Gray Power: Retirees draw skills from experience

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2007

There are numerous terms that connote negative traits associated with older persons.

These relay notions that older adults are difficult human beings.

Supervisors don&8217;t want to hire trouble, and they want to avoid any chance of bringing a problem employee onto their work site.

Reality: Because of their life experiences, many retirees have enhanced interpersonal skills and abilities.

The reality is that most older adults, with a lifetime of experience behind them, have very well-developed interpersonal skills.

Further, since many older adults place a higher value on courtesy, tact and diplomacy, they tend to work easily with co-workers and customers.

In fact, many employers who have begun hiring older workers for the first time are discovering that older adults provide a tremendous stabilizing force within a younger workforce.

Mentoring relationships are not uncommon, with younger employees seeking the counsel and wisdom of older co-workers in a non-threatening relationship.

There are strategies for those seeking employment. They include:

u Stress your ability to work with your co-workers, supervisors and customers in past work experiences.

u Share examples, when practical, that demonstrates your ability to work as a part of a team.

u Be pleasant in interviews.

u Don&8217;t make excessive demands during the hiring process.

u Prove that you are a reasonable business person.

Here are some strategies that may help you keep your job.

u Develop a reputation for being &8220;easy to get along with&8221; in the organization.

u Play the role of facilitator when appropriate.

u Mentor or support the career development of younger co-workers or subordinates.

This information came from the book, UnRetirement by Fyock and Dorton.

Dr. Marvin Copes, located in Maylene, is an Education and Community Service Volunteer for AARP Alabama. He can be reached by e-mail at