A friend shared an article from the New York Times Magazine with me today called “The Case for Working with Your Hands”, by Matthew B. Crawford. Turns out, this is an engaging excerpt from his soon-to-be-released book titled, Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work. In this excerpt, Mr. Crawford explores the societal push toward becoming a “knowledge” economy whereby the young are pressured into pursuing educations and career paths that may, in reality, deny their natural tendencies and talents only to become corporate cubical dwellers. This is a very thought provoking article and one that should make anyone open to career exploration or anyone trying to “find themselves” jump up and rub their eyes.
As my friends from Oklahoma would say “this has been a hoot”. A CBSNEWS producer contacted me in early Janurary requesting that Workforce50.com participate in their upcoming Early Show series on finding employment. This series would be a 5 part series featuring 4 job seekers - a new grad, a higher income person, a person returning to the workforce and someone over 55. Obviously CBSNEWS requested that Workforce50.com represent the over 55 segment.
We eagerly and proudly jumped in to the project. The opportunity to give additional visibility to the issues encountered by the older workforce was one we just couldn’t pass up. Nearly 3 months later, the series aired starting on March 23rd, with the over 55 (ours) segment airing on March 27th.
In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, age discrimination seems to be advocated as a generally accepted business practice by a professor at the Kellogg School. Frankly, I’m appalled by the statement itself and all of its dark and legal implications.
“It makes sense, with revenues getting tighter and profits getting smaller, that companies are looking to cut costs. One way to do that is to get rid of senior higher-salaried employees and promote younger workers, usually at lower salaries, says Adam Galinsky, a professor at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.”
Tell me that this is not what they are teaching in business school these days. It is flawed thinking from so many angles. Not to mention that it totally devalues the knowledge, experience and judgment that older workers have accumulated over the course of their careers and employ every day in their jobs. According to many experts, building and nurturing a multi-generational workforce is essential to the success of just about any business today.
Had this article been framed simply as helpful tips for the young or first-time manager, some of the advice I would probably dispense myself. I have been mentored and I have been a mentor. It can be a very productive learning experience. But here’s the thing. A good mentor has years of experience and a wide range of knowledge and judgment to share. So, I ask, why would a leading company, or any company looking to survive these days, cast its seasoned talent indiscriminately to the wind?
To read the full article go to http://bit.ly/DmijY
We have had a number of questions from our readers about temporary jobs with the U.S. Census Bureau. The information you need is all on the government web site at
From the information provided, the hiring for these positions will be done between February and May 2009. So, if you are interested in working in your own community on the U.S. Census, act soon.
The most recent poll taken on Workforce50.com yielded some interesting responses. When asked about the most important component of a job, our 50+ audience is pretty evenly split between pay and benefits and the work being interesting and challenging. Actually, the work being interesting and challenging is ever-so-slightly ahead in the polls but statistically not enough to distinguish percentage points. Both received just about 30% of the vote. So what does that say? It seems to indicate that older workers are keenly interested in the quality of their work and their need for rewarding and stimulating work. We can certainly interpret this to say that older workers do not enjoy working day to day just for a pay check. What they are actually doing and accomplishing during their hours of work is extremely important.
On the other end of the spectrum, it was somewhat surprising that only 2% of our respondents were interested in good opportunities for advancement. Done with the rat race, are they? Satisfied with letting the younger folks play “Who can rise to the corner office?”, are they? Does advancement come laden with responsibilities that are ultimately not satisfying to the older worker? Could it be that as we age we gain clarity about what is actually satisfying to the soul? And we have gained the wisdom and humility to say “enough is enough”?
Additional fodder for discussion: only about 18% of our poll takers declared that either coworkers and people or the ability to help people were their top choice for most important component of a job. Actually our respondents were much more interested in the location and proximity of their job to their home than to the people they work with or help. Hmm.
I’ve suggested only plausible interpretations of some of these poll responses. We would love to get feedback from our readers about their own interpretations.