Winning in the Workplace

11/17/2011 09:02 am ET

It's disheartening to see how much ageism there is in the workplace. We all hear so many stories about our friends, relatives and co-workers being shown the door as the emphasis on younger workers makes them supposedly superfluous.

So, it was great to read two stories this week about valuing experience, skills and wisdom and acknowledging that more-seasoned workers are not only useful, but often necessary.

USA Today headlined a Page One news story, "States want to tap boomers' skills. No time to relax: Retirees' experience in high demand." The story reports that several states are actively recruiting or studying recruiting baby boomers for paid and volunteer jobs. It's a diverse list of states, including Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Wyoming.

The story begins by stating that the wave of baby boomers getting to retirement age "threatens to create such a void in the workforce that states are crafting policies and programs to keep older Americans working and volunteering."


Also in my stack of reading was "BusinessWeek SmallBiz," with a long feature titled, "Boomerang CEOs: More Entrepreneurs Are Coming Out of Retirement To Help Run their Children's Business." As a parent whose offspring increasingly recognize that parents may know something about business after all, it was great to read the profiles of various company founders and officers who recruited their parents to guide them. There were unique sets of challenges (sidebar tips included "when major confrontations are brewing trying not to hash them out in front of staff" and "discuss work/family boundaries"), but the success stories were great to read.

So, now we have states and offspring with growing businesses actively recruiting seasoned boomers to enhance, improve and run businesses. These are win-win situations, and I sure hope we see corporate America stepping back to move forward, as well.