Archive for the ‘Retirement’ Category

Phased Retirement – Make Your Case

Tuesday, April 4th, 2017

Many companies and federal agencies offer a way to ease out of the work you love and into the next phase of your life formerly called retirement. A phased retirement strategy offers flexibility. As you approach your retirement age or time in service you can reduce your work hours or work in a different capacity after you take retirement. You can job share, telecommute or do consulting work, to name a few. (I’ve been job-sharing for 4 years).

There are so many reasons to do this and you may need to help others (your boss) what’s in it for them to make these adjustments.

  1. You have a wealth of knowledge about how to get things done.  This does not mean writing down everything you do. But you could mentor several people and show them the ropes.  Mentoring can be a very fulfilling thing.
  2. You are the expert. You know the best practices, what’s been innovative, and have developed customer relationships.  How can you leverage that in new ways? If your creativity is blocked, ask others from diverse perspectives to help you see different combinations ans outcomes.
  3. When there is a problem, you know how to fix it because you know not just how, but why things were built that way. You can provide deeper knowledge and better solutions, while helping others learn.
  4. List the tasks you can delegate in order to work fewer hours.
  5. Do the math to make your case.  Engage your friendly HR rep to determine the cost savings of your phased retirement and productivity losses tied to your retirement. Be sure to include the “market value” of your unique skills and knowledge.
  6.  Keeping older employees does not take away jobs from younger workers. “There’s no evidence to support that increased employment by older people is going to hurt younger people in any way,” said Alicia Munnell, director of the Center for Retirement Research.
  7.  Economists say the macroeconomic view gives a clearer picture. Having older people active and productive actually benefits all age groups, and spurs the creation of more jobs. At the same time, experienced workers are able to mentor and train younger employees, and help them get on a faster track toward achievement and higher-level positions.

So, ease on down your road. No need to retire completely. Just make more time for the things you’ve always wanted to do while you continue to contribute your expertise.


A Peek Into Your Crystal Ball

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

Our Future Selves is an interactive look into the crystal ball of our future.  From the Columbia University Grad School of Journalism, you can see at what your future will look like for the next 50 or so years.  This is an easy to use graphic depiction of ethnicity, health and wealth data to see how we may fare in our part of the world.

Few changes will have as seismic an effect on the United States as the rate at which it’s growing old. The unprecedented proportion of older adults means change in every corner of our lives: our families, our workplaces, our communities. Columbia News21’s Brave Old World site, going live on August 15, looks at our collective future.

So what does this mean to me? It says I really do need to learn Spanish, stop eating those wonderful salty oatmeal cookies, and add some more walking and yoga practice. With further thought, I can see opportunities for working with the people around me in my future based on their demographic needs.

Enter your data and see what’s in store for you.  Thanks, Jason Alcorn, Michael Keller and Emily Liedel, fellows at Columbia University.

More Boomers Starting Own Biz

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Reuter’s Wealth Blogger, Mark Miller, shared the statistics of Entrepreneurs age 55 to 64 now represent a rising share of start-up activity, according to the Kauffman Index of Entrepreneurial Activity, accounting for 23 percent of new entrepreneurs in 2010, up from 14.5 percent in 1996. As this age group experiences the early buyouts, early retirement and layoffs, many are looking to become their own bosses.  Some people have juggled part-time activities for years and now take the steps to expand those interests.

This trend seems to be a combination both internal motivation and business economics.  Boomers are having difficulty finding new jobs because employers need a new skill sets that many don’t have.  Labor cost containments mean lower salaries in many sectors. When a company has to cut costs, the layoff is the jump-start that we need to move from our comfort zone of a stalled job. I know it was the bungee jump for me!  It becomes the opportunity to  following one’s dreams. Having built confidence and skills from previous employment, this transition offers us time and motivation to learn entrepreneurial skills.

Whether you join the ranks of contingent work force, contract your knowledge and skills to an organization, or hang out your shingle in a brand new field, its a powerful feeling to be your own boss. There are plenty of free and low-cost resources to stimulate this critical part of our economy. Start with your local (county) small business association. Participate in local business functions, such as professional organizations and your local chamber of commerce.  Be the Leader you always knew you could be.

Free Resources to Learn/Upgrade a Skill

Monday, April 18th, 2011

No matter what your role in the organization – executive or candidate – many people are finding that they need to learn a new version of a technology, or a greater proficiency in a another language in order to enhance their careers. Using the resources below you don’t have to attend a ‘class’ or reveal that you don’t know how to do something. You can make your work easier,  be more productive and able to take on more interesting assignments! Look under Open Courseware, Free Courses for business, technology, science, liberal arts (languages). This site also includes helpful job search tips. Over 650 free tutorials for IT and other technology. Need to learn Excel or update other MicroSoft tools?  Find links to learn Word, PowerPoint, Access, Project, SharePoint and more. For anyone who wants to improve your technology, literacy and math skills.

I Just Want a Job, “Money and benefits; I don’t care about anything else” Part 6 of 6

Monday, December 6th, 2010

I just need the money and benefits. I don’t care about anything else.

In this series I’ve been addressing some  responses I’ve received from people asking for help in their job search.  Its beyond frustrating for people in all fields and age groups. For too many it isn’t about furthering a career, they just want the money and benefits. This isn’t a bad thing at all.  Many businesses use a “seasonal” employment strategy, for example retail at holidays, swimming pools in the summer, or landing large contracts  to name a few.

When applying and interviewing make sure that both you and the employer understand and set realistic expectations. As soon as they don’t need your services, you’ll be looking for a new job. Employers need people that can deliver the skills and service, are dependable and have good work ethic. They understand and count on people that are not interested in moving up.

To prevent hearing, “Your overqualified” or “You’ll want too much money,” present the skills and experience that qualifies you for the work.  Be up front with the salary range you know is reasonable for the job and indicate your willingness to take it.  Those statements are based on people who left shortly after the company hired and invested in their training.  They don’t want to make another mistake and have to start interviewing all over again. So be honest with yourself and them in terms of how long you’ll be satisfied with this job and salary. Talk about how you will make the efforts to fit in with other workers. Ask questions to fully understand the tasks, responsibilities, work environment and supervisor style so you can make a mutual commitment.

Your next job doesn’t have to be the thing that provides all the meaning in your life.  Balance your work and the emotional energy it may take so that you can enjoy the other aspects of your life.


I Just Want A Job “With a Short Commute” – Part 5 of 6

Monday, November 29th, 2010

I don’t want to commute more than 30 minutes.

This is the fifth of the series that deals with the job hunting obstacles.  A long commute is not attractive for most, but many make it a “bonus” time when they can read or listen to books, catch up of news, do their planning,  or practice their opera arias (if in your own vehicle). So, if a job opportunity is a bit further than you prefer, think about how you might use that bonus time.  Even sharing a ride (carpool, train, bus) can have its bonuses.

Another option is to pursue the work-at-home or telework options that many organizations now have available.  It may not be listed in the job description or the benefits.  You need to first determine if working at home is viable for you and the type of work you want to do.  It takes discipline, a proper work area  and often some tech savvy.

A third option is to search for the opportunities are within that 30-mile geographical radius of your home. Some of this can be done on the web. But it is best done by getting out on the street.  Near where I live are several “industrial” developments – a strip of small storefronts with big warehouses.  Small businesses and regional offices of larger organizations are housed there. Some are manufacturing or distribution, others are some type of IT or contractors to government or other larger businesses.  When you know what is there, you can then do your homework to learn about he organizations and what type of work needs they have. Occasionally, walking in and asking about work opportunities has worked for a few people. Offer the type of skills you have (such as accounting, human resources, project management, assembly, operations, computer and others) to help them think about their needs. Also, ask about what needs they do have, and if different that your first set, perhaps you have options of learning the skills. Or maybe you know someone who has the skills and you can pass on the opportunity for them!

If you work for yourself, you can set your own commute time.  Many people use their administrative skills to support other small businesses – Virtual Assistants are a growing profession. Many small franchises are managed form a home office.  Personal services such as driving, food preparation, child/elder care, cleaning, home repair can be managed within a manageable commute.

What other ideas do you have for working with a short commute?

I just Want a Job, “No One is Hiring” – Part 4 of 6

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

The companies in my area that would hire me have all gone out of business.

While many, many businesses have closed their doors, other doors are opening if you know where and how to look.  Are you still looking for jobs using the same job title you’ve had for years?  Are you only looking for a specific type of work? Is your search limited to a narrow geographic area?

Take a new look at your job requirements:

1) Is your job title outdated? As organizations have had to reinvent and restructure in this recession, many jobs have been combined or tweaked and have new titles.  Do you homework so you don’t sound out of date.  That means finding people who work in the organizations you want to work for, and ask them how things are structured now. Organizations have the basic infrastructure, but often skills and roles are in new marriages.  Many people are able to use their skills and experience in a different industry.  They may call what you do by a different name. And it may be found in a different part of the organization.

2) If you don’t need the the traditional work environment and hours, you’ll find opportunities to work at home, or work in more creative ways.  Are there others nearby that you could form a skilled consortium?

3) What skills could you develop or refresh? Are there things you like to do that you’ve never been paid to do? Think about looking for work that uses the talents that come naturally to you.  If someone isn’t hiring for this talent, this may be the time to explore self-employment. Check out your ideas with the Small Business Administration.

When “no one is hiring” is the time to take a look at what skills and knowledge you can offer that others are willing to trade or pay for your services.  Be Smart. Trade your expertise and time for money.

I Just Want A Job – Part 3 of 6 – Translation, please

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

I have experience and skills – why can’t they see that and just hire me?

Think of yourself as a shoe.  Are you a running shoe, a fashion boot or a rugged sandal?  What size are you? Employers see resumes and candidates and they have to have a way to determine if they are the right “fit” for the organizations.  How often do the shoes you order online fit well if you’ve never worn them before?  Why should an employer pick you off the shelf?  We have to let the employer know why we are the best “fit” for their organization.

The basic need is for us to be able to tell a potential employer why they should hire us.  We need to turn around what we want (“opportunity to use my experience and skills,” salary and benefits, “challenge”) and concentrate on what we can do for them.  Your resume and conversations need to clearly show how your skills, knowledge and experience is a benefit for them.  Don’t make them try to guess.

Organizations, professions and fields have their own internal language for job titles and roles.  We have to translate our accomplishments and expertise into a way that they can easily see what a great asset we will be for them.  Too often opportunities are missed because we weren’t speaking the same language, especially when it comes to job titles and responsibilities. This is a big challenge for folks making military to civilian transitions, private to public sector changes, and across industries. You don’t need to ‘dumb down’ your resume or descriptions, just be ready with examples. There are some helpful websites starting with and Then look at the niche (profession) website job descriptions and begin to match your knowledge and skills with their terms.

If you want them to hire you (buy you) you have to show you are a good fit.

I Just Want a Job! Part 2

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

In this series, I’m tackling some of the  frustrations of job seekers I hear.

“I don’t want to call strangers and ask for a job.”

That’s right. You don’t call strangers. Even effective “cold calling” begins with having something or someone in common with the person you are contacting.  When we hear the name of someone we know and like or respect, it gets our attention in a positive way.  So you’ll get an extra second of someone’s attention if you can say, “Jane Smith, my cousin’s boss, suggested that I contact you.”  They’ll immediately want to know why and perhaps if you’ve actually talked with Jane (which is a darn good idea to get the referral in the first place).

And you don’t ask for a job. Bluntly asking, “Are there any job openings?” puts them in an uncomfortable spot. First, it’s easy for them to say ‘no’ especially if there aren’t any openings in their area.  But they may not be aware of openings in other area of their organizations, or in your field. There is a better way to find out.

Do not email a resume to your friends and say, “Do you know of any jobs?” It’s too easy for them to say “no” or, at best, just forward your resume to the mountain of resumes in HR.

When you have targeted of the type of work you want and your location preferences, its easier to tap people you know with a few easy-to-answer questions. Contact your friends with specific questions that will help you find the people who have hiring authority.   Ask if they know someone who does similar work you do in their company. Ask for a few minutes to ask 2-3 questions about their organization/profession/current issues and to let them know what you offer a potential employer.  Don’t get stuck on out-of-date job titles. Translate what you can do into how it can help the organization.

Translation tips coming up next, in Part 3.

I Just Want a Job! – Part 1 of 6

Friday, November 5th, 2010

I just want a Job, not a &*!# Career!  The desperation is real and, unfortunately, clear. And its getting in a lot of folks’ way of getting that job. With so many people  looking for jobs, employers have more to choose from – basic supply and demand.

Why not just take any job? Because you’ll be job hunting again in a few months (if not weeks) because you hate the job. Or worse, they don’t want or need you any longer.  Either way, that doesn’t help your outlook one bit!

This series covers things I’ve heard from every age – new grad, retiree, those that have been laid off. Here is the first of several job search approaches that are major stumbling blocks:

– I only want to throw my resume at a company and hope it sticks.

Sure, posting your resume on job boards, and even specific-company job boards works for some, and it should be a part of your strategy.  But not your whole strategy. You need a strategy that keeps your eye on a target – not just any job, but THE job that you will want to stick with because you like the work, the people, location, opportunities, challenges and yes, the $ and benefits. This means you still keep your options open and reduce wasting time on jobs for which you are over/under qualified or on activities that don’t get you closer to your goal.  Focus.

Then you create your plan that keeps you actively looking for opportunities. These include not only job board websites, but also finding people who know who else you should talk with and find openings.

Next, talking to people about your job search…the right way and the wrong way.