THE BLOG
09/09/2013 11:16 am ET | Updated Nov 09, 2013

The Case for Hiring Boomers -- An Open Letter to Employers

Dear Employers:

I am feeling a little schizophrenic this morning after reading two online posts:

1) This report on how hard it is for workers age 55+ to find new employment if they are laid off.

2) A report by the Building Movement Project confirming what I know to be true -- retiring nonprofit administrators still wish to continue to contribute in a meaningful way to their communities but in nonmanagement positions with fewer responsibilities and less stress.

I can relate to both realities, and I am struggling to navigate the two. As I voluntarily transitioned out of my 13-year role as ED of Kids' Turn (www.kidsturn.org), I fully intended to find part-time work where I can continue to apply my proven skills to the benefit of San Francisco Bay Area families. It's been a real challenge.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining. I fully anticipated the difficulty when I self-initiated the change last summer. I am fortunate to have a supportive, patient husband who encourages my creative approach to finding a meaningful professional role for my life's 'second act.' I know the work is out there, and I will find something eventually. (Or... I go sell popcorn at our neighborhood theatre up the street; plus the local hardware store has a Help Wanted sign in the window.)

But others are not as fortunate as I am. We Boomers have much to offer in the way of life experience, mentoring and skills. We can hit the ground running in our chosen fields. We are not high-maintenance and we aren't addicted to checking social media in the workplace. We may have a learning curve when it comes to newer technology innovations, but most of us took typing in high school, so we have the basic skill needed to work a keyboard. Our personalities are no longer evolving -- we are who we present ourselves to be.

We are dependable and we show up on time. And we don't twerk.

In the mid-1990's, I was the founding Executive Director of Disability Resources, Inc. in Reno, Nevada. We operated one of the most successful supported employment programs in Northern Nevada, helping people with barriers to work find meaningful jobs. A valuable lesson for me in that setting was this: It's easy to find job candidates who can put the round pegs in the round holes. It's harder to find candidates who have the personal aptitude and emotional intelligence skills to get along in the workplace.

I never forgot that lesson in all the years I did hiring. When reviewing applications for positions, I always tried to find the backstory in resumes that disclosed the humanness of the candidate. I would say this approach worked well in most cases.

So I'm not giving up. I have a very interesting and compelling backstory. An online computer program cannot extrapolate that story from my resume. (I don't even apply for positions where I know a computer is doing the preliminary resume review.) I know human-to-human interface is critical to employment success, and I'll find a setting that shares and practices the same value. Stay tuned.

This blog was first posted here: http://www.myfavoriteteachersf.com/My-Blogs.html