Monday, July 03, 2000


Retirees provide labor pool

        Companies looking to fill payrolls with experienced employees do not need to look past the bulletin board at the local golf course.

        Projections are that 76 million baby boomers will begin to retire within the next few years, and because members of this generation are probably too greedy to give up work altogether, why not look for experienced workers at the links?

        After all, that's where they go, and how many daily rounds of golf can a 63-year-old man or woman play anyhow?

        Although only 20 percent of Americans 55 and older still work, about half of the baby boomers in a recent survey of 5,000 people see retirement as a chance for a new career, according to WomanTrends, a quarterly newsletter based in New York City.

        The biggest industry to deploy retirees will be restaurants, where more than 400,000 people over the age of 55 are employed. That number is expected to double within three decades. So-called “bridge jobs,” once viewed as a way for retirees to ease into retirement, are now seen by some as a way to re-enter the workplace.

        Labor-short employers are expected to create consulting and mentor jobs to meet retirees' demands for flexible work schedules — those tee times again — and to satisfy the cybersavvy seniors who want to telecommute, instead of actually showing up at a job.

Family troubles
        Pace University workplace psychologist Barry Miller reports that an estimated $10 billion in absenteeism is lost annually by U.S. corporations because of dysfunctional blended families.

        Problems relating to stepchildren and working parents are often left off the list of programs embraced by “family friendly” corporations.

        Companies provide programs for alcohol and drug abuse, baby care, elder care and marriage or family counseling but divorced parents with working live-in partners or a working stepparent are not helped through traditional family counseling, Mr. Miller reports.

        “As efficient as these executive men and women are at work, they often lack the knowledge they need to be a good parent,” he said.

        “Men are weekend daddies who feel guilty and see their kids so infrequently that they don't discipline them, and their working live-in mates don't have the time, the authority or the knowledge to deal with step-kids,” he said.

        For treatment, Mr. Miller suggests a checklist to inventory the actual number of hours each week that the busy executive spends with the stepchildren.

Static interference
        For most people, workplace change is a lot like those houseflies that bounce and crawl around on the other side of the kitchen screen door in the summer: They are bugs and therefore annoying, but at least they are on the other side of the door though they are soon to be on the wrong side, that is, inside.

        Despite management's contention that change is good, author and change expert Patti Hathaway claims Americans are not buying it.

        “It's almost always painful and stressful,” says Ms. Hathaway, author of Untying the "Nots' of Change Before You're Fit to Tied. “Seventy-one percent of employees feel used up at the end of the day,” she said, noting that moving forward with change is a personal choice.

        John Eckberg can be reached at or (513) 768-8386.


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