Rawles: Cautions for seniors seeking to re-enter workplace

By David Rawles
Special to Inside The Pew

As the baby boomers enter into retirement and then come out again to return to work, it is quite clear there is no more work for most of them. That is what I keep hearingDavid Rawles from the boomers and older retirees who attend our job seeker workshops and seminars.

They are wrong! The message I try to convey is that many seniors are getting and holding down good jobs, responsible jobs. And I have learned over the years, even as I approach senior status, that many times age is not really the issue. But I am ahead of myself.

Many older workers need to sell to employers the things that many employers really desire in their employees. Things like mature thinking, responsible behavior, and wisdom are important traits to be flown high on one’s flag pole of accomplishments. Employers will often value an older worker’s experience in problem solving, and the consistent attendance and punctuality which demonstrates one’s ability to fulfill a commitment. Out of a mature employee’s experience they can share the wisdom that only experience can teach.

There are a few caution flags for those seniors who intend to pursue employment once again. For many smaller employers – the non-Fortune 500 employers – hiring managers are often blind to chronological age. It is not about physical age, exactly. It is about one’s ability to behave in spite of one’s physical age. It is about one’s mental age.  Demonstrating vitality, enthusiasm, energy and interest is key to getting hired.

Many older workers are rejected for jobs not because they are old, but because they act like the stereotypical older worker. If one hopes to be seen as a valuable employee, they must position themselves as one who learns like a twenty-something. Show how you are willing to take additional education, or learn new technologies, or venture into new territory.

It is also advisable for the older worker to position themselves as submissive to authority. Many older workers are viewed as know-it-alls, hard to manage, and impossible to lead. They appear arrogant to the younger leaders in an organization. It is this perceived arrogance that stands in the way of many an older candidate trying to land a good job. Telling one’s future boss you know more than they do will not likely land one the job.

David Rawles is devoting his life to helping others achieve significance. After a 31 year corporate career in HR, David founded CareerSolutions, a non-profit devoted to helping people locate, land, and succeed in their careers. He is an author, speaker and radio host. See www.careersolutionsworkshop.org.

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