We golf. We dance. We travel exotic lands.
Retirement is just one big, happy vacation, where the air is sweet, the water fresh, and the money and sunset everlasting.
That’s the image marketers love to sell.
And you can bet your Rudy Vallee megaphone that you’ll never see an ad for Lipitor, AARP, or a retirement community picturing a grim, real-life, moth-eaten, desk-bound working coot. Yet, millions of us over the age of 65 trudge off to work daily.
Some, like my friend, Larry, wouldn’t have it any other way. “What else am I going to do?” he asks. Indeed, he has a secure position in a job he loves. He’ll probably be there till he croaks.
But for many others of our certain age and uncertain economy, bagging groceries or asking, “Do you want fries with that?” seems the only career opportunities available.
For many of us, it appears that F. Scott was right when he said, “There are no second acts in American lives.”
It’s my experience – and that of readers of Suddenly Senior – that most employers would rather hire a callow teenager than an experienced senior who’s worked hard all his life.
No doubt, it’s part psychological: Who wants to hire Mom? Or Dad? Or worse, Grandpa? And part is US law. The best way to avoid an age discrimination suit is to avoid hiring aged people in the first place.
That may be changing.
Some employers are learning that today’s seniors work hard and steady, with little to no absenteeism. Indeed, we have a stronger work ethic than any other age group.
There are also some jobs only older folks can do. The reinvigoration of an ancient, currently untaught computer language called COBOL has put thousands of over-the-hill computer coders back to work. Cruise lines hire gray-hairs as dance and dinner escorts for widows traveling alone.
Sagacity, wit, and stability occasionally trump vitality and exuberance.
Still, of all the reader mail I’ve received recently, next to Medicare Part D, the biggest gripe among seniors is the lack of decent employment opportunities, especially for those aged 50 to 65. This is when employer health insurance rates skyrocket, trumping even genius old-timers.
I recommend that readers use the Internet to find work. If they don’t have a computer, their public library certainly does.
At Suddenly Senior’s ever-renewing “222 Best Senior Sites” there are at least 40 links to good, living-wage jobs for seniors. Below are a few that may help get you started toward a job like my friend Larry’s.
Whatever happens, let cunning and experience win out over youth and exuberance be your mantra.
Because old and poor just don’t cut it.
AARP, with its powerful base of 37-million seniors, often shrivels to wimp size when it comes to fighting for prescription drug benefits and other important senior issues. But for finding work, this site is where every senior should begin. There are no jobs here, but there is help with everything from writing a new resume to turning your passion into a business. Good and current discussion board and a useful links page, too. (In fact, all sites mentioned have valuable links.)
This is the oldest government employment, training, and community service program for disadvantaged (low- or no-income) mature Americans. Experience Works claims that over the last three decades, nearly half a million older workers have participated in, and been helped by, this program.
Senior Job Bank
Here’s an easy, effective and free method to find occasional, part-time, flexible, temporary and even full-time jobs. Links to employment by state and county.
Combine Work and Play
- Want to RV the country but don’t quite have the budget? Go to http://www.workamper.com/
- Long to sail the world? Work a cruise ship casino or as a tour guide? Go to http://www.cruisejobfinder.com/
- Couples are also needed for Caribbean resorts, small hotels, and marinas. Go to http://www.tropicjobs.com/.
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