Joe Bartley of Devon (UK) was retired, but found himself ‘dying of boredom’. Aged 89, he had been fine until his wife died a couple of years back. He decided to look for a job.
You often hear statements such as ‘80 is the new 60’; or, ‘60 is the new 40’. But how do these sentiments transfer to the workforce? Not very well it seems.
Almost 20 per cent of over-65s are still working full time or part time in the United States—that’s the highest level for more than 50 years, since 1962. And it’s financially driven, says Jean Setzfand, senior vice-president of AARP, the organisation that did the study.
Individuals who voluntarily change jobs between the ages of 50 and 60 are more likely to be still working at 65 and 67 than those who stay in the job they have at 50. And, says the report, it doesn’t matter if the job they changed to was better or worse than the one they left. They still worked longer.
Work plays a huge role in our daily life, and the loss of the ‘substance and challenge of work’; the relationship with colleagues; the place to go to work; and the daily routines can ‘leave a gaping hole, causing people to wonder, with so much new-found spare time, whether they matter anymore’.
Retiring 30 years after the age at which most people retire is quite an achievement. While most people’s lives are not royal, there are a few similarities worth considering.
One organisation helping to address the needs of older workers is SilverTemp, founded by Art Beavis. SilverTemp is now in its seventh year and currently operates from the Northern Rivers and Tweed Valley region of New South Wales. Art’s motto is ‘people don’t have a use-by date’ and SilverTemp is an ‘innovative agency dedicated to placing senior people in temporary, part-time, or casual employment’.
There’s evidence that a change of job in late career—in your 50s—may extend your career. However, there are risks involved. Research from the Center for Retirement Research, Boston College, US, has found that there has been an increase in employees making a career change toward the end of their working life.
Ridley Scott is 79 years old. He’s currently launching a new movie, Alien: Covenant, and is thinking of doing Gladiator 2? At 79. Allow a couple of years for it to happen and he’ll be in his early 80s when it’s released. Obviously, retirement is not for him. He’s enjoying what he does too much.
David Winter is a softly-spoken 81-year-old who has been working as a psychiatrist for more than 50 years. Actually, he doesn’t call what he does ‘work’—he sees it as a vocation.