Did you ever know an employer who, deep down, didn't want staff members with such traits as discipline, reliability, loyalty and respect for authority? Regardless of age?
Well, there is considerable discussion that there are about 12 million such people now in the American workplace. The bad news, employers say, is that each year about a million of them depart. So there is a constant goal of finding suitable replacements.
At issue here are not the younger people in the national work force but those who are age 60 and beyond. They're often the measuring sticks that employers use in judging and operating the rest of their staffs.
Technology may not be the older workers' strongest suit, even though most seem willing to try to master it. And there are health issues, even though modern medicine has weakened the impact of that factor. But the good far outweighs the bad.
Patty O'Connell is head of a human resources agency and goes out of her way to hire 60-and-up people, many of them in clerical and customer service jobs.
"They may no longer be looking to advance, but look what they bring to the party," O'Connell says. "They do their jobs, need little supervision, don't make personal phone calls, usually don't have older parents or kids at home. They do their jobs and do them well."
Not long ago, a national survey of employment sources took special note of the fact that so many younger workers anymore are more "temporary" and distracted because of their intention to survive and advance in a given field, with or without the company for which they currently are employed. Work habits, loyalty, reliability and team-consciousness too often are marginal or even lacking with such short-term workers.
Says Bruce Tulgan, founder of a management training firm titled RainmakerThinking, "They (older workers) represent a store of wisdom, emotional intelligence and institutional memory. To understand the new, you have to study the old." And, he adds, this pays big dividends for many companies.
Little wonder so many employers are more and more blending the old with the new and hanging onto the best of both groups as long as they can. Who wouldn't?