and 1964, there's absolutely nothing you can do, except probably getting one drunk, to get men to talk if we're not predisposed to doing so. And even getting men drunk doesn't mean what you'll get out of them is what you wanted to talk about. We just weren't brought up that way as a group. When we get together in general, we talk about sports, we talk about women we usually don't know, we talk about movies and television. Some might have special things they talk about such as guns or bowling or computers, but in general we talk about things, not about our emotions.

On the second question of the general mindset of men, I went to some research that I've heard about in a couple of seminars I've been to. There's this pattern of growth between men and women that go in opposite directions, even now. Men tend to start this pattern of upward mobility around the age of 23, and it has a nice trajectory until around the age of 37 or 38, when it starts to flatten out some. By 50, most men have hit their plateau, and either flat line at that point or start going backwards.

Women, on the other hand, show a much different pattern. They're slowly going upward from the age of 18, looking like a flat line, with a slight bump in the upper 20's. However, once they get around 37 or 38, they suddenly start showing upward growth. By the age of 47, they've usually caught men, and by 50 they've passed men, as they're still going up until around age 56 or 57.

This isn't a measure of how much money either party makes, as men overall still make more money than women do. It's about the trajectory of growth. Women start out slower because of childbirth. Many stay home, or have jobs that don't pay well so they can take time off to be with the kids. In their mid to upper 30's, the kids are older or have graduated high school, and women are ready to take their shot at working better jobs, moving into management and more responsibilities, and even starting careers and businesses of their own.

Anyway, back to men. If suddenly you're looking at your life and asking "is this it," you will either become stagnant or start going backwards. Men need to continually have this feeling of growing, and sometimes, they get it into their minds that they've already gone as far as they can. And they might be right. I actually had that feeling around 39, when I realized that without an advanced degree in a field I didn't want, if I stayed where I was that I was pretty much done, except for the occasional raise. There was no position I was qualified for to keep advancing; in health care, there is no ladder for moving above position without the proper degree, no matter how skilled you are.

It also helps to explain why men have a harder problem with this concept I wrote about and talked about back in February about reinventing yourself. It's hard to think about changing while you're thinking about your business life pretty much being over. I've talked to many men saying that, in a tough economy, there's nothing wrong with trying to think about a skill or background they have and trying to make some money on their own. For most men, even those out of work, it's just not something they can conceive of doing, especially after all those years of working for someone else. Women much more easily embrace the concept, and are more willing to give it a shot, even if it doesn't work out.

If you'd like to share, what are your thoughts on baby boomer men? If you're one, I'd love to hear from you. And I hope you listen to the interview also.