So, you’re in your late 50’s or early 60’s, you’ve retired and lucky you or smart you, you have saved enough money to pack it in at work and do what you want.

Or maybe, the picture is not so rosy…and you have been laid off and finding similar work at the same good rate of pay is challenging.

The third case is that you have been off work for a few years and it is just downright tough finding much of anything. Issues like ageism, or the fact that your skill set is not what is needed in today’s marketplace.

These are some various scenarios that face us. Those over 55, struggle to find work. In fact, CARP (The Canadian Association of Retired Professionals) has made it their mandate to educate employers on the benefits of hiring those of us who are 55 plus.

In an article on CARP’s website, they quote a study done by HRSDC (Human Resources and Services Development Canada) state, “On average, older workers have more difficulty keeping their jobs, finding re-employment and tend to stay unemployed longer once they’re out of the workforce.” (1)
(1) Expert Panel on Older Workers, “Supporting and Engaging Older Workers in the New Economy,”

There are numerous reasons to hire older workers and there are several barriers that make finding work more challenging than ever before.

But…all hope is not lost. If you are over 55, there are several things you can do to stay vital, engaged and hopeful.

The first thing is to be in the mindset of “Creating” your own economy. Banish the notion of age being a barrier, youth today have it just as tough. They can’t find jobs suitable to their education and not only that, they have an OSAP or school loan to pay off. Both youth and older workers are the two segments of the population who are starting a business more than any other segment.

They are creating their own economy…

One thing you can do is take stock of your talents, your experiences, the lives you’ve touched and tap into your truest passion and make something of it.

Case Study One:
Take for example my friend Wenda. She is in her mid-sixties; she is still vibrant and has energy. Her work on the planet isn’t done yet.

After a career is adult education, working with entrepreneur’s and start-ups in various government training programs and having a career helping anyone from youth to those with a disability launch their own venture…Wenda has taken the same leap.

She too found the idea of obtaining steady good work challenging. She washed her hands of the notion of being under-employed and under paid and began to find her passion. She loves taking photography, nature shots, birds, and nature. She takes some fabulous pictures along the trail at Lynde Shores in Whitby.

But she has developed a new passion for art and photography. This fall she has gone back to school part-time, to study art. Painting, drawing and learning to understand concepts of perspective, detail, dimensional images…she is about to create her own economy, with an eye on selling her work one day.

Below are some samples of Wenda’s work…she is loving her art course…

Case Study Two:
Shishir Lakhani is an amazing man. He had his own company for years. He started from nothing having immigrated to Canada in the early 70’s. He nudged his way into a job and eventually bought out the very company he started work with in his beginning days in Canada.

Shishir eventually retired due to a heart health issue. If you were to meet him, he is vibrant, does Yoga with his wife, is active, a family man, he travels regularly with his wife, he volunteers his time with Heart and Stroke, he speaks professionally, he is a very active member of Toastmaster’s International, an international organization that helps you become a better public speaker.

Shishir is involved in his Richmond Hill community, he is a networker and connector…recently he taught a group of young entrepreneurs I work with. Here he is in his late 60’s and he is giving back.

Now, something else, you must know about Shishir is he is a business consultant with A-S-E…the Association of Senior Executives. So, what does A-S-E do? Good question…Associated Senior Executives of Canada (ASE) is a Toronto based group of experienced retired business executives and entrepreneurs. We offer low cost practical business advice to improve business.

We are a volunteer organization devoted to helping small and medium sized independent businesses. Our vision is to volunteer our time and give back to society. We offer practical low cost advice to entrepreneurs, act as sounding boards and pass on our experience and wisdom gained over many years.

Members volunteer their time and advice as a way of giving something back to the business community that helped make them successful. Since its formation in 1963, ASE has advised hundreds of clients in ways to improve and develop their businesses or in starting new business opportunities.

If you are an entrepreneur you might be lucky to get the advice of a team of retired professionals, (Shishir included). Who will give you 90 minutes’ worth of ideas, advice and contacts to help you turbo charge your business.

Shishir in action:

Here is the bottom line, if you are going through a challenge as far as work goes, step back, take stock, do an inventory of your skills, loves and passions. Lead with that moving forward. You might be surprised that you might be able to make a living while doing something that moves and excites you.

Until next month. Do well!