The story of two older workers

It was one of those rare pre-dawn dreams that only last a few minutes but get stuck in your brain. Some kind of warning or warning.

Most likely embellished by my active imagination, but here’s how I remember it …

He was laboriously working in one of those huge Big Box stores, promoting free samples of a popular hot cereal, from a large display of end caps, when I spotted him.

He was a thin old man, dressed in a drooping black uniform. His long face was on a slump from looking old and sad. His eyes were distant, as if he was somewhere other than the present moment. A few strands of white hair protruded under the brim of a black baseball cap.

“Get your free samples here,” he said, showing a box of his product to a few passers-by. His voice was as robotic and bland as his sales pitch. “Good things,” he added. He opened the box tightly and poured the contents of a packet of oatmeal into a white paper bowl.

A few curious customers approached the portable metal table that served as a platform for the sampler. It was my cue to head to the snack aisle to complete my mission, buying the best peanut butter stuffed pretzels in the world.

When I returned to the end cap display, surely no more than two minutes later, the mood and energy had changed. A dozen clients, all wide-eyed, pressed firmly against the thin old man’s workstation. They listened intently as he regaled them with some story. I was just close enough to hear bits of what he was saying.

“Yes, I used to have a national radio show … music … of all kinds …”

A few of the older customers, apparently music fans, buzzed enthusiastically:

“I remember the show …”

“Great show. It was you?”

Apparently it was.

The skinny old man continued to exhibit and gesture, his eyes now bright enough to light up an entire music hall.

“He’s tied to his passion for life, his muse,” I thought.

Finally, a woman wearing a Beatles 62 t-shirt exclaimed, “Why did you leave the company?

The thin old man stopped, frozen in thought. After an eternity of silence, his shoulders dropped again and he resumed his behavior as a witness.

“They don’t want you when you’re old,” said the skinny old man sadly.

“No, they don’t,” I thought. I shook my head sadly. “You can’t always kill a man by depriving him of the passion of his life. But you can get close to it.

And that’s when I woke up, awash in an overwhelming sense of remorse for the misfortune of my phantom friend. It was just a dream, I told myself. But a fatalistic part of me replied, “It might be you in a few years. Aged, relegated to underemployment.

Not if I can help him. No older worker should have to give up their dream job.

Then there is the cold reality.

Like the skinny old man, Sharon Courtot shares a message about older workers in the workforce. His story, however, turns out to be different from that of The Thin Old Man.

For much of her life, Courtot felt that she had a calling to help others. But like many people, a dream job, however vague, remained at bay. Reality came first. First the marriage, then the children – five to be exact. And when there are children, mom and dad usually have to sacrifice their own desires for the sake of their families. This is the case with Courtot. A fulfilling career will have to wait.

She took on jobs that offered a living wage, were located close to home and school, and offered flexible hours.

The children grew up, Courtot grew up, the dream job, well, it floated so far, a cloud that you never catch.

But as she would soon find out, a soul cries out to be heard. Her soul cried out “I want to help others.” Every day became a struggle, as she tried to fit into a totally unsatisfying world of work.

“I feel like I’m selling my soul for money,” she said to herself. The days melted into forgettable months and then into years, until frustration became a personal demon.

His deep-rooted passion for helping others could have ended there, much as the slim old man’s career in music radio ended at a bit display in a big box store.

The children have grown up; evolved. The age of 50 came and went. Her desire to help others stayed on within her, waiting to catch fire.

But what exactly could she do for a career? The answer came in a series of small steps. First, she took a self-help course, hoping to find the answer to her question. During a class, she struck up a conversation with a nearby student. Eventually, their conversation led to a discussion of “the great questions of life”. His classmate suggested that Courtot see a “reader,” that is, an “intuitive,” someone who has the ability to see, feel, feel, or know something about another. individual without knowing how he knows it.

She did it.

Now at 59, Courtot is a full-time, intuitive life coach, helping others find themselves and work their souls. She explains, “An intuitive life coach uses different modalities than a traditional life coach. An intuitive coach uses his intuition to guide the client, and / or tarot cards or other divination tools like oracle cards. A traditional coach does not use other modalities.

She is living proof that older workers can reinvent themselves later in life and create the job of their dreams.

“My business was born out of a deep desire to have a purpose.

I couldn’t be happier, ”she says. “Once I started to think of myself as a ‘reader’ of a business, it all started to line up. It starts with knowing that you deserve what you want, act like it’s already happening, and redirect your thinking to productive, non-limiting thoughts.

Like Sharon Courtot, the skinny old man in my dream had one goal: music radio. What he lacked, however, was his courage, self-confidence and, most importantly, a game plan for success.

He is not alone. It’s no secret that older workers struggle to find or create meaningful work – often a job they dream of – as they move into their 50s, 60s, and beyond. Some simply give up on their career dreams and settle for a job that pays the bills but ruins their creativity and imagination.

It is not fair.

That is why I decided to do something to help other skinny old people, other “settlers” of work. For most of the past three months, I have researched the often polarizing and controversial topic of aging and employment. I have examined data, read countless articles, interviewed experts and others with experience as displaced workers. Most importantly, I took a hard look at myself and my career. I asked myself “Am I a working settler like the thin old man?” “

From this mountain of information, I have crafted a game plan that can help older workers keep or create a dream job, a job that lights up the soul. I will share with you my discoveries, my employment tools and my game plan. If you are an older worker, I hope this helps you to live out your career dreams forever.

In the next column, I will clarify the critical differences between an “old” and an “older worker”. Stereotypes of both abound in the world of work; I’ll start to identify the unique gifts that an older worker brings to the workforce.


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