Posts Tagged ‘Retirement’

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.


Where the Jobs are for Mature Workers

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

With generous support from the MetLife Foundation, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has worked with seven regions across to country to identify priority industries, examine the job and career opportunities in those industries, and highlight the opportunities that are most appropriate for mature workers. Based on a U.S. Department of Labor supported a three-year Aging Worker Initiative (AWI) between 2009 and 2012. a five-part series of papers have been generated: Tapping Mature Talent: Policies for a 21st Century Workforce.

 “…mature workers have very defined “soft skills”, i.e. work ethic, workplace appropriateness, that might be lacking with the younger generations. Strong customer service skills that mature workers who’ve been in the workforce for several years have developed allowed for an easy transition into the identified logistics positions where providing high levels of client and customer service is critical to the individual companies’ success.”

Here are a few examples:

Healthcare: Patient Liaison Representative  – This position’s duties include helping provide guidance to new patients, helping with scheduling patients, collecting vital insurance and other information from patients, and helping to guide patients through the medical processes they require.

Energy: Purchaser/Buyer – This position requires an employee to purchase machinery, equipment, and other parts that are necessary for a manufacturing or other unit. The main skills that are required for this include softer skills such as critical thinking, decision making, negotiation, and problem-solving.

Information Technology: Sales Positions  – There are a variety of sales positions in this sector and these are seen as mature worker appropriate because they can provide an easy transition from another sector such as pharmaceuticals or engineering and do not require much additional training. The most important requirements for a good salesperson are strong work ethic, a customer service personality, and the ability to take the initiative.

Logistics: Pricing Analyst  – A pricing analyst develops research and makes recommendations on pricing for products and services by looking at market variables, conducting financial analyses, and helping to build revenue models. Because there is no defined certification or degree for this position, many times mature workers with experience in either the logistics or marketing and finance fields can transition to this position based on their previous experience. This position is also a good fit for someone with a military background as there can be strong overlap between processes and technical information in this position and the military logistics operations. Soft skills such as work ethic, problem solving, and critical thinking are desired for this position and employers note that a customer service background and the willingness to learn are more important than previous experience in the field.

Engineering: Environmental Engineer Technician -This job requires strong project management skills and much of the work in this position is overseen by an engineer or environmental scientist.

Lots of addition information at:

What other jobs are you finding that appeal to mature workers?

New Course for Career Professionals Working with Mature Job Seekers

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Marvin Adams and I have teamed up to create a professional development course for career professionals, “Winning Strategies for the Mature Job Seeker,” at CEUOnestop.  This self-paced, online course looks at the unique issues that older clients face as more and more people are looking for work. Career professionals will find information, resources and links to websites that provide insight and tips for dealing with the perceptions, myths and realities of being over 50 and looking for work today. ( 4 CEUs)

Many people feel that age is just a state of mind, so there really aren’t any new challenges for the older job seeker.  And Age discrimination is illegal. So what’s the problem?  For most people, of any age, a well-defined job search strategy is the key to finding a great job.  Yet, people who have lost jobs after 20+ years or working are quite lost when it comes to present-day job search tools and strategies.  Fold in the assumptions and biases that both older and younger workers hold about people nearing retirement and you have a recipe for conflict and angst.

Career professionals can look at these assumptions and the research that provides facts and data to create their own strategies for coaching older clients.  Remembering that “perceptions are real,” too many people operate on their own limited knowledge, experience or relationships with older people.  Several reputable organizations have published research dispelling assumptions about low energy, poor health, technology averse or out-of-date skills, to name a few. We can help our clients leverage the benefits of a long work experience by reframing them in terms that meet employer’s needs today.  We can probe for the transferable skills of unpaid activities that employers now crave.  We can coach them to counter age discriminatory beliefs by developing examples of their work ethic, dependability, problem-solving and their results-oriented focus. Through understanding this generation cohorts’ resiliency, we can help them overcome self-limiting beliefs, create tenacious job seeking strategies and become valuable assets of the workforce.                    

21st Century Skills for Boomers

Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Employers are managing costs by hiring people as contingent, temporary or project-based work. So they look to people who have both a breadth and depth of skills.

Boomers bring judgment and knowledge of how to get things done…especially when the computers are down.  But what Boomers may not have is the skills to be the most attractive contingent, or contract worker, to the employer. Much like being self-employed, the contingent candidate must have:

1) Excellent Customer Service Mindset and Skills.  As a contingent worker, your employer is your customer, as well as any of the internal functions and the service/product buying customers.  This comes through in how you respond, the initiative you take and how you resolve (or prevent) problems.

2) Contracting Savvy.  This is the business end of a good working relationship.  One key is to make explicit the expectations and boundaries without making demands.  Effective and good spirited negotiating and flexibility will help get the relationship off to a good start.  Determine who will be handling taxes (1099 or W-2?) and what company-provided perks are available to you.  Often they are very different than what employees have come to expect. ( Don’t assume you are invited to office social functions.)  It is up to you to have the required insurances and licenses.  Your state SBA or Tax/License offices can assist.

3) Courageous Communication. You must speak up to effectively provide feedback on meeting the expectations of your working relationship. Conversely, you must willingly receive feedback, no matter how badly it may be delivered, i.e., complaints, sarcasm, etc. Ask questions to clarify, not defend, then make the necessary corrections to stop, change, or start doing what’s needed from your Customer.

4) Time Management.  This is not only showing up on time and meeting deadlines, but also availability for handling the unexpected.  If you are juggling more than one project, it is ensuring that you’ve budgeted enough time that they don’t encroach on each other.

5) Integrity and Honesty. You are only as employable as your Customer trusts you.  Don’t skimp, take short cuts or do anything your employer can construe as unethical.  Be sure you know the workplace rules and policies. Then rise above the minimum expectation.

These things apply to many of the professions and 21st Labor needs. Whether you’re looking at the “hot” fields of  Health Care, Energy, Infra-Structure, Manufacturing, IT or Agriculture, boosting these skills can help you create and develop a stellar reputation.

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.

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.

ISO:Purple Squirrel – Resume Breadth & Depth

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Does your resume broadcast breadth or depth of your skills and and experience.  Your years of work experience – do you highlight doing the same thing for a long time (stamina and perseverance) or illustrate being able to use your skills and knowledge in a variety of situations and settings?  Employers read your work history to see your progression of responsibilities, often by promotions. They are looking for your depth of knowledge and experience in a particular area or competency. Yet, you may have spent years in one role, but had many opportunities to broaden your capabilities by working across functional areas of your company, working on projects, taking on additional responsibilities, solving problems and accomplishing things beyond what is usually considered part of your job title.  Does your resume easily show that?

HR specialists say employers who increasingly need multi-skilled employees aren’t willing to settle for less. They’d rather wait and hold jobs vacant. They even have a nickname for the highly sought but elusive job candidate whose skills and experiences precisely match an employer’s needs: the “purple squirrel.” “There are lots of requests for purple squirrels nowadays,” said Joe Yesulaitis, chief executive of Aavalar Consulting, an IT staffing firm.

Many companies have combined roles and responsibilities during the recession.  They have streamlined processes and are now looking for people to be able to do a variety of tasks and handle a wider assortment of responsibilities.  These include both managing your own work tasks and often supporting or managing people or processes.  Here are some examples:

+Everyone is a customer service specialist – whether for paying customers, or those within your company that require your work products/service.

+We must have a minimum level of computer and information processing capabilities.

+You must be able to be both an entrepreneur (finding cost savings or revenue opportunities even within your own area) and a team player (collaborating, not being the hero).

Having a combination of deep knowledge of a process or field of expertise and the ability to augment and distribute it along with effective communication and relationships building abilities helps you be the elusive “purple squirrel.”

Rethinking Retirement – Boomers and GenX

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

Where do you fit into the workforce? Today’s organizations are facing challenges like never before with our current demographics. Check out this article for some interesting thoughts for both managing staff as well as your own career.

What do Employers Look for in Hiring Boomers?

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

Employers must hire people that can advance the organization’s mission, strategic goals and contribute to the team and well-being of the organization. Some hire for a good attitude and offer training on the specifics (customer service jobs are prime example). Candidates must be well-versed in explaining how both their transferable skills and industry or professional skills are applicable to the job or organization.  Research the organization, talk to people who work there via many of the online and networking resources.  Employers want people who have taken the effort to match themselves with as much public information as possible.

Employers want people who can become productive as quickly as possible. This means there are skills that are now ‘basic’ that were specialized just 5-10 years ago.  Of course these include computer skills. Check your profession for  current trends,  issues, and leading thinkers/writers to see if there is an area you need to update.  Attend professional association meetings to learn, discuss, and share resources as well as let people know you are looking for employment.

Employers want people who have, can develop or share talents that will enhance the organization. Many organizations have established Competencies that distinguish their talent from the competition.  Most professional associations have competencies or standards.  Many job descriptions and interview questions are based on these competencies as well as the specific job needs.  Candidates can prepare responses to include examples of how they have demonstrated these competencies. A baseline set of competencies can be found at OPM for both staff and leadership levels.

Employers want people they can depend on to reap the investment of hiring and training. Most are not looking for 20-year commitments. Many jobs take significant time to learn the nuances of the work, the customer and the organization to be most effective performers. Boomers need to know the type of commitment they are willing to make and how they can continue to contribute if health issues arise. This is true for any age candidate.

Boomers may be able to take advantage of others changing jobs as the economy picks up. Use your non-traditional candidacy to your advantage. Be ready to state the specific positive attributes your offer and how it can be an advantage to the employers.

Thinking of Retirement?

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Is retirement an option for you? Are you facing a decision due to mandatory or an early retirement offer from your employer? Have you reached that milestone point in terms of tenure or age?

“Retirement” is really a word only used in financial terms now – you are eligible by either age or time in your job/profession.   Whenever people adamantly say, I’m retired, I don’t do anything.”  I generally find they are doing the things they always wanted to do. But because they aren’t getting paid for it, they call it “nothing.”

Most people don’t think this is a tough question.  They are enthusiastically counting the days and minutes to the moment they can walk out the door the last time. For others of us, we are absorbed with our work. It has become who we are both as a person and as a professional and what we want to do with our days. Leaving the job would be like cutting off oxygen. “I really like what I do and can’t imagine doing anything else.” We have become comfortable with the structure, people and challenges the work setting provides.  We don’t know what we would do without these.

Many people begin “encore” careers, or develop creative interests through writing, painting, music, etc., or generously volunteer to help others. Starting a new business after age 60 is common.

Many organizations are offering more flexibility to prevent the brain drain that the boomers are believed to be creating.  Reduced hours, part-time status or contracting back to the company for a project or for mentoring others are common.