Network - Winter 2010 - (Page 13)

O Feature Early Retirement By Barbara Moses, Ph.D hen a 52-year-old friend recently described herself as retired, I was stunned. Retired? More like the “Energizer Bunny.” She recently left an executive position with a major international agency. Now, when she is not taking on freelance translation assignments in Europe or more locally, she takes all types of movement classes and prepares five-star-worthy meals. She is also researching thesis topics as she readies herself to apply to a PhD program in art history. Somehow, “retired” seems like the wrong word to describe her. Of course, the word carries a lot of freight. What comes to mind are people who talk about fibre sources, share endless photos of their travels, and send e-mails filled with exclamation marks. True, some people such as my friend are exceptionally engaged in what the media have called their “second youth” or “third life chapter.” But they wear only one face of retirement. The flip side is not as inspiring. In today’s harsh work environment, more and more people find themselves forced into a retirement for which they are unprepared. Here’s the paradox: On the one hand, organizations fret about a coming skills shortage and the need to retain and motivate older workers. On the other, those same employers often treat older workers shabbily. Sussannah Kelly, president and managing director of Boyden global executive search in Toronto, says she is seeing a growing number of older, high-performing workers in senior roles losing their positions to younger, less expensive replacements. Many can’t find new jobs precisely for the same reason. And many have either inadequate pensions or no access to them yet. These older workers still have a lot to contribute, and often need to work, for both financial and emotional reasons. “It’s truly discriminatory,” Kelly says, “but no one calls it what it is. You don’t see this happen in progressive organizations, but there are still many organizations that don’t have sophisticated or enlightened practices.” Unwanted W While some are pushed out, others feel they have no choice but to quit. Take one former client, a vice-president of human resources. Following an organizational restructuring, he was assigned a new boss with a very different vision—so different that my client was expected to oversee the dismantling of projects that he had led, with pride and praise, to completion. After wrestling for months with depression, he quit. “I’d rather deliver pizza than stay here a moment l o n g e r,” h e said. NETWORK O Winter 2010

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Network - Winter 2010

Network - Winter 2010
Contents
HRIA President’s Message
HRIA Board of Directors
The Legalities of Mandatory Retirement
Unwanted Early Retirement
Baby Boom or Bust Strategies for Dealing With a Rapidly Aging Workforce
Retirement: Private Savings Plan Contributions Decreasing
Baby Boomer Steps
Retirement Is About More Than Just Money
What‘s Happening Here? HR’s Evolving Role in Dealing With Different Generations
Retirees Need a Game Plan
The HR Office
Index of Advertisers

Network - Winter 2010

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