Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the August 21, 2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Even At Retirement Age, Career Planning Still Counts
Marian Stoltz-Loike is not so much a career changer
as she is a career surfer, riding demographic waves for fun and profit.
She worked parttime when her four children were small, and friends
were forever asking; "`How do you do it?’" Trained as a psychologist
(B.A., Harvard; Ph.D. NYU), she turned the question into a business,
doing consulting on work and family issues to companies.
Now her friends, Baby Boomers many of them, are pondering the big
"R" question. Should they retire? Or maybe just scale back?
"Boomers are all over the place," Stoltz-Loike says. Some
are retired already. Some, especially women, didn’t enter the workplace
until they were in their 40s, and consider themselves to be fresh
employees on the move. Others — men and women alike — thought
retirement was right around the corner, but cratered 401 (k) plans
coupled with historically low returns on safer investments — CDs,
Treasury Bills and the like — have abruptly pushed thoughts of
cruises and fishing trips into the background.
Once again, Stoltz-Loike has listened to all the questions, and turned
them into a business. Called SeniorThinking, it consults to companies
on how to be senior-friendly and how to get the most out of an intergenerational
On Tuesday, August 27, at 7 p.m. she speaks on "Invest in a Masterpiece..You:
A Workshop to Supercharge Your Career" at the Lawrence Center
for Mind-Body-Spirit at 1213 Lawrence Road. Cost: $50. Call 609-730-1049.
Shortly after news of a record-breaking, multi-million dollar lottery,
Stoltz-Loike and her friends played a mind game: What would you do
if you won the lottery? Would you retire?
The response from her friends, she says, was "I don’t want to
stop working." And it’s a good thing, too. Not just for them,
but for their employers. In a number of government agencies, she says,
quoting statistics from the Labor Department, 40 percent of all employees
are over 50. For many utility companies the figure is higher still.
In the pharmaceutical industry, it is 35 to 40 percent; in healthcare,
over 50 percent.
What will employers do in 5 to 10 years if those workers decide to
head for the links en masse? In five years, 27.6 percent of the workforce
will be over 50. During that same time period, the labor force is
projected to grow just .1 percent. "There will be 150 million
jobs by 2006, but only 141 million people to fill them," says
Stoltz-Loike. For older workers this means opportunity, if they play
their cards right: What, for example, do they need to do to remain
valued employees? And how can those who have lost their jobs in this
recession be hired for good positions? Stoltz-Loike offers these suggestions:
are tech savvy, but not in the way that 20-year-olds are," says
Stoltz-Loike. Being proud of yourself for being able to turn out a
letter on a computer is no longer nearly enough. At a minimum, expertise
in Word, Access, Powerpoint, and Excel are essential, as is an ability
to surf the Internet with ease.
range of programs and services offered by any good-sized library.
Take advantage of lectures, information sessions, and tech training,
she says. Other good places to go to boost skills are the Small Business
Administration, the YWCA or YMCA, community colleges, learning annexes,
alumni offices, and the state Department of Labor.
gotten his first razor after Clinton left the White House, but many
employers are now open to offering internship to Boomers as well as
to college students and recent grads. If you are able to live on the
low — or non-existent — pay, this could be an excellent way
to learn new skills and to get a foot in the door.
go into a degree program thinking "`Hey, this will open another
door,’" says Stoltz-Loike, asking, "Would you hire somebody
with that attitude?" Whether you are looking into an MBA or an
RN or a Ph.D., be sure, she says, that you are doing so because you
have a passion for the work. If you do, your age may not be a problem,
particularly in an area such as nursing where there is now tremendous
Classes, seminars, workshops, they all look good on a resume or at
review time at your current job. Those who take courses tend to look
fresh and eager — a good look for a Boomer competing with workers
young enough to be his children.
Stoltz-Loike, at 46 years old, sounds startled when asked about her
own retirement plans. "I just started my new business. I’m so
involved in getting it off the ground," still sounding like a
boomer who refuses to grow old.
— Kathleen McGinn Spring
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.