Many, if not most, of our clients are people planning ahead for their retirement years. Yet, retirement in the 21st century is a very different creature than what was traditionally thought of. Most retirees are people still healthy and active, able to contribute and participate in meaningful activities, as an employee, volunteer, or just for fun.
Marathon Financial Advisors is pleased to sponsor Leslie Rose McDonald, seasoned career transition coach and owner of Pathfinders CTS in Liverpool, NY, who will provide a thought provoking session at the brand new Dewitt Community Library to examine the changing nature of retirement and its impact on individuals and employees. I hope you’ll join us at this informative event. Learn More Here.
A 58 year woman recently wrote that she took an early retirement from a management position with a generous financial package from her company. After two years of competing with younger candidates she got discouraged and took a non-management position in the hopes of “proving herself” back into management.
From her perspective, it seemed that younger, less experienced candidates outmaneuvered her for the positions, but seemed willing to use her suggestions and experience to their advantage. She is frustrated by what appears to be age discrimination, and has asked for some strategies as to how she can contribute her strong sense of commitment and good experience once again. Here are some ideas that might enhance the probability of reaching this goal.
1. Learn the essential new technologies as quickly as you can! The letter that was sent to me was written by hand which might suggest that the writer is not proficient with current technology. I am convinced that this lack of skill is the key barrier, not age itself. The information computing age has come upon us so quickly that if you don’t jump on board NOW you will be stranded in the sea of unemployment or be reduced to low paying service jobs.
Many feel that technology knowledge is something they can get training on once they get their new job. This is not true, from the employer’s perspective. Employers now want someone to come into their new job and “hit the ground running” by understanding and utilizing technology / computers in their daily work. This will not change.
In fact, the intense competitiveness of business will continue to accelerate the value of techno- proficiency.
2. Revamp your resume to reflect the needs of today’s employer. The letter from the early retiree indicated that she had re-done the resume to delete school graduation dates, etc., but this is not enough. The resume needs to reflect accomplishments and contributions, with as much quantitative and qualitative information as possible.
The specific knowledge you offered to your former employer may have significantly less value to your next employer. Where possible, focus on transferrable skills and accomplishments that would be universally valuable to most employers. For instance: innovation, cost savings, training /developing of co-workers, improving customer responsiveness, etc. These are relevant “hot buttons” that all employers are looking for in their contemporary workforce.
3. Realize that in today’s business environment, loyalty is no longer enough. This sounds harsh, but it is true. Employers today value results over loyalty. They have an immense pressure to accomplish more, faster and better before the competition does. The motto in the new organizations is “Change or die.”
Knowing this perspective, please understand that part of the “Change or die” culture is that anyone is potentially expendable if their skill sets are not contributing to the company’s competitive advantage. This is radically different from the value many of us were raised with, that loyalty was a cherished trait. It certainly is in personal relationships, but no longer in the business setting.
4. Develop your ability to self-promote. If you don’t learn how to make yourself stand out from the crowd, those who know how will continue to get the desirable jobs. Again, this is very different than the way many were raised to be humble and “let your good work speak for you.”
Be sure that you are participating in relevant professional organizations, meeting new people, and making yourself known. Networking is not a new concept, but one which is now more essential than ever, particularly where job competition is tight.
5. Be flexible in your salary requirements. In the case of early retirement, if you are earning income from pension or other investment resources, you can probably afford to make less money than you did in your former management job.
In your correspondence and phone calls with the potential employer, tell them up front that because you have other financial resources, (and perhaps less obligation and debt than others) that you can be flexible not to make your former level of pay, and can offer yourself as the candidate who might be the best value for their salary budget. This is a way that your age and life circumstances can work FOR you instead of against you.