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The Forum > Article Comments > Retirement is so last century > Comments

Retirement is so last century : Comments

By Paul McKeon, published 8/9/2008

'Retirement' suggests the end of one's productive life and a time for slowing down.

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Good on you Paul. Right on. Yes, everyone from Jung to contemporary life cycle theorists says the 50's are when the boomers hit their straps. They're more stable, the mid life crisis is over or they've gone to live in Nimbin and are effectively out of the way.

There was a recent post on age and productivity I think. Yours is interesting because you highlight the fact that psychologically, age is not necessarily a determinant of productivity. Also, one thing I've found is that productivity is only one indice or measure. Older workers, work intelligently. By that I mean they know the ropes, the tricks of the trade. They are work saavy - not lazy - plus they'll stick at a task and get it done.

Oh, yes, husbands hanging around the house asking 'what do I do now?' Heaven help us.
Posted by Cheryl, Monday, 8 September 2008 10:30:15 AM
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Paul,
As a follow on to your article I would suggest from my own experience that a lifestyle/career change in your mid to late fifties is a good move.
Take on something you want to do, it may mean a step backwards in dollar terms but you will in all probability derive far more pleasure from ones final years at work as compared to the previous umpteen years of drudge.
It is a bit of a swallow but the shift from heavy harness to light traces makes for a far more pleasant life. You may even get to live a bit longer as well.
Shaggy Dog
Posted by Shaggy Dog, Monday, 8 September 2008 12:22:39 PM
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Here's the problem.

>>Until fairly recently, it would have been difficult for many over 50s to find paid employment<<

Clue stick: it is well-nigh impossible for an over-50s professional manager to get a job at all.

>>corporate Australia seemed wedded to the concept that people over 50 were "past it".<<

Present tense please. And there's no "seem" about it. Should read: "Australia is wedded to the concept etc...."

>>Now, the shortage of labour and the realisation that older workers offered many advantages is starting to provide more options to mature worker<<

Pure fantasy.

I have attended a number of human resource seminars where this little canard is produced, nodded sagely over, and buffed up as the latest gem of human resource wisdom.

The only problem is that those self-same human resource people go back to their desks, muttering "not on my watch, baby".

Ah, there they are now...

>>...but there is still a way to go with the 30-something Human Relations Managers.<<

Yep. They try their hardest to avoid even interviewing you. When they do, their questions are perfunctory - they are not actually interested in experience, if they can get youth instead.

And their reason for refusal?

They're not allowed to say "you're to old", so they tell you "you would have difficulty fitting into our culture".

A pox on all their houses.
Posted by Pericles, Monday, 8 September 2008 12:28:07 PM
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Pericles,

You and I often agree on things, however on this topic we'll have to agree to disagree.

I work in HR and move around regularly and I've been to many employers that have specific policies for hiring and retention of '+50s'. I won't say that that exists everywhere, and I won't say that it's always been like that, but it certainly exists today.

I should also point while the article talks about people over 50 wanting to slow down, not all of the positions that these employers offer require 'slowing down'
Posted by BN, Monday, 8 September 2008 1:03:27 PM
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A good article. Too often we categorize people by what we think they are capable of achieving based on their age.

Making productive time of newly found leisure can be a difficult adjustment for many retirees. In my experience on speaking with older workers the issues that come up regularly are:

1. The jobs that are open to them are at a much reduced level of responsibility and the roles that are 'open' to older workers are only those in sectors where it is difficult to find skilled and/or stable labour;

2. Previous experience working at a higher level is almost ignored and overlooked as though it does not count because the 'experience might be too old'and thus deemed irrelevant (or similar comments); and

3. The incomes offered are lower almost as if to suggest the older worker should be thankful to be offered a job at all (similar to other part time workers).

There is also the fact that very experienced older people might have to contend with a younger more inexperienced manager which in itself may create tensions or problems depending on the people skills of the manager.

Life change (retirement) could include other activities other than paid work but the author is right to suggest that we tend to overemphasise the financial aspect of the future rather than the lifestyle aspects.
Posted by pelican, Monday, 8 September 2008 8:00:57 PM
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I agree with Pericles, there are some purely fanicful comments in this article which Pericles has done a good job of pointing out.

Paul Mckeon Ė ďA reasonably fit retiree can expect to live for another 30years or so.

That needs to be corrected to the more realistic statement- that a PERCENTAGE of reasonably fit retirees MAY live for another 20 or 30years.

There are no gaurantees and heaps of people are dying every day in their 50ís 60ís and 70ís. As Iíve said before, the statistic of 80years is a maximum, not an average.
I have heard the correct average stated, as around 73years, with people dying either side of this average.

People who thought they were fit, drop dead or become very ill all the time. They usually say I thought I was bullet proof.
Posted by sharkfin, Monday, 8 September 2008 11:14:44 PM
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