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Senior Citizen Seeking Employment?

December 26th, 2008

It may not be on the front pages of the papers just now, but it’s a hard reality that the average retirement age in the United States has been creeping higher and higher, to the point where it’s now closer to 67 than 65 – long past the days of summer job searches, and into the phase of life when college savings plans are set up for grandchildren, not children.

Whether you’re exactly 65, or a bit older or younger, there are many reasons to consider remaining in – or rejoining – the workplace:

  • Company loyalty. Studies have shown that older workers feel stronger connections to their companies they work for, and genuinely enjoy interacting with both customers and colleagues, but hearsay says that customers also appreciate dealing with mature employees.
  • Having a job keeps you connected to the world, and gives you motivation. In the words of Kathi Brown, a knowledge-management specialist with AARP, going to work gives you, “…a reason to get out of bed in the morning.”
  • Finances. Staying in the workforce certainly keeps money flowing, whether you need the cash to live or just want extra cash to spoil your spouse, take trips, or help a child pay off their direct student loans.
  • Connection. By keeping a job, you stay connected to the goings-on in your community.

With all the benefits of keeping or finding a job as a mature adult, there are still challenges that must be faced:

  • Many employers are resistant to flexible scheduling or job-sharing – two strategies that are ideal for older workers.
  • Retail can be physically taxing, for those who aren’t accustomed to being on their feet for long periods of time.
  • Age discrimination is still a problem – there’s a very low percentage of workers aged 65 and over who have been in their current job for less than two years.

If you are a person of a certain age, and looking for work, what can you do? There are several options. If money isn’t an issue, and you just want to get out of the house and keep your mind moving, consider volunteering at a library or museum, if money is an object, there are job-search sites that offer great help to people of all ages, from the ability to post resumes, to managing the contacts you already have and helping you build broader networks – it’s never too late to expand your circles, after all.

As well, organizations like AARP offer special programs for mature adults seeking career changes. One such program is their Senior Community Service Employment Program, which works with staffing services to place adjunct faculty and substitute teachers in much of the United States, and they also have a program in partnership with Home Depot, which values the experience older workers can bring.

Finding a new job is more difficult when you’re at or over the traditional retirement age, but not impossible if you take advantage of the services that exist to help.

This is a guest post by Jon Davidson.

2 Comments »

2 responses to “Senior Citizen Seeking Employment?”

  1. Robin says:

    This is useful advice if you are over 60 and want to work. However, my contention is that we should all endeavour to retire from the paid, full-time workforce as soon as we can.

    My view of freedom is being able to spend my days doing what I want, not rushing off to work five or more days per week to make someone else wealthy.

    I ended my full time work career at 58 but was offered an overseas job that was such a great opportunity, I went overseas for three years. Now 61, I’m back home in Central Australia doing my own thing.

    I have so many interesting things (and some house maintenance tasks) to do that I’m almost too busy to work. But because I like to keep my brain going, I work from home on several Internet businesses that I set up specifically for that purpose.

    Being my own boss, I work when and if I want and fit work in to suit my other activities instead of fitting my other activities in to suit work.

    My advice to anyone is to escape from your employer as soon as possible and live the life you have always dreamed of befor the Grim Reaper takes you to your next destination … if there is one.

    Happy New Year.

    Robin
    http://www.e1jobs-blog.com

  2. Jim says:

    When I retired 9 years ago I started a handyman business that kept me pretty busy for a couple years. Then I saw the commercial with Jim Garner on reverse mortgages, so I ended up getting one and was able to give up the handyman work. A year later I was approached by a mortgage broker doing reverse mortgages and now for the last 3 years I have been helping other seniors access this great program for seniors who need extra money. I am my own boss and only help seniors who need help.