When it comes to seniors and employment, everyone’s most coveted word is one that starts with “Re…” But with uncertain economic times and plenty of people still trying to recover from the financial crash of 2008/2009, there’s another “Re” word making its ways into the vernacular of many seniors – “Reemployment”.
Reemployment means exactly what it sounds like; finding another job or several jobs after you’ve entered retirement or been unemployed. A new study by the American Association of Retired People (AARP) gives not surprising results that the pathway back to employment after one of these conditions has been met can be difficult for older workers, but shouldn’t be considered as a reason to stop looking.
Older adults start looking for work as they approach retirement age or have already reached it for a number of reasons. For some, it is from necessity, either because savings for retirement were affected by crashes like those of 2008 and 2009, or because expected social security benefits are not matching up with the reality of the payout as that government entity struggles to accommodate a population in which people are living longer and longer, and a massive amount of baby boomers are now hitting the age where they become eligible for partial or full benefits.
For other seniors, the reason is a lot more simple and practical – they work because they want to; whether it’s because they like being busy, they are actively interested in the field they work in, or simply for some extra money past their current living expenses, a career later in life can be just as fulfilling and rewarding as the one you had in your earlier years.
The question then becomes, how does an older work get back into the job market. Clearly most companies appreciate experience, but they also have to counter-balance that with affordability. On the AARP survey, only 1 in 3 of the 2,155 people aged 45 to 64, say they make more money at their new job than at their old one. The survey sample largely turned to the Internet for help securing a new location, with 57% visiting online job boards and 21% looking via social media.
If you’re looking to get back into the job market, be it as a full-time or part-time employee, here are some tips and tricks that could make the transition smoother and have you smiling every day as you head back to work.
1) Find a job that you like. Easier said than done, right? While it might not be the perfect position every time, you at least need to find something that plays to your strengths and the things that scratch your itch when it comes to how you perform best. Fortunately, your experience will help guide you to know whether or not a position is right for you. If you love meeting new people and hearing their stories, then sales and marketing might be the turn for you. If you prefer to be left alone to do your own thing, be it with numbers, information, or both, something like analysis or technical writing might be more your speed.
2) Be honest about your health. If you were a car mechanic in your 20s, 30s, and 40s, that doesn’t mean that you can still slide under a Subaru and change the oil in 15 minutes now that you’re 70! Even if your new position involves nothing more than sitting at a desk eight hours a day with occasional trips to the vending machines and coffee pot, best to get a full physical from your doctor beforehand, and let him or her know what your new position will entail. Stretching exercises and dietary supplements might be a smart idea to keep your body limber and strong. Nutrition is key to any successful worker, which is why we offer monthly classes from a trained nutritionist at our Regency Pointe senior living community in Rainbow City, AL.
3) There’s nothing wrong with part-time work. Some hours and some money are always better than no hours and no money. Part-time or temporary/seasonal positions should be viewed as a tryout for both you and your employer. If it’s been a while since you’ve worked, it gives you the opportunity to make sure you’re up for the challenge; and make sure you’re able to commit the time and effort involved before you try something more permanent and full-time. And just like when you were younger, showing that you’re willing to give 100% to even a part-time position lets employers know that you’re someone they can rely on for more trustworthy and demanding positions as they come up. It’s a win-win situation.
4) Educate yourself. If you find your job skills or education lacking as you for a new job or a new career, you can take matters into our own hands and enhance your resume without ever leaving the comfort of your own living room. At our Regency Pointe senior living community, we offer in-suite Internet service as well as usage of computers in our business center. From either location, you can use the wealth of information available online to take classes, courses, webinars, and more to brush up on the latest technologies, softwares, and more, to make yourself a viable candidate for any position you choose.
5) Volunteer. If you’re struggling to find a paid position, look for ways and places to offer your services pro bono. Yes, it won’t help with your bills, but it will get you out in the community, assisting others and meeting new people – networking with potential job contacts as it was. Not only will you have an excuse to stretch your legs and make a difference in someone else’s lives, you never know who you’ll meet along the way who might be the key to your next job.