Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thank Goodness For Companies Like This...!

At least there are still some companies that believe the older folks can still be of use!

When you think of all the business experience some people could share with younger employees, not to mention management, it's a shame so many are forced to leave their jobs just because of age! Here's a story from the Chronicle that highlights just how these "older employees" can contribute!

To thrive past 65
Geezerfest celebrates workers who keep going strong at advanced ages

Jan. 28, 2011, 11:32AM

Just because there's snow on the roof doesn't mean there's no — well, you know the rest.

That old saw took a slightly different twist Thursday when a bunch of old guys gathered over a catered lunch to swap stories, boast of successes and demonstrate that meaningful work doesn't have to end at age 65.

The event was the 3rd Annual GeezerFest, hosted by Venturetech, a Houston oilfield equipment business that makes a point to hire ex-convicts, recovering substance abusers, old-timers and others who otherwise might be deemed unemployable.

This year's fest honored equipment designer Jim Strickland, who recently turned 82. Strickland, a gray-thatched but robust man who kayaks in his spare time, joined the company 12 years ago after being laid off by his previous employer.

"Older workers, obviously, have valuable experience," said Venturetech chief Larry Keast, who argues that companies that force employees out the door at 65 are only cheating themselves. "I'm out to educate small-company CEOs that giving old-timers a second chance is good for their companies and for the workers."
Good years are ahead

To further that end, America in Recovery, a non-profit organization established by Keast, operates a free Internet job clearinghouse for seniors at

"When you reach a certain age with some companies, they think you're through," Strickland said. "Those may actually be your best years. I feel I have done some of my best work in the last 12 years."

Strickland was pushing 70 when he was pink-slipped, and the job loss was devastating. For three months he futilely hunted for a job in his profession, working Christmas holiday stints at a big box retailer to tide him over.

He found his current job by answering an employment advertisement in the newspaper.

"I just didn't fall into this job," he said. "It was a considerable effort to find something."

Three Venturetech employees out of a workforce of about 30 are older than 65, including Keast, who is 67.

Thursday's GeezerFest, which doubled as Venturetech's monthly employee appreciation luncheon, drew a handful of other old-timers - company customers, former co-workers and friends. Gathered around folding tables on the workshop floor, they dined on chicken casserole and green beans, and chewed the fat about their past and future lives.

On hand were Cecil Kirkland, 87, who operates a family oilfield service company and buys equipment from Venturetech, and longtime pilot, Hollis McAdams, 83.

"When I was 58, I thought about retiring," Kirkland said. "But playing golf, fishing and hunting got tiring after a while." After five years of "semi-retirement," he said, he went back to work. "I still go out on the jobs."
Active alongside son

McAdams, a longtime oil-industry pilot, now works with his son manufacturing electronic metronome-tuners, which help musicians set tempo and tone.

"I ship and receive, handle quality control, take parts and assemble them and talk with customers," he said of his duties, which he handles from a workshop in his home.

"I never just did a job," he said. "I'd be building boats and airplanes. My dad and I built race boats - and we'd win. ... I've worked all my life. I've never entertained the thought of stopping. Sometimes I pause."

McAdams lauded Keast as "totally unique" and had sharp words for businessmen who fail to discern the potential in hiring older workers.

"There's a lot of leaders who don't have much vision," he said.

Kirkland, five years Strickland's senior, offered the younger man advice.

"Just hang in there," he said. "A job is good for your health and brain. It keeps you sharp. Don't quit work. Most guys go and sit in a rocking chair - they don't have any hobbies - and a few years later they send them to the cemetery."

Sound advice, perhaps, but it fell on deaf ears.

Strickland insists he will retire - just as soon as he hits 95.

You know, in some of the more "primitive" cultures age is revered and respected! The advice and knowledge of the elders is sought out, their wisdom taken to heart. In this manner, time proven ways were not lost, but handed down from generation to generation.

However, now days we are much too often managed by those that already know-it-all...and need no advice at all from anyone! People of advanced years are considered "disposable" and the knowledge they possess considered "useless"! What a crock!

Maybe it's time for some of us to become just a little more "primitive", ya think?

C'mon, friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen. You can trust me...I'm old! Not necessarily wise, just older! OK?


Catman said...

Very cool, Jim. Unfortunately, with the way things are going some of us will never have the opportunity to retire.

We'll be forced to work until we drop.

HermitJim said...

Hey Catman...
I hear ya, my friend!

Sad that so many folks are financially forced to keep on working. Taxed the whole time as well!

Hey, thanks for coming by today!

Ben in Texas said...

I don' consider myself old quite yet, only 65 (in two months). Shoot when I was in my early 50's company's won't hire me for computer software and hardware support. Said I didn't have the formal education for it. Hell, I/we built this stuff and wrote the book on how it works.
But now at our "advanced age" we are "out of touch"? BS,., we've forgotten more than these kids even know today.

But I refuse to TWEET!! or what ever it is. :-)
(Sadly, a stroke wiped out a LOT of that memory but at 50 I could still write code with the best of them)

Sixbears said...

Old ain't dead.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagin not working. I'm clockin' on 60 this year and I often say to the guys in the bar "Hey, I'm old, not slow."


Ken said...

...age is irrelevant to productivity...good to know some folks know this

Dizzy-Dick said...

I am now getting to that age (will be 68 in a couple of weeks) that I now realize that I don't know it all. Of course, maybe I did but have forgotten it all. (grin)

HermitJim said...

Hey Ben...
Good example of wisdom lost and overlooked! Their loss, I'd say!

It's a shame, but more prevalent than some folks know!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by today!

Hey Sixbears...
I agree with you there! Most cases it's not even close!

I appreciate the visit today, buddy!

Hey AV...
Wine is considered better with age, cheese is aged on purpose, whiskey is considered "aged" to be the best!

People, however, are considered less productive with added years! Crazy!

Thanks for dropping in today!

Hey Ken...
Nice to know some companies can see the potential, isn't it?

Maybe there is hope after all!

Thanks for the visit, my friend!

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
Now that I can associate with!

What's the old saying..."I've forgotten more than you'll ever know"?

Maybe it's true sometimes!

Thanks, Dizzy, for coming by!

Anonymous said...

My dad worked until he was 84, he did not get old until he was 85. He was down to about 20 hours a week when he did retire, but it was enough to keep him mentally and pretty much physically fit. I'll retire when they carry me out. Until then I'll fight the physical decline with more exercise and the mental decline by learning as many new things as I can.

Bob from Athens said...

Been building houses for about thirty years, Imagine what I thought AND SAID to this young *&^%$# of about 45 whom I was working for recently when she told me to shut up and do as I was told. Because she had sold five houses and knew all she needed to know, and I outa pay attention and learn something! Hell, I've eaten enough saw dust to build more houses than that!

HermitJim said...

Hey Anon 10:10...
I've seen folks sort of go downhill after they retire, simply because they don't feel needed anymore!

That's really sad!

We all should try and learn something new each and every day! That's just my opinion!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Bob...
Sometimes I think it's more about a power trip than anything else! Young folks just wanting to "be the boss" regardless, ya know?

All I can say to folks like knock yourself out!

Thanks for the visit, my friend!