Why I Hate the Term “Jobs for Seniors”… But Embrace the Idea of Working in Retirement
If you look up “jobs for seniors” on Google, you are likely to find dozens of articles with jobs that require no experience are easy to do part-time and that you can do at home. While there is no doubt that these attributes are appealing to some retirees, overall, I believe that the entire idea of “jobs for seniors” is misplaced… and even a little dangerous. Here’s the reason…
Older adults already face negative stereotypes everywhere that we look. In movies, we are portrayed as slow to adopt technology, grumpy, week, mentally slow and boring. In the workplace, we are looked at as if we are “on the way out,” even if we would like to work for years to come.
It’s the same thing with the concept of “jobs for seniors.” When we imply that there are certain jobs that are acceptable for older adults, we reinforce society’s negative stereotypes.
We Aren’t Our Parents… and We Are Ready to Rock Retirement
An argument could be made that the concept of “jobs for seniors” applied to our parents’ generation. For starters, they faced different economic realities. Their job experience wasn’t necessarily translatable to part-time work. In addition, they didn’t expect to have 20-30 years of life in retirement to learn new skills and start new careers or businesses.
Our generation is different. Most of us have acquired skills (writing, customer service, business, finance, teaching, marketing, accounting and many others) over the course of our four decades in the workplace. Those of us haven’t acquired tangible skills in the past are more than capable of doing so now – especially with sites like Udemy, Coursera and LinkedIn Learning.
So, What Are the Best Jobs for Seniors?
The short answer to this question is that there are no best jobs for seniors. There is only the best job for you as an individual. Here are a few questions that you can use to get started on your search for the perfect job:
- How many hours do you want to work? Is “part-time” really your goal?
- What are your hobbies? Could you make money from them?
- What jobs have always fascinated you, even if you don’t (yet) meet the requirements?
- What smaller jobs are related to your ultimate career aspiration?
- Who do you know who is already working in your dream job? Talk to them!
- Have you looked at all of the websites that offer online training?
These are just a few of the hundreds of questions that could help you to get started on your search for the perfect job in retirement.
A Few Words About Ageism and the Practicality of Starting Something New in Retirement
At this point, I’m sure that quite a few of you are thinking something along the lines of: “This all sounds great in theory, but, no-one is going to let me start over as a [Insert your dream here] at my age. All the training in the world won’t help me to overcome ageism.”
There is certainly some truth to this. And, I’m not saying that you won’t face barriers as an older adult.
There may be compromises involved. For example, going to vet school may not be possible (unless you are very lucky, quite rich and uniquely talented.) But, if you want to work with animals, why not train as a vet assistant? Seriously, have a chat with your local vets and see what they say.
Is it likely that a PR firm will hire you with only book knowledge in your 60s? Probably not… but, could you start writing about PR, become an expert, and start your own PR business? Absolutely.
There are no free lunches in life. Life isn’t fair. And, as older adults, we face significant work-related challenges and discrimination.
At the same time, with the growth of the Internet and the acceptance of remote work, it has never been easier to go around gatekeepers. We just need to have the bravery and grit to stick with it until we succeed.
What Do You Want Your Retirement to Stand for?
If you found this article by searching for “best jobs for seniors” in Google, I hope that you will take a few minutes to reconsider your definition of productive work in retirement.
There’s nothing wrong with looking for work that is easy to do at home or that you can do part-time. But, you are so much more than your age. You are a vibrant and dynamic person who is capable of taking on new challenges. So, decide what interests you, even if you don’t yet know how to do it, and step boldly into the future! You can do this!
Do you agree or disagree that the concept of “jobs for seniors” is outdated? How have you gone about making extra money in retirement? Or, if you are still working, what do you plan on doing for extra money when you finally do retire? Let’s have a conversation!