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Quietly returning to work? Find an organization that values your experience

If you’re considering returning to the workforce after retirement, you’re not alone. 

Of the 2.4 million additional Americans who retired during the first 18 months of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 1.5 million have returned to work in the last year. 

While “quiet quitting” – doing only as much as your job requires of you and no more – garners widespread attention, this “quiet returning” trend is your opportunity to help employers meet a need for experienced and engaged workers while meeting your own needs sending you back to work. 

As long as you pay attention to the culture of a company and avoid red flags that signal potential ageism, your return to work can be a promising win-win.

Why Return to Work After Retirement?

If retirement is considered the “end goal” of a career, why would you go back to work after achieving it?

According to a Q2 Joblist survey, the reasons are both financial and personal. While 27% of respondents said they’re going back to work because they “need the money,” and 21% said they’re concerned about inflation, a whopping 60% said they’re “looking for something to do.”

Needless to say, if you’re going back to work after retirement because of a desire to work, you’re likely looking for something different from a job than you were during your primary career. Maybe that’s more flexibility or fewer hours, or maybe it’s an emphasis on work you’re passionate about with less consideration for what’s most practical. 

Whatever your reasons for going back to work or your requirements of the job, make sure you’re on the lookout for signs of ageism in the workplace, and find a company that values the unique experiences and skills you bring to the table.

Watch Out for Age Discrimination: Red Flags to Look Out For

While age discrimination in the workplace is illegal in the U.S., examples of age discrimination – both overt and more subtle – still run rampant across the country. A 2020 AARP survey on the subject found that 78% of older workers have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace, a number that jumped 17% in only two years (and that was two years ago!).

So, how can you avoid age discrimination as you re-enter the workforce? Watch out for potential red flags:

  • A hiring manager hinting you might be “overqualified” for a role you’ve applied for. Often, this concern comes up when a potential employer is worried you might leave the role if you find a better one. You can help assuage that fear by noting that you’re applying because this is what you want to do, and not as a step toward something else. If the interviewer still seems apprehensive, you might want to consider how comfortable you would feel in the role and whether it’s the right fit for your needs.
  • The job posting might use language that speaks to a younger applicant. If the job posting describes the company or ideal employee using words like “high-energy” or “fast-paced,” there might be a bias – conscious or unconscious – toward younger applicants. Ask for clarification to get a better picture of whether this language is a product of the work to be done or the people doing it.
  • Older workers have recently been let go, while younger workers have recently been hired. If there’s evidence that older workers at an organization have recently been laid off or fired, but there have been recent announcements on LinkedIn or the organization’s website touting new hires who are clearly younger, be wary. If you can, try to connect with an employee or recent employee to get a sense for the company culture and whether the recent shift could be fueled by ageism.
  • The website is full of young faces. If the organization’s website or social media pages include employee photos, take a look at the mix. While a company made up of younger-looking workers doesn’t necessarily mean there’s ageism present, you may want to ask additional questions about policies and culture to ensure that you’ll be afforded the same level of flexibility as your peers.

While these examples might not point to age bias at a potential employer, they’re worth your attention. Be sure to ask questions that help you understand what you’re getting into so your quiet return is a triumphant one.

Quietly Return with Confidence with DEI-Focused Recruitment

You don’t have to navigate your return to the workforce alone! GreySource’s Certified Diversity Recruiters are ready to help you find the right fit for your experience and needs so you can go back to work with confidence.

Connect with us today: call 952-222-4150 or send a message.

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