"FRANKLY, I'M BORED"
BY JEANINE "J.T." O'DONNELL AND DALE DAUTEN
Dear J.T. & Dale: What are your thoughts on part-time employment for older retirees? I'm in good health, and frankly, I'm bored. I have a BS in engineering, have taught automotive engineering, operated an automotive business, and am a certified auto technician. -- Howard
DALE: Your question reminds me of a man I met who owned an engine-repair business. He needed part-time help and hired a retiree, and was so delighted with the result, that he went to the local senior center and put job ads on the bulletin board. My point is this: There are jobs waiting for you.
J.T.: But which one? Because you're motivated by boredom, we want you to find something enlivening. Start by asking yourself: "What jobs/tasks in my past have brought me great personal satisfaction?" Don't limit it to just your professional career. Also ask, "What things am I fascinated by and want to learn more about?" Once you have some answers together, visit the www.jtanddale.com blog and click on the Career Resources page. There, you'll find a link to the Career Interests Game provided for FREE by the University of Missouri's Career Center, which will offer you insights on the jobs that will be most rewarding to you.
DALE: Next, you simply start researching companies online and sending e-mail inquiries, as well as networking with your friends. You might suppose that networking will be useless; after all, your old colleagues are probably retired. But those retired colleagues have working children -- so, over time, your network was expanding, all by itself.
J.T.: Once you start exploring, you never know where it will take you: I had a client who was retired and going crazy with boredom. He didn't see himself returning to corporate life and was struggling to narrow his focus and find work that would fit his new lifestyle. After answering questions like those I just mentioned, we learned two important things about his past and his future: One, he loved the time he had spent training employees; and two, he enjoyed using a computer. We came up with the idea that he could teach a computer class to fellow retirees in the community where he lived. He posted a notice and started giving lessons. Soon after, he had a regular class, and he now teaches at the local community college.
DALE: Here's the upshot, for you and other bored retirees. You have time and knowledge. You probably don't need a lot of benefits, and you don't need a career. Thus, in the eyes of the right employer, what you are offering is pure help, no strings attached. There is someone out there who's overworked, but who isn't ready for, or can't afford, a full-time person, who needs that help. You are needed. Get your name out there, and someone is going to be thanking the heavens that you appeared.
Dear J.T. & Dale: I was fired for reasons I felt were inappropriate. I applied for unemployment, my former employer objected, I appealed, and won the appeal. I am suing for inappropriate dismissal (breach of contract). I also am applying for new jobs. Should I even apply for a position out of town until the lawsuit is over? -- Kim
J.T.: I'm sorry to hear about your situation. I hope it isn't taking too much of a toll on you psychologically, because a lawsuit can be quite draining.
DALE: And to let it limit your job search will only make it more so. I don't know anything about your suit, but, odds are, it's a long shot. Maybe you're the exception, but these things typically drag on for years and your willingness to pay attorneys (or their willingness to work against the eventual payout) might dim. So I'd urge you to think of it as, say, investing in a friend's start-up business or writing a novel -- sure, something wonderful might be coming to you, but don't let it slow you down, waiting.
J.T.: Agreed. Waiting around for the lawsuit to finish means all your energy will be focused on a negative experience. The sooner you get back to doing what you love, the better off you'll be.
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Jeanine "J.T." Tanner O'Donnell is a professional development specialist and founder of the consulting firm jtodonnell.com. Dale Dauten's latest book is "(Great) Employees Only: How Gifted Bosses Hire and De-Hire Their Way to Success" (John Wiley & Sons). Please visit them at jtanddale.com, where you can send questions via e-mail, or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th St, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019.
(c) 2008 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.