Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to watch the movie, The Intern, starring Robert De Niro, as a widower who seizes the opportunity to re-enter the workforce through a six week senior intern program for an online fashion company.
As a Certified Career Strategist /Career Coach specializing in midcareer and seasoned professionals in a career transition, I found the whole concept of a senior internship program very intriguing. Last year, I attended the Canadian Association of Retired Professionals Career Fair (CARP – the Canadian counterpart of AARP) and had the opportunity to connect with many mature business professionals. The general consensus was that although the majority of the attendees were retired from their jobs that didn’t mean that they wanted to retire from the work force. As one gentleman explained to me, he was happy to retire from the position that he held for the last 15 years of his career but wasn’t ready to retire completely. He was looking for something that he felt passionate about and also generated an income. Like the others I spoke with, he was not necessarily interested in going back into the corporate world and logging 50 hours a week however something part-time or project work was definitely of interest.
Through my career coaching work, I am well aware of how difficult it is for the midcareer or seasoned business professional to secure meaningful work. The job market is fiercely competitive and universities are pumping out graduates in record numbers. Unfortunately, older workers are undervalued for various reasons including:
X Outdated Training
X Outdated Skills
X Higher salary level expectation
X Inflexibility to conform to new ideas and methods
X Inability to work well or be managed by younger generations.
X Health issues that will affect workload and high incidence of absenteeism.
All the above mentioned points are misconceived perceptions and conjures up an image of a feeble senior citizen clutching their brown paper lunch bag as they hobble with cane in hand into the office everyday.
The reality is that there is an abundance of reasons why hiring an older worker can work to a corporation’s advantage:
√ Broad spectrum of experience and back to basics approach to business for stimulating customer retention, loyalty and client service excellence.
√ Extensive network of contacts.
√ Vast business knowledge.
√ Strong work ethic and can do attitude
√ Employer loyalty and less likely to seek opportunities elsewhere.
√ Greater job satisfaction and engagement.
√ They are there because they want to be!
With all this being said, not all mature workers entertain the idea of re-entering the workforce and are content to explore hobbies, travel and just enjoy what life has to offer. However, it is not uncommon for mature workers to enter into semi-retirement after a lay-off, restructuring or buy out package and remain in the workforce and ease into full retirement years later.
I applaud the idea of the Senior Intern Program because this concept can fulfil the desire of many seniors to remain active in the workforce and lend their expertise to the younger generations. For those who want to stay connected to the business community for a few more years, ‘GONE FISHING’ is on hold until further notice.
Are you a midcareer or seasoned business professional unexpectedly thrust into unemployment? Get the help you need to get the job you want! Christine Cristiano is a Certified Career Strategist, Career Coach, and Resume Writer and specializes in coaching mature jobseekers in a career transition to navigate the job market and discover their passion and second career path. Christine offers 1-1 virtual career coaching sessions and is a member of Career Professionals of Canada. Feel free to contact with Christine Cristiano via Linkedin.com or visit her blog!