Based on this article from US News, over the next 20 years, approximately 10,000 people each day will reach age 65, and by 2030, 18 percent of Americans will be age 65 or older. So, as baby boomers near retirement, a LARGE portion of the working population is happily headed towards the exit doors½located here, here and here. Now what?
Since I work in the staffing industry, I try to stay abreast of these changes, and although the trends still show leanings towards this mass exodus, as the job market has picked back up these past 2 years (thank goodness!!), there has been an interesting shift away from the aforementioned "exit doors." In fact, I have seen a notable increase in seasoned professionals who previously retired but who are considering rejoining the workforce. It seems that many of them are seeking to explore new avenues beyond their previous positions, which I highly encourage!
Recently, I got involved in a lengthy conversation with a gentleman seeking to reenter the job market after having retired 3 years ago. As a recruiter, I was on the edge of my seat as I inquired as to what he was looking for in hopes that I could help. His response? "I am looking for a job where I can do something that I will enjoy and do not have to work with young people. Most of these kids don't know what they are doing! Sorry, I know you're young and don't mean this as an insult, but people your age just don't get it."
Um½excuse me? Yes, you heard right. I was excited for an opportunity to assist this man, and he verbally punched me in the gut. Don't get me wrong, I was glad that he thought 30-something was "young" because heaven knows that I've had a complex ever since my dermatologist said that I need Botox, but I digress½
Without further ado, I would like to address the seasoned professionals who still prefer their briefcase over their golf bag.
You have experience that is yours and yours alone, so be proud of what you bring to the table and the years that were spent gaining that knowledge. It is up to you whether you choose to begrudge the newbies being hired or to be a mentor with the opportunity to make a lasting impact. As I was writing this post, I looked up the word "impact," and one of the samples sentences was "The impact of Einstein on modern physics." This is your chance½be the Einstein of your workplace!
For most of my life, my father owned a structural steel company and did things the old fashioned way, which required lots of graph paper and hours of intensive measuring (and re-measuring!) to ensure projects were to scale and nothing was missed. Years ago, after taking an intensive AutoCAD class, he called to tell me about the brilliance of this computer program both for accuracy and time, and it was as though the clouds parted and the angels began to sing! I mention this story as encouragement to never stop learning even if you feel that you have mastered your craft. Technology is moving forward at a blinding speed, so keep your skills sharp!
LEAVE A LEGACY
No matter your age, religion, gender or creed, there is something within all of us that longs to scrawl "I was here" on the pages of history. Do not miss an opportunity to mentor those around you and pave the way for a legacy of excellence. Along your path, there will always be youthful naysayers who do not appreciate the wisdom that can only come with experience, but smile and take a solace in knowing that there was a time when even YOU felt that way.
So, as a seasoned professional, remember that the flavor of your seasoning is up to you. Choose well.
Clearpoint is a staffing agency for jobs in information technology, marketing, creative, and other professionals. We do business by building long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with our employees and clients.