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Taking on the Grey Ceiling

08/28/2014 1:58 PM

Looking for work after age 50

They cost more, are harder to train and less flexible. They're also more likely to quit, resistant to change and injury-prone. These are just some of the views tarnishing mature age workers with the same brush and, depending on the individuals and situations in question, there's probably an element of truth in all of them.

Older workers often stay in jobs longer, are more
productive and have lower levels of absenteeism

-----

Paradoxically, it's also true that older workers have been known to stay in jobs longer, be more productive, have lower levels of absenteeism and provide greater return on investment.

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#1

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 2:15 PM

Many statement are true, but it is funny to me that experience is not considered as important in when hunting for an employee. Do "modern" companies only look for human-like non thinking robots that only proceed by the book?

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#2

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 3:19 PM

What would you like to discuss? This happens to be something I am pretty familiar with.

I'll start off with an easy one, something that not only applies to the grey ceiling:

At a small company, the interviewer is likely to be a supervisor or principal within the company. In your first round interview, an interviewer is looking at three things:
1) Can this individual do the job?
2) Will this individual do the job?
3) Is this individual a threat to my job?

At smaller companies, if you are well qualified for a position but you don't get to talk with the real top-dog, there is a good chance your resume will hit the round file within two minutes of your leaving the interview room.

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#16
In reply to #2

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 12:34 AM

And Doorman, you are right about the two minute round can action. In my case it was before I was out of the office. I was watching from a mirror on the wall and the resume I had (about 20 pages in all) was in the bin on my way out of the room. I would never hesitate to give a job to someone who could do my job and have done so on several occasions in my working life.

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#17
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Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 12:51 AM

"resume I had (about 20 pages in all)"

No wonder they didn't hire you. I wouldn't either if you could not get my attention in one or two, at most, pages.

Don't mean to be rude, but hiring managers don't have time to read a book. At least I never did.

Tell me what you have done for others in the past relative to the job at hand, what you can do for me in relation to the job at hand, and what environment you need to be happy.

A 15 minute chat with you, after I have read your resume will suffice.

Or it did when I was hiring engineers.

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#47
In reply to #16

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/30/2014 1:46 AM

20-page resumes shitcan themselves out of sheer weight. Lyn is right; nobody has time to read an epic tome. Chances are, moreover, that the person reading it has a pile of them to go through and has read several piles already. Do you know what it's like to read through 300, 400, 600, 1500 resumes? Put yourself in that person's shoes. Reading resumes is mind-numbing in the extreme. Cut 'em some slack; they might appreciate it enough to hire you!

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#49
In reply to #47

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/31/2014 4:11 AM

Why the heck did you post that OT? It's one of the most salient comments made.

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#50
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Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/31/2014 1:19 PM

Thanks. My post 'borrowed' its OT status from the post I was replying to (Prof Peanut's) and I didn't notice until too late. CR4 lets you edit comments for up to 15 minutes after posting but, once posted, does not allow you to undo the OT status during that time. A design oversight, I guess.

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#25
In reply to #2

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 9:54 AM

You need to define your interpretation of a "small company". I have worked for "small" and probably "medium" sized. Right now it is a small one, but I look for two things, experience/knowledge and personality. I would like to be able to hire someone to take my job. That would give me the option of opting out (I think I may be at the upper limit of the grey ceiling).

One of the best hires ever here, was a 63 year old who wanted a few more years of employment. Very experienced and personable, just wished he could do more, but he was happy with what he did for me and didn't want anything else. He finally retired from my employ - he was 78 at the time.

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#27
In reply to #25

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 10:33 AM

For the purpose of my comment #2, a small business would be one without at least one person responsible for Human Resources as their only function in the firm.

That individual would have little no concern (unless the applicant was looking for a HR position) with the answer to question #3.

I have been denied (it sounds like I am not alone) further consideration for a position because the individual with whom I interviewed could easily see me being another rooster in the henhouse. "Fuhgetaboutit, not hiring this guy."

One recent experience: My research indicated the firm desperately needed a different rooster, but I couldn't get to the roostermaster. The manager made a wise personal choice (I would have had his job within a month), but a foolish professional choice (one not in the best interest of the firm) by denying me.

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#56
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Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

09/12/2014 8:18 AM

It seems then that I have only worked for small companies. Never for one that had a dedicated HR person, although that has been one of my duties in almost every company I worked for, along with the other myriad of tasks assigned, or currently just taken on by default because I new what had to be done.

Then again, HR genre is relatively new in it's fullest sense.

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#3

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 3:25 PM

Look at the average help wanted ads....You need to be dependable, personable and available....hard working a +....experience not necessary but a + if you have some....mostly you just have to be reasonably intelligent, look good(or neat) and show up....

http://www.helpwanted.com/

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#4
In reply to #3

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 3:44 PM

I saw a hand-painted help wanted sign in a saloon. It said:

Wanted: Sober and Honest Bartender
Will Probably Settle for Either One

There are a number of positions with main qualifications being show up on time, sober, every day. Sad how these jobs go unfilled due to lack of eligible candidates.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 4:08 PM

Maybe we could start a website where people would list the conditions and work that they would be willing to do.....look for trends, and develop jobs to fit the criteria.....Nah....too much work(sic)...besides how many jobs could there be for people to sit around watching TV, getting high, and eating snacks....

Congratulations Mr. Couch Potato, we have a job for you....just report on your favorite TV shows, choice of bud or beverage, and favorite snacks preference and why, once a week, and in return we'll send you a check to cover your expenses....reporting is done on line, so little effort is required....

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#28
In reply to #5

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 10:56 AM

We could give them jobs sitting on bridges to keep them from swaying, or sitting in front of semi trailers so they don't pull away from the loading dock.

Or we could give them jobs as boat anchors.

Or we could send them to Congress! No wait, that fat lazy slob in the pic looks like he's be way to active to be a Congressman.

I know, crash test dummy! He could do that. On second thought, let's just use the Congressman as crash test dummies, that way nobody will be upset when the dummy 'breaks,' and the testers will be more inclined to test with higher speed, more violent crashes.

(Self-marking as OT because the digs at Congress is verging on 'political dialog,' even though I haven't singled out one party or the other for abuse. (They can all put on boat-anchor belts and go jump in lake Michigan, for all I care. No, make that Lake Superior, I drink the water out of Lake Michigan.)

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#6

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 4:12 PM

Is that statement a reflection of the economic times. Higher unemployment so you have a bigger pool to work with. And the fact that many are over qualified for the jobs they are seeking. So they are dissatisfied to begin with. Many taking jobs that the have no experience in to begin with just to find work.

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#7

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 4:22 PM

I feel I am fortunate in that I have had this job for sometime now, one drawback to this is the people around you, the ones that know and respect you and your abilities, are replaced by people that do not know you and so the learning curve begins again.

I can't Imagine looking for a job now, with the memory I have of interviews that started with a discussion of the basketball scores or whatever, or my surprise at the lack of concept so limited that the fact that the basic fundamentals are the same between brands of a certain device or piece of equipment.

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#14
In reply to #7

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 11:24 PM

I applied some years ago for a lead position at a rapidly-growing software company in Austin, Texas, back around 2002. The company was quite interested. The first two interviews took place by phone and went very well. During the second interview they practically begged me to come in for a face-2-face; right away if possible. They were very excited. I agreed and said I would be there within a half an hour.

It took me 17 minutes to drive from my home to the interview. When the hiring manager met me in the lobby and saw that I was 'probably over 40' (I sound very youthful on the phone and so they hadn't a clue as to my real age) he did a total about-face: "We're sorry, but the position has been filled."

The company hired only younger people, 35 and under.

Four months later the DotCom bubble burst and the company imploded. Interestingly, an editorial showed up in the Business Section of the Austin-American Statesman, analysing the company's demise. Their conclusion was basically: no one there had ever weathered a nor'easter. All sailors and no captains in a fair-weather company. When the storm hit - and storms always hit sooner or later - they sank like a stone. Their lack of experience and, worse, their actively shunning those with experience, older applicants who'd been around the block a few times, proved to be their undoing.

Did other companies observe this and learn from it? Maybe, but probably not.

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#8

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 4:50 PM

My wife worked for 27 years for a major hospital chain as Director of Benefits for the last 15 years.

She was unceremoniously retired when all the positions above her were filled by kids.

She's working again, only because she knew people willing to speak highly of her to her prospective employer. Oh she took a 40% pay cut to do the same thing somewhere else.

Without sterling references, she'd be retired now.

Knowing the right people helps.

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#9

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 5:24 PM

It is a ceiling that gets lower with time. Even when there are jobs, managers like to have people working for them who owe them their jobs. Even some engineers don't like anyone more experienced working for them, they don't want to risk being shown up.

Then there is the battle between company management and the chief engineers, company wants to get rid of the high dollar people and use new grads while the chiefs want the experienced people to mentor the new kids. There is no value judgement involved in the company decision, it just looks good when you dump payroll and still have the same number of people.

I went for one interview after a downsize, and after speed reading through my long form resume, this smart young man had really only on question, "What unique thing would you bring to this company?" That really through me off balance.

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#10
In reply to #9

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 6:27 PM

Q: "What unique thing would you bring to this company?"

A: "Knowledgable Experience: I have already learned from my mistakes, unlike the new-hires, who seemingly haven't."

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#11
In reply to #10

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 8:57 PM

Q: "What unique thing would you bring to this company?"
An intimate knowledge of your competition....

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#12
In reply to #11

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 9:15 PM

"An intimate knowledge of your product line" got me a job once.

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#13
In reply to #10

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 10:52 PM

'A: "Knowledgable Experience: I have already learned from my mistakes, unlike the new-hires, who seemingly haven't." '

Given today's turnover rates, I would drop the "unlike the new-hires" bit. The odds are pretty good that you would be telling that to a (relatively) new-hire.

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#15

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/28/2014 11:55 PM

When i was a prospective employee, the interviewer looked for youth and energy (along with IQ+CQ of course, as i am a design guy). Once i retired though, the same interviewers looked at my age (advanced) and experience, for hiring me as a part-time consultant. Ironically, one company ended up paying me substantially more as a consultant than they would have, had they retained me as an employee

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#22
In reply to #15

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 8:59 AM

Yes, but they were probably still paying you less, as consultants get no job benefits. (at least in the USA that's how it works) Health insurance alone can be 1/3 of your pay. Companies here love part time employees and consultants to avoid the insurance costs.

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#24
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Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 9:39 AM

To some extent your point is true here too, but not that high. i worked it into my per diem while quoting, and nade it clear that there will be no bargaining. So, for the last twelve years or so, whenever i get busy, i get paid well And the best part is that there are no hassles from disgruntled assistants asking for more pay / perks / promotion...

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#26
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Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 10:08 AM

Perhaps your insurance rates are more reasonable there. I am old enough to retire and would receive from Social Security and my retirement plan close to what I bring home now. Can't do it - the insurance costs, since I am not quite old enough for Medicare, would be too great if I had to pay them myself. We can't even afford to put me on my wife's insurance through her employer, as her coverage is very expensive for non-employee family members.Then there is dental and eye care coverage as well to consider. Looks like I'm working until I'm 70, at least.

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#29
In reply to #26

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 11:15 AM

We have no state-sponsored insurance. My wife and i are on our own! We don't have enough cover if something serious happens, (which is quite likely since i am now 70!). We do believe a lot in God, and keep hoping that when our time comes, it will be one of those 4-sec heart attacks

Enough morbidity. As of now, i am enjoying learning new software. i am reasonably well-versed in one CAD and one kinematic analysis software. Hence the quest for more knowledge ! Tomorrow is the first day of the rest of my life ! Bring it on !

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#30
In reply to #29

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 12:14 PM

Then you also don't have our medical price structure either. Doctors charge way more than what they think they can get from the government from Medicare and it applies to all medical receivers, not just those with Medicare. Without my employers insurance for now, or Medicare when I retire, a simple office call for a check-up would cost me $100. Blood tests for cholesterol would be $500. And that echocardiogram they insist on every 2 years is well over $2000, without insurance.

The way the game is played here, is the doctors turn in absurdly high prices for a procedure, and the insurance company, or Medicare, tells them how much of that they will actually pay for the procedure, usually around 1/3. If you are insured, the remaining amount not covered is often forgotten. Occasionally you may be required to submit another $5 or $10. Unfortunately, without insurance, you can't tell the doctor you'll only pay 1/3 of the cost. you're liable for the entire inflated price. Those without insurance pay the absurd figure - those with pay about 1/3 of that.

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#32
In reply to #30

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 12:25 PM

I may be mistaken, but weren't there programs that allowed students from other countries the opportunity to get a medical degree in the U.S. whereby the intent was that these skills would be brought back to countries where a shortage of Doctors was prevalent?

I bet this gets some flack.

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 1:04 PM

Next time I see a doctor without a foreign accent it will be the first since I was in my teens, 50 years ago.

Why would they want to leave here?

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#37
In reply to #34

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 1:13 PM

Interesting. My pulmonologist, cardiologist, ear/nose/throat, dentist and GP are all Americans.

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#33
In reply to #30

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 12:26 PM

I used to think the same thing. But I met a guy who's in a medical co-op ( I think they're called). I asked him about the charge rates, and he told me he just tells the doctor he's paying cash, and they basically match the rates the insurance companies charge. (Don't know what happens if he is unconscious when he gets to the hospital!) But I agree with your point of view - it never made sense that the clients that were hardest to deal with, delay payments, etc got the lowest rate while the cash customers would get the highest rate.

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#36
In reply to #33

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 1:08 PM

We need more doctors to think like my veterinarian. If I take my cat to him, I'll get charged, let's say $75 for a procedure. If my daughter takes her cat for the exact same thing, she'll pay around $35. (we tested this to prove it) He has a good idea who can pay and who can't and charges that way.

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#35
In reply to #30

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 1:06 PM

It is substantially cheaper here of course, but regrettably, is catching up with the west fast.

There are some wonderful doctors who have come back with US and UK degrees, and set up practices which treat poor people free ! Not for people like us if we have to have a clear conscience.

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#39
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Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 1:58 PM

I see a system waiting to be taken advantage of. I hope your people are not as dishonest as most Americans, or this will soon fail. Fraud runs rampant in our welfare and Medicare systems. My primary care physician is under investigation for Medicare fraud right now. The neighbor across the street is on welfare even though she has a well paid partner and is living in his house. She never married him so she can still collect welfare since she has a brood of children, and his income doesn't show up on her records.

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#31
In reply to #26

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 12:23 PM

Maybe there's a reason for high insurance costs. Out of control health care costs. Especially hospital costs.

I'm old enough for Medicare, but my wife has good insurance where she works. We both still work, out of necessity.

I spent 27 hours in the hospital two weeks ago. 5 hours in the OR then in bed overnight. Mind you, in at 6:00AM one day, out at 9:00AM the next.

The hospital bill was $36,513.00 USD. Oh, that doesn't include the Doc $2,700.00 and others which we haven't received yet. I'll never know what the hospital received in payment, but if I had gone in uninsured they would have charged me the full amount, no discounts!

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#38
In reply to #31

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 1:57 PM

Having worked as a MD in a couple of countries, my experience is that a signifficant part of the high charges in the US medicine are due to the fear of lawsuits: this makes that a diagnosis that could be done at a low cost (like a regular X-ray) in your country requires the X ray, a CT scan and an MRI (just in case). Consequence: cost rose from 50$ to 1,500$... and so on

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#40
In reply to #38

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 2:32 PM

Well, maybe. The hospital ran no tests. Those were all completed prior to entering the hospital.

They also insisted that they administer all prescription medications from their own pharmacy.

Some points:

1. One of my medications WAS not dispensed, at all. They just didn't bring it. I didn't ask, since I had brought my own, just in case and knew that would delay my release from the hospital for 3 or 4 hours while filling and administering it to me.

2. Another medication is a 60 dose inhaler. I was given a new, sealed inhaler, one dose was dispensed and the inhaler was taken away, to be destroyed, no doubt. I expect the insurance was charged the full $120.00 USD for that one dose.

I'm fine with the $2,700 dollars the Doc. charged because he is good and is very thoughtful of me and my health. He saw me during his lunch hour yesterday and spent almost an hour performing some remedial procedures due to an infection I have gotten as a result of the surgery.

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#42
In reply to #40

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 5:23 PM

Talking about why "health" is so expensive in the US: you were given a new sealed inhaler costing 120 bucks, you used one dose (2$) and the rest (118$) was destroyed... imagine this done all over the country hundreds of times with the same or even more expensive medications! Add over-prescription of exams and lab tests, fraud, etc, to the list and ask yourself who this beneficiates: not you for sure...

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#43
In reply to #42

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 5:54 PM

So true! But, how to change it?

In the case of the inhaler, the plastic housing is very likely more expensive to manufacture than the drugs it contains. The amount of drugs dispensed is minuscule.

But inhalers come in contact with the patient's mouth, so they can't be reused. The drug companies would never allow them to be given to the patient because that cuts in to the obscene profits they make on drugs. Profits that are bestowed on the companies by politicians who have been paid by the drug companies and their lobbyists, who are many times former law makers.

Our system of government is perverse and I see no way to reign it in so that it is fair to the common voter.

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#44
In reply to #43

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 7:51 PM

I never considered re using it in another patient, but if you take that medicine on a regular basis, the inhaler should have been given to you; helping to reduce the cost of your ambulatory treatment, which is covered in part (or in full) by your health insurance company. At the end, all the medicines that are waisted are paid by (guess who!)

The question now is if the hospital can (or is willing) to do that... (probably not!)

On the other hand, It is as you say: the plastic housing is probably certainly more expensive than the drug contained within, but it is a high tech component, meant to deliver exact amounts of the medicine every time you inhale it.

I performed surgeries in many places: USA, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Vietnam and most South American countries and it is amazing to see how big the medical waist bags are after each procedure are in certain countries!

Just a little example: in Germany, at a well known hospital I worked at, every suture stich was made using one packet of suture containing one needle and 20 inches of thread. After the knot was tied, the remaining thread (90%) was cut off and throwed away! Depending on the procedure we used 20 or 30 packets. In poorer countries, all the thread is used and a new packet is opened only if necessary. How many are needed? perhaps 4 or 5 packets! The paradox is that less waist does not necessarily mean a poorer quality of the surgery or a unsafer procedure.

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#18

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 1:15 AM

Right now thinking back, in 2005 I left a company after 20+ years with being completely stressed out. It was supposed to be a 6 month deal to start with, 20+ years later I was still doing an inside sales engineering job. I am a fabricator, designer, electrical designer and a machinist. I used to design and build automated production equipment until they moved to Mexico. This was in 1976.

Fast forward to today, I ended up in 2005 going to work for an electric boat company. Not having any idea what that meant I met a head hunter. Got the job, they build electric boats. Using batteries as the propulsion system. Felt I was going back wards at first being used to 3 phase up to 33KV, Anyways It was a small company, or so I thought, been around since 1893 and debued at the Worlds fair in 1893 with electric boats to cart people around the fair.

In 2008 after a major down turn in sales, Bob shut down the Company in the midst of designing the drop in drive I just installed a prototype in a sail boat for Hunter in FL.

They too were in trouble as on my way to FL they had laid off 300 employees.

We went through with the install. I came home, Bob shut down the company.

Took a job that wanted an electrician. What comes to your mind? In the end I ended up designing all of their control panels and the entire electrical infrastructure including a new 19,200-480 3Ph 3500KVA transformer.

In the end they received $250,000.00 from the electric company, and $250,000.00 from NYSERDA for the work I did with the AC drives and all other high effeciency products, soft starts, lighting and everything else. Remember, this was an electrician job. Any way, They went out of business in 2010 and as they did another guy bought Elco and wanted to meet, I am back at Elco since and we now have Outboards as well as 6 - 100 HP inboard drop in drives.

If I was t go on an interview at my age, I can guarantee you I would have to retire if Elco was to ever go under. But, I think we have the edge and I will be employed till I die at my desk, shop or on my CAD.

Hey, the guy who bought this company from General Dynamics I still work with,

He is 82, sharp as a tack and one of the most intelligent people I have ever met.

So we old people have to make damn sure that these companies out there know we know a hell of a lot more than these new kids on the block.

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#19

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 6:15 AM

I'm retired (forced out) since 2007. I'm happy not working for anyone and I don't consult any longer. I do get requests for bids on consulting jobs, I usually just put an unreasonable (see Government pay scales ) hourly quote and see what happens. Once in a while someone bites at the rate because they are desperate. I have yet to find one of those that would be worth the money.

There certainly some fields that age is a badge of honor and respect, but I fear that as the older employees, that understand that concept, either retire or are down-sized themselves, we see a self fulfilling prophesy in the making.

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#57
In reply to #19

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

09/25/2014 10:00 AM

After being down sized(for the 3rd time) and a little time working for someone else, I started a company with a few partners-now down to one only. Took on a totally different industry in doing so. As someone "new" I brought a different perspective, and as someone "old", I brought most of the know-how of what it takes to operate a business-adherence to all the statutory and regulatory rules and regulations-and all the contacts required as well(except of course the "sales" end).

It was my experience in various different industries, i.e., the "grey power", that let me do this. As for retiring,,, it is difficult to do when you "own", I'm still working on my exit plan.

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#20

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 6:58 AM

After age of 60 human loose stamina for physical work also they have lesser memory. Best thing would be to work as consultant for few hours in day and take rest. Enjoy retired life if you can afford it.

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#21
In reply to #20

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 7:40 AM

That may be true in a literal sense, and may hold in your country. But around here, so many young people are unwilling to get their hands dirty, it's discouraging. A friend at work told me about his teenage son quitting a job at [large grocery store] because his friends convinced him it was 'slave labor'.

What was your other point? Oh yeah, memory loss - can't argue with you on that one.

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#23

Re: Taking on the grey ceiling

08/29/2014 9:34 AM

Australian Government initiatives to punch a hole in the grey ceiling ....
while not a great amount, it was a worthwhile start in the 2012/2013 budget.

The workforce participation measures include:

  • Up to $10.0 million over four years for a Jobs Bonus scheme, which provides a $1000 bonus for up to 10 000 employers who take on a worker aged 50 years or over for at least three months
  • $15.6 million over four years for the expansion of the Corporate Champions initiative, which supports a number of employers in their recruitment and retention of mature age workers
  • $25.7 million over four years to provide intensive Job Services Australia (JSA) employment preparation assistance to job seekers aged over 55 years who are seeking employment in regions or industries that are prioritised by the Government
  • $35.0 million over four years towards improving the skills of workers aged 50 years and over through the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF)
  • $225.6 million over five years to support increased child care through the Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance (JETCCFA) program for parents on eligible income support payments who are undertaking work, study or job search activities and
  • $59.6 million over four years to Australian Disability Enterprises to continue existing support for workers with disability in supported employment.
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#41

Re: Taking on the Grey Ceiling

08/29/2014 3:04 PM

I wonder what companies who believe that older workers aren't innovative, can't keep up, etc., etc., would say of Steve Jobs? He was 52 when Apple introduced his brainchild, the iPhone; 55 years old when they introduced another Jobs brainchild, the iPad. Imagine that: some old geezer coming up with two of the most successful products in the history of consumer electronics.

Companies who toss older workers into the ash heap are like a fool who saves his hard-earned cash only to take it out of the bank and burn it when he thinks the bills are 'too old to be worth anything.'

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#45

Re: Taking on the Grey Ceiling

08/29/2014 9:11 PM

I have found over the years that big companies get rid of older workers as a cost cutting measure. The older worker is usually making top dollar and can be replaced by someone just out of college for a fraction of the cost. The younger worker has a longer work potential. Training can vary depending on the intelligence of the worker; whether he is a quick or slow learner. He usually has been hired on a trial basis of 3 months and a 1 year probation period. Another factor that is often overlooked is whether it is a union job or not. At one place I worked for, the semi-professional workforce (drafters, checkers, CAD workers), were all union. The engineers were not union. They would clash regularly. The non-union engineers couldn't wait for the union workers to do their job, so they did it for them. This would lead to protests and even strikes. I knew many of these non-union people and they lived up to their reputation of lax-a-daisy attitude. Many breaks, laziness, work at a controlled pace, etc. This was one of the worse companies I ever worked for. I'm sure there are others. It was quite obvious when the over budget figures were in, why it was so. Over costs were in the millions. I won't name the company, but I can say they are in the shipbuilding business.

Some jobs are not suitable for older workers. An engineer who works at a desk all day and doesn't have to expend much physical activity can be an asset. Those who have to go into the field, climb ladders, travel over-night need to be physically fit; a job better served by the younger worker. In one sense, older workers may not fair well due to the rapidly changing technologies around us. I came up in the 50's shipbuilding era. It has changed so much today that what I knew then would not be of much use now. In my case, I would need retraining. At my age of 80, I am not thinking of going back to work although I sometimes miss the marine environment.

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#48
In reply to #45

Re: Taking on the Grey Ceiling

08/30/2014 6:57 AM

You are right. Unions every where have same attitude. Rather is big job destroyer than job saver. Many industrialist will prefer to have minimum work force so as to have bigger union, they would rather invest in expensive machine instead of hiring additional worker. Unions will fight out cases of unreasonable demands of workers on filmsy ground. Go on strike frequently and create chaos.

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#46

Re: Taking on the Grey Ceiling

08/29/2014 11:45 PM

The grey ceiling can have a green tint.
I am listening to a football game on the radio and a commentator has just said that a certain player should give up the game and retire .... he is almost 26. Yes, if he did retire at the end of the season, it frees up the salary cap, so maybe 2 new up and coming kids can get onto the team list and make a bigger contribution.
It seems that even the young have their own grey ceiling issues!

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#51

Re: Taking on the Grey Ceiling

08/31/2014 5:43 PM

This discussion brings up another interesting point. Older workers usually served as mentors to the newer and younger workers. Even after retirement, they were available as mentors. Now that things have changed, those who would serve as mentors, will keep their knowledge and experience to themselves rather than share it. They are usually known as "consultants". I know several engineers who either retired or were laid-off that became consultants to the same company that once hired them and are now making more money than ever before. I could have gone that route, but decided I wanted my free time more.

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#52
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Re: Taking on the Grey Ceiling

08/31/2014 9:12 PM

It's good that older retired or laid-off workers have this option, for those who wish to keep a hand in. At least in some industries.

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#53

Re: Taking on the Grey Ceiling

09/01/2014 12:08 PM

Having been part of a hiring team where I have worked for quite some time now, I can attest to the fact that there are a significant number of employers that have wrongly embraced "behavorial based" interviews in the past that overlook experience qualifications.

The behaviorial-based hiring interviews are largely based on the personality traits of the prospective employee with very little focus on experience and/or schooling.

We have a three page questionaire that is issued by HR and executed by a three-person team with an HR representative present during the interview.

Unless the interviewing team makes the extra effort before the interview to submit technical questions and/or hands-on testing for HR approval, the interview is restricted to behaviorial-based only.

In the past we ended up with way more younger workers using only the bahaviorial-based interview system.

However we have become much smarter due to all of the inherent workplace issues from doing this and now we are hiring a higher number of older, experienced workers to mentor and guide our future work force.

Hopefully we continue the trend and do not abandon it anytime soon as it is really starting to pay off now.

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#54
In reply to #53

Re: Taking on the Grey Ceiling

09/01/2014 2:30 PM

Good on you and your team! One can only hope that this trend will take hold generally.

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#55

Re: Taking on the Grey Ceiling

09/01/2014 9:22 PM

And I knew of a woman forced to retire when she turned 65. Decided to continue working--went down the street and got a similar job, and then retired from that 40 years later. (True story.)

--JMM

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