Retirement needn’t mean the end of work

There are lots of jobs out there for older workers, and volunteering – as well as part-time work – accounts for a good number of them.

Barbara Barb Bowes Transitions
Barbara Bowes

I have had three very different conversations with older workers this past week. I spoke with a retired friend of mine who, two years into retirement, wants to return to work. While he has enjoyed his winter sports and looks forward to golfing season, he really misses interacting with people.

Still another friend, age 68-plus, in good health and still operating his own business, told me he doesn’t plan to retire ever. The third gentleman informed me he has stepped down from partnership in his accounting firm and is slowly graduating into retirement, a three- to five-year process.

There’s more to it than money
As you see, there appear to be a multitude of strategies older workers are using to retain their lifestyle.

On the other hand, bank surveys are continuing to show that many respondents are returning to the workforce to supplement their income. Perhaps they didn’t save enough for retirement or they have unfortunately gone through a late-life divorce and don’t have the money needed to retire.

Part-time work is thus a growing sector of the economy, providing benefits for retirees.

Part-time work offers a chance to continue working without the heavy workload.
Part-time work offers a chance to continue working without the heavy workload.

One reason for this growth, in my view, is that public perceptions about temporary workers has changed. No longer does this sector simply consist of low-end clerical jobs. According to Kevin Gill, president of StaffMax, a leading staffing agency, many of the workers are technical professionals with salaries up to $100,000. As well, many corporations are seeing the benefit of hiring temporary workers as a way to assess the need for a full time employee, but even more as a means of transferring all the time and effort used for recruitment to the shoulders of a recruiter and away from the corporation.

Still, who says “work” needs to be paid? There is a huge need for volunteers. Volunteering lets you continue to lead a rewarding life by pursing a cause that is important to you. Perhaps you didn’t have time to join an advocacy group and now you do. There are many volunteer groups in every industry sector, education, the environment, social services and health.

For instance, one of the popular volunteer roles at the airport is the Goldwing ambassadors who donate their time to assist passengers and other airport visitors. They are a welcome sight when you are coming back from a trip.

Winnipeg also has organizations such as Winnipeg Harvest and/or the Mennonite Central Committee thrift stores. Each of these organizations is actually a “business” that operates with a large volunteer workforce. There are roles for cashiers, stock sorters, customer service representatives, supervisors and team leaders.

And of course, there is always a need for volunteers to sit on a board of directors to oversee the entire operation. They need volunteers with good organizational skills, good customer service skills, and a strong desire and passion for their particular cause. Volunteering also benefits your own mental and physical health by placing you in a positive environment with positive relationships, all working toward the same goal.

You call the shot
The great thing about part-time work and/or volunteering is that you are always in control of your time. You set the schedule that works best for you. Going on vacation? No problem. Want to work more hours this week versus next? No problem. Do you want to take on more responsibility? No problem.

Many people I know are working part-time and volunteering; in fact, some say they are so busy in retirement, they don’t know how they had time for a full-time job!

Barbara J. Bowes is president of Legacy Bowes Group in Winnipeg. She is also a radio host, author and professional speaker. She can be reached at

Let's talk...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s