You Gotta Serve Somebody!

With the largest segment of the population reaching what many thought would be their retirement years, it’s not always clear if the Boomer generation will settle quietly into non-work mode, or continue to seek out new employment opportunities.  Certainly for some, retirement is the plan; no work, just trying to find ways to explore their later years.  But with so many of the Boomer generation still having a lot left to contribute, there is no shortage of mature adults seeking work.
A tip of the proverbial hat to those who spent their lives working and paying taxes who now choose to spend their days pursuing leisure activities.  Whether they worked into their 70’s, or cashed out early and started playing with their nest egg in their 40’s, if they are lucky and blessed enough to move forward without current employment income, they should enjoy that opportunity,
But there are too many older adults who do not have the security of a large cache of stashed savings from which to sustain themselves through their retirement.  This situation has forced many who thought they would retire “on-time” (63-65 yrs) to keep working.  And there is no question that looking for work gets harder and harder as one matures.
Most mature adults who want to work aren’t anxious to take a minimum wage job dispensing burgers at a fast food joint or as a greeter in a big-box store.  And while such jobs may appeal to some, those who wish to continue working are probably looking for something more stimulating and satisfying, both financially and psychologically.  And the good news is there really are some decent opportunities for older workers, especially those who have been blessed with good health and vigor.
Of course to get one of those jobs, one still must go through the same process as any other job seeker of any age.  Get a decision maker to recognize your ability to do something they need done, and you’re in.  (OK, so that’s an oversimplification, but I frequently provide details of how to get hired in other posts, so no need for it here.)  But because older workers have more contacts with whom to network and have often developed relationships within diverse communities, making connections with decision makers may come a little easier than for a younger job seeker.
If a mature adult decides to continue working, what they choose to do for employment will likely be different from their previous vocations.  Referred to by a variety of names, including “second act,” “second stage,” “third age” and others, at that point in their lives people are looking for a different kind of fulfillment.  Ideas of where they want to work will evolve, and thankfully those pursuits are often in the name of service to others.
Yes, there are many public and private sectors jobs that can and should be filled by older workers, but it is in areas of service to others where many older workers choose to focus their efforts.  Engaging in work that enriches the lives of others provides great levels of both personal and professional satisfaction for the worker, and contributing to the betterment of humanity has rewards beyond measure.
Today, the observance of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday is a national day of service.  We are encouraged to dedicate our time and efforts in service: to our communities, to those less fortunate, to those who need to be uplifted, motivated and supported, to help others, and to do something meaningful.  Thankfully, for many older and younger workers, every day is a day of service.  It is a meaningful way of life.  And it is in great part because of this new breed of older worker, every day can be a day of service.
So, mature job seeker, or not, think about how your skills and experience can be applied to the betterment of your community.  Not just volunteering for a day of service, but committing your working life to the same goals and ideals held by those who fought for our freedoms, who struggled to gain rights for the oppressed, and who created change for the common good of all.  As more people focus their efforts in service to others, the better our whole planet will be.
For more ideas on how service to your community can lead to meaningful work and other career development topics, please search this blog and visit: or contact me.