SELLING YOURSELF AS AN OLDER WORKER: PART 3 – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY


Finally, if you are careful, you might be able to get hired by an employer because you’re cheaper than a younger worker, but don’t count on it. Try not to get ripped off.

When I turned 60, I had an employer who tried to sell me on the idea of accepting early retirement. He explained that I could apply for it, then I would be able to come back and work full time and not have to pay into a pension plan. (That also means that the employer wouldn’t have to pay for their portion of the pension.) There are three things that need to happen beforehand:

First, I would need to leave work and live on my savings for two or three months. Living on essentially nothing for a week would have been a problem for me because I was underpaid to start with.

Secondly, I would have to apply for the position after the elapsed time. That might have been easier said than done as I and another senior counsellor were laid off a year later. We were working at the pleasure of government, and we didn’t get a contract.

Finally, I don’t see myself as the retiring type. I like to work and I like to get paid.

Many employers view older workers as charity cases and the will see a way to have them work for less. They are probably too old to have a young family and therefore have fewer expenses. They probably saved enough over the years, and are only looking for a cheap minimum wage top-up.

What they probably won’t find out in the interview, however, is that they have son-in-laws who insist on buying condoms from the Dollar Store, and as a result they have a gaggle of grandchildren that can be a drain. They all have birthdays, need childcare, need the rent to be paid, and need to take out second mortgages to rescue their little darlings from any number of health or legal maladies.

Don’t sell yourself short.

If you want to save the employer money at your expense, argue for a flexible schedule or reduced hours.

Here is another thing you can do. In some areas, older workers are considered to be a targeted population. They are workers who are deemed by government to be in need of help to get into the workplace.

In my neck of the woods, we have something called a Targeted Wage Subsidy. This is money that is paid to an employer for the purpose of hiring someone who is an older worker, or of First Nations ancestry, or a visible minority, or a person with a mental health, physical or developmental disability. As such, there might be money available.

When anyone begins a new job, there is a learning curve to overcome. The offer you might be able to convince the government  to fund this is that a subsidy would cover the costs of training. Ironically, that learning curve is not as steep for someone who already knows what they’re doing.  I had an uncle in this position. He zipped his lips at work, but when he got home, he would exclaim, “They only know how to do things two ways: The Hard Way and The Wrong Way!”

Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.
He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at michael_broderick@telus.net or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.

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2 Responses to “SELLING YOURSELF AS AN OLDER WORKER: PART 3 – IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY”

  1. Sharon Says:

    Great info, Mike. Loved the ending about your dad.

  2. mikebroderick Says:

    He could give off a good zinger every once in a while. I paid attention to the funny stuff, but wrote off the serious stuff

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