My step-Dad retired in his early 50’s. A graduate of Berkeley and a successful software engineer for two leading global technology companies, he was fortunate enough to save and invest wisely and do what many of us only hope and dream we can do.
Now almost 70 and living in a new community, he wants to meet new people, make some social connections and stay active (he’s still an avid hiker). A part-time job seemed like the perfect solution. He’s personable, smart, kind, hard-working and honest. He’s good with numbers, technology and people. Who wouldn’t want to hire someone that fits this description? But he is retired, and he wants to keep it that way. So a full-time job is not of interest.
Recently he interviewed for a front desk clerk position at a boutique hotel where he lives. According to my Mom (and I have no reason to doubt her), he looked like a million bucks…the ultimate Concierge. The hotel owner loved him. He engaged with the guests telling stories inserting his sharp wit where appropriate. From the looks of it, it appeared to be a perfect match. Hired? Not quite. Unfortunately, the position that was offered to him was full-time, 2nd shift and five days per week. A little extra cash would be nice but my step-Dad doesn’t really need the money. His motivation for re-entering the workforce was primarily social. But he doesn’t want to work full-time and he doesn’t want to give up dinners at home with my Mom every night so it’s a non-starter.
What’s the lesson here?
The landscape of work is changing. Smart companies that get the value of re-imagining when and how work gets done to include the part-time worker profile, will win in today’s competitive consumer market. We have a generation of smart, able and loyal talent that is being overlooked. If businesses want to be agile, particularly in the retail and hospitality industries, they will re-think the “ideal employee” and find creative ways to enable nontraditional talent to contribute to the bottom line and strengthen their brand.