SENIORS IN THE WORK PLACE
This article is the second of the two articles I referenced in my previous Blog on entrepreneurs in the work-place and speaks directly to SENIORS and again comes from a timely WSJ article on Friday 12/13/18, titled “What seniors face in the job market” to which I will add my thoughts, below.
It is one thing to be 60-ish and have the respect of your contemporaries and acknowledged would-be employers, which if smart, would hire you in a heartbeat and completely ignore you when you hit seventy and/or the eighties and have lost the recognition and even the admission that you still may have the right stuff to compete in the career in which you may have been immersed your entire life, the latter of which would make you an expert.
In addition to hiring handicap of age, you as a senior will probably experience, at least in the first round of the interview, an additional obstacle of being interviewed by an individual, young enough to be your grandson or daughter, we now know as a Millennials, so kiss your-50-60 years of experience and/or “body of work” goodbye, relegating you to accept positions far-below your skill level.
So sad, that for most of us we may well fall into the following categories, again from the same WSJ article:
Nearly eight million older Americans are out-of-work or stuck in low-quality jobs; not the least of which are such jobs as grocery clerks/baggers, long days at a retail business and the following:
• Delivery workers & truck drivers 4.9%
• Janitors and other cleaning functions 3.8%
• Ground and maintenance workers 3.2%
• Retail Sales Persons 3.0%
• Farmers and ranchers2.8%
Even now, I cringe when I am at a grocery store and see some bright looking guy or women bagging my groceries or checking me out at a clothing store et al. I invariably wonder what happened in their lives that reduced them down to their present job? How much knowledge is lost that is in the heads of these people from which we could still learn, much like history is lost to the young of which I was once apart and as guilty as those millennials I now detest.
I am 82 and very use to the finer things in life and formed a consulting firm 25 years ago after my “so-called” career track in finance and retired from my last venture as a Chairmen and CEO of a bank that I purchased along with an investment group when I was a young 57 years-old.
Yes, I am fortunate enough and blessed with a sound mind filled with 60 years of adult life experiences, much of which relates to the world of finance and have been able to use that experience in my present role as a business consultant advising on business strategies and debt/bridge financing.
So why do I still work? The answer is complicated, beginning with the simple fact, I need the cash to augment my expensive lifestyle, to which I have become accustomed, since my investments, Social Security and savings are not enough to match the buying power of the erosion of the dollar called inflation, which is essentially econ 101.
This situation, which is essentially not too different than what most people face as upper or middle-middle class folks living in this great country of ours, face daily; oh yes. We could reduce our life style there by reducing our need for more cash and simply retire, living on what I referenced above, but why do that when I am having more fun and, in many ways, giving back as I perceive that my knowledge and experience is worth much more than what I charge for such services that I provide, even pro-bono in many cases.
OK, “back to the future.” My message to all those who are working in jobs less that equal to your knowledge is to give thought, no matter what your age, is to take your life experience and leverage it by writing a book, starting a consulting firm, buying an existing business or even starting your own business, whether you are a former carpenter or banker there is always a need for your skill or your experience at the advisory level or even in the field, especially if you are healthy and have the support of your spouse.
I say this not to be arrogant since even now some, no-many, of my clients and business associates are in their late sixties and seventies-even our new Speaker of The House, who is seventy- eight, just got a new job, as our 72 year-old president, Donald Trump did two years ago and still in-the-mix, as well as our viable presidential candidate Bernie Sanders is still going strong. I even have a client, who is in her seventies and as sharp as ever, running her own gourmet chocolate business for the last eighteen years and two partners, who are in their early seventies.
So, I am going to try to make a case, that as we live longer, thanks to modern medicine, we elders are not to be overlooked whether we can eliminate a task in the field saving big dollars or sitting at our desk creating the next TECH invention or any kind of inventions, we are not to be dismissed but acknowledged!
Thanks for reading this article as I was fuming with the WSJ article portraying our seniors, including me, as “has-beens” on the contrary, we are still here to talk the talk, walk the walk and if necessary, fight the fight!
FYI: Thank God, some of our seniors are OK with being part of the 17.7% of the aged work-force but I hope this article will inspire more of us to “hang-in-there” and stay !