Tag Archives: older

Older men will make workplace flexibility and work life balance a reality

 

Thank you Sheryl Sandberg. Thank you Anne Marie Slaughter. You have brought the conversation of work life balance back into public discussion. But let's face it women, for all our years of talking about work life balance, flexibility and having it all, we really haven't made any huge progress.

I think that soon will change.

I think it will change because older men will make it happen. 

Just the other day, I was talking to Miami law partner in his late 60s who excitedly was telling me all about the summer home he was building in the mountains. I asked him whether he was going to take the summer off work. "Oh no," he said, "I'll just bring my laptop, my cell phone and I'll work from my cabin." This came just days after another senior partner told me he wasn't retiring but instead scaling back his schedule to work from home in the mornings.

Historically, men have been excluded overtly and subtly from the work life conversation. Tanvi Gautam,  managing partner at Global People Tree wrote this for Forbes.com: "The assumption remains that “real” men (single or married) don’t need/want work-life integration. They work long, hard hours and miss meals with family, skip social events, so they can rise to the top of the corporate ladder, if need be at the expense of all else."

For the last decade, women and Millennials have struggled to get organizations to realize that flexibility is needed. Yet, male boomers — the ones who have resisted giving flexibility to others — are going to be the ones who make it happen. For them, it's about to get personal.

They are law firm founders, senior executives and chairmen of the boards. But as they age, they still will want their name on the masthead and to share their expertise. They just won't want the 10 to 12 hour days anymore. They will seek the ability to work from home a few days a week or from a vacation home. They will want to pull back from the extreme schedules they worked in the past, and make a gradual transition into retirement, even managing to get organizations to lift or delay mandatory retirement age.

Currently, just 13 percent of Americans are ages 65 and older. By 2030, 18 percent of the nation will be at least that age, according to Pew Research Center projections. The typical Boomer believes that old age doesn’t begin until 72, and the majority of Boomers report feeling more spry than their age would imply.

These senior male leaders will push for flexibility for their own personal use and they will get it because they have the clout and connections that women and younger workers lacked. And when the policies change to accommodate them, the women and Millennials will benefit, too. And that's how and when the workplace and policies will evolve.

For now, the rest of us just need to do our best to make our work and life fit together, and then "lean in" and wait for change to happen. It will happen. I see it on the horizon.

The Work/Life Balancing Act

Encore Careers: How to make a difference as you get older

The power of Twitter is amazing. A few years ago, Marci Alboher and I connected on Twitter and came to admire each other as journalists. At the time, Marci was freelancing for The New York Times. A few weeks ago, Marci reached out to me through Twitter and asked me to participate in her book tour. She had joined Encore.org was going to appear at Book & Books in Coral Gables to discuss her new book, The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living in the Second Half of Life.

Of course, I jumped at the chance. I read Marci's book and it was packed with stories, resources and ideas for encore careers, also known as later in life jobs that have a social purpose. 

The turnout at the Books & Books event was huge. I interviewed Marci about the whole concept of encore careers in front of at least 50 people. The audience was engaged and asked great questions. Clearly, this is an important topic as boomers begin to figure out what's next for them.

Here's the story I wrote for the Miami Herald using the life stories of several people I met at the event as well as information from the discussion with Marci:

In later life, many Americans turn to ‘encore careers’

 

 

 
  

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By CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

            Don Causey was beginning to plan his retirement, selling off his profitable sporting newsletters when his life took a horrific turn. While on a safari on a long anticipated trip to Africa, a tree tumbled onto him, breaking his back.  The process of getting a medical transport to take him from a remote village back to Miami proved arduous and costly.

Today Causey’s back is healed and at 70 he finds himself in a post retirement career — consulting for a company that sells travel memberships that include medical evacuation benefits. It’s a profitable part-time gig that Causey believes is an important service to travelers. Plus, he says, “It keeps my mind alive and keeps me connected with a community I care about, just in a different way.”

Like Causey, most Americans are crafting their own version of meaningful work in their later stages of life. It’s a direction that brings balance and an ability to be impactful in a whole new way.     

“More and more people — sometimes by necessity, sometimes by choice — are forgoing traditional retirement and investing a new state of life and work,” says Marci Alboher, with Encore.org and author of  The Encore Career Handbook.

Alboher is part of a movement that has named this later-in-life stage “encore careers,” paid or volunteer work that has a social impact. An encore career can last from a few years to 20 or more. While 9 million Baby Boomers already have entered their encore phase, another 31 million will soon make the leap in that direction, according to Encore.org, a nonprofit organization that promotes second acts for the greater good.

The concept of an encore career is being buoyed by a convergence of trends: financial realities, layoffs, long life spans and the desire for a more purposeful existence during the aging process. “It’s a way to leave a mark that makes things better for future generations,” explains Alboher. “But usually it’s not quick or easy. It’s a slow metamorphosis involving baby steps, detours, persistence, creativity and a do-it-yourself spirit.”

An encore career job might be a nurse or health aide. It could be a teacher, tutor or fundraiser, founder of a nonprofit, or even an entrepreneur that solves a social problem. For many, it has become the answer to “now what?” and “what will be my legacy?”

Knowing what’s ahead, some people plan their encore career for years, beginning as early as their 50s. They use travel time to build alliances or weekends to take a community college course.

Though he’s far from retirement age, my 50-year-old husband surely will need an encore career. Even now, he can’t sit still on days off from work, filling his days with house projects and coming up with new ones once the current list is exhausted. Yet he regularly talks about how he looks forward to retirement — a disaster-in-the-making for a man without a mission.

The reignite-rather-than-retire movement has been recent, but it may already have played a role in curbing the high rate of suicide for older males. David Cohen, author of  Out of the Blue, and a professor of psychology at University of Texas had previously discovered a high rate of suicide for males in the 65-to-74 year old age group, observing that this set was susceptible because of its preoccupation with lost status and higher risk of apathy and isolation. That high rate has lowered in recent years.

Read more…

The Work/Life Balancing Act

How to survive getting older at work

GeenaYesterday at the Wall Street Journal's Women In The Economy Conference, one of my favorite actresses, Geena Davis, mentioned how tough it is for female actresses over 40 to get parts in movies. I'm in my 40s and I feel like I'm just getting started. But today, young, hip, fresh and relevant are the buzz words.

I want to grow old still doing the job I enjoy. Don't you? While finding work life balance is tough right now, I can see a time when I'm an empty nestor and I want to ramp up and give work more attention. But will I be accepted as an older worker in the newsroom? Here in my own community, I see examples of failing organizations that blame older leaders for their predicament. They suggest bringing in young blood will fix their woes. And in some cases, it might.

Looking at a new MetLife study, I learned that contrary to prediction, boomers are retiring. And they are happy. Yet, there are some who work into their 80s. "The driver not money. It's that they want to stay in the game," MetLife's Sandra Timmermann, director of the MetLife Mature Market Institute told me." Older people have a whole new attitude about staying active."

Today, I looked deeper into the topic  of aging at work for my Miami Herald column. I'd love to hear your feedback. Is 70 the new 50? Or should 70 year olds step aside to make way for the younger generation?

 

The Miami Herald

Older executives face challenges in the workplace

By Cindy Krischer Goodman
balancegal@gmail.com

   Doctor Alfredo A. Lopez-Gomez with his wife Mary Lopez at MAS Medical Group offices on Coral Way. Dr. Lopez-Gomez still practices five days a week as an internist.
Al Diaz / Miami Herald Staff
Doctor Alfredo A. Lopez-Gomez with his wife Mary Lopez at MAS Medical Group offices on Coral Way. Dr. Lopez-Gomez still practices five days a week as an internist.
My silver-haired grandfather worked into his 80s. He ran his Chicago law firm on trust and signed clients with a handshake. But his last few years of practicing were rough. He wasn’t as sharp as a decade earlier and the young lawyers in his firm began questioning whether his handshakes were causing the law firm to get stiffed on fees.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about grandpa and what it means to get older in the workplace. I look around my corporate neighborhood and see strong companies run by leaders in their late 60s and 70s. But I also see a huge push, intensified by the technology revolution, to stay edgy, innovative and current. And, I see tension. In some organizations, I even see a forced changing of the guard.

When it comes to the workplace, is 70 really the new 50? Today, people are health conscious and living longer. Older workers and leaders often feel empowered, even balanced, by continuing to work into their 70s and 80s. But is it possible to age and stay relevant at work?

As more Americans push back the date of retirement, I think that’s a question more of us will be asking.

Clearly, attitude plays a role. A nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project finds that a majority (54 percent) of workers ages 65 and older say the main reason they work is that they want to. Just 17 percent say they need the paycheck. Those senior workers who hold onto the passion for their jobs are the ones who take the steps to stay relevant, experts say. At 71, Tom Tew still practices law full time at Tew Cardenas in Miami. “As long as I’m doing quality work and my clients are happy, I’ll keep practicing. I enjoy work.”

Physical health tends to factor in, too. Older workers at the top of their game see a correlation between physical and mental health. Two years ago, Tew bought Biscayne Boxing & Fitness Club in Miami, where he exercises five days a week and feels he’s building stamina. “The litigation world I’m in is an energy intense place. Working out is so important. You can’t let yourself go physically,” Tew told me. I asked him if law firms need to be managed by younger partners and what he thinks of the mandatory retirement age some still enforce. “Every 70-year-old is different. Some should have retired at 60. Some still have it.”

Behind successful workplace longevity is a willingness to keep learning. In today’s global economy, where the fundamentals of a business may change overnight, senior workers and leaders who are open to change, even interested in staying ahead of it, manage to keep their jobs. “In leadership, age is irrelevant,” says Mike Myatt, managing director of N2growth and a leadership advisor to Fortune 500 CEOs. “It’s a matter of performance. Either someone is engaged, staying up to date and getting the job done or he is lacking.”

At 81, Alfredo Lopez-Gomez still practices medicine five days a week and spends a minimum of an hour a day reading medical journals, books and new research. He hears about the latest medical advances at his weekly lunches with his younger colleagues. And, he passes on his knowledge and solicits feedback when he lectures residents and interns two times a month at Larkin Hospital. Lopez-Gomez says he sees about 30 patients a week, most of them longtime patients or word-of-mouth referrals. “I’ll continue until my wife tells me I’m no longer mentally OK to work,” he said.

The self-marketing expected of young up-and-comers becomes even more crucial for older workers. “Make your strengths visible,” says Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, director of the Sloan Center on Aging & Work at Boston College. Of course, experience typically is a key asset. Tew says clients hire him because of his years of experience. They want his judgment in regulatory banking matters, something younger lawyers just aren’t able to provide — even with their handheld smartphones to look up answers. Pitt-Catsouphes says older workers tend to feel passionate about their jobs. “It’s OK to express that. That’s the strength they bring that counteracts the assumptions that they are one step toward retirement.”

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Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/05/01/v-print/2778283/staying-strong-in-the-workplace.html#storylink=cpy

The Work/Life Balancing Act