What Fast Company Gets Wrong About Millennials and Retirees

April 19, 2016 Mike Lewis



In Fast Company’s latest article, Forget Millennials – Why you should hire someone over 55, I find one major point to be a problem. Can you guess what that might be? Keep reading.

While I am glad to see others finally getting on the band wagon, this is something we at YourEncore have known for almost 15 years.  We have successfully placed thousands of highly experienced and immediately effective resources who are in their 50’s and beyond.  We get it.

I, for one, am growing a little tired of hearing about this new recognition that “older” workers still have value.  Are you kidding me?  We have built our business on the value of experienced resources who have a passion for the work they do and a strong belief that they still have a noble cause to serve. Our Experts have a long list of accomplishments achieved for our Clients that could only have been realized through the efforts of a very experienced Expert.

Innovative thought, passion, flexibility, adaptability, conviction, and the drive to succeed doesn’t end at 55.  In fact, my experience with the Experts at YourEncore has proven that these are only heightened with the clarity of experience.  The reality is “retirement age” is an arbitrary number and the notion to me has always been a limiting factor for the workforce.

My Dad retired when he was 55 and is now 81.  He was offered earlier retirement and because he had reached what was defined as retirement age he thought his career was over.  He could have easily worked another 15 years bringing value to the students he taught. 

55 is not retirement age.  In fact, the history of establishing a retirement age heralds back to the late 1800’s in Germany.  In the US, we established the retirement age in 1935.  A lot has changed since then not the least of which is the average life span and the ability to live a healthy life well past retirement.

As someone who is approaching age 55 I find myself more capable and comfortable in my abilities to add value.  For me, my 50’s have represented a new beginning and in fact I just started at YourEncore last June.  I have no intention of retiring soon.  I am not defined by my age. 

The part of the article that does concern me is the title "Forget Millennials" – this seems to pit millennials against experienced workers. It is not an either/or proposition. All three of my children are millennials. I have a vested interest in their success, just as I do in the success of our Experts. They are very much a part of the Gig Economy, working one gig to the next as they make their way. I had the wonderful experience of introducing my daughter, who is a sophomore in college, to one of our Experts – my attempt to bring together the power of experience with the coachability of my daughter’s young mind. It is a powerful combination.  And to me that is where we need to get to.  It isn’t about Millennials VS. Experienced workers. The dialogue has to be about building the new workforce for the 21st century. The combination of both is what maximizes value, perpetuates knowledge, and drives innovation.

Just like we were way out ahead of the curve on the value of experienced Experts, I am confident that YourEncore will introduce a model that blends the power of millennials and those in their second careers.  I expect that shortly we will see articles about that and when we do I believe we will see significant growth in our economy. Read more here about the gig economy and its connection to talent.

About Mike Lewis: Mike is Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for YourEncore. He is passionate about connecting Life Science and Consumer Goods Clients with YourEncore Experts, bringing them the rich experience and technical know-how they need to address their business challenges via flexible resourcing and consulting engagements. He is an innovative sales and marketing leader who has successfully introduced new selling and marketing models that have transformed companies in the process. He is a thought leader in social selling and account based marketing and has leveraged both to grow company revenues and reputation.



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