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(BusinessWeek)   It's time to see older workers as an asset, not just as a source of food and replacement organs   (businessweek.com) divider line 47
    More: Interesting, RAND Corp., defined benefit, Economic sector, business cycles, employment discrimination, Corporate America, National Bureau of Economic Research, elderly woman  
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963 clicks; posted to Business » on 07 Aug 2012 at 11:30 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-08-07 09:16:42 AM
Yeah, it's about time. I already gave up my gall bladder. I'm keeping the rest.
 
vpb [TotalFark]
2012-08-07 09:50:39 AM
Yes, we need to do something about the crippling labor shortage.
 
2012-08-07 10:43:48 AM
Who wants old organs? I want new, fresh ones...
 
2012-08-07 10:45:28 AM

Tell Me How My Blog Tastes: Who wants old organs? I want new, fresh ones...



I'm gonna have TONS of kids, btw.
 
2012-08-07 11:04:07 AM

Tell Me How My Blog Tastes: Who wants old organs? I want new, fresh ones...


Exactly.
 
2012-08-07 11:31:43 AM
Assest which are 40 years out of date and barely know of the existence of modern technology.
 
2012-08-07 11:37:04 AM

Lost Thought 00: Assest which are 40 years out of date and barely know of the existence of modern technology.


One of our best IT consultants is in his 60s. Damn sharp and I'd wager he knows more about modern technology that you ever will.

/Also about punch cards, token ring, and organic farming.
 
2012-08-07 11:41:30 AM
I need some greybeards to teach all my highly-educated/completely-inexperienced software team how to code for the real world.

/"I tested it. I put in valid data and it works. Ship it."
 
2012-08-07 11:42:03 AM

Lost Thought 00: Assest which are 40 years out of date and barely know of the existence of modern technology.


But an endless and invaluable source of outdated racial, ethnic, and sex-based slang and epithets. Where else are you going to learn words like "niglets" and "coont-eyed"?
 
2012-08-07 11:44:16 AM
Well here is one guy you don't have to worry about taking your job.
Been retired almost three years, I'm not going back.
I envy your age, but I don't envy the fact that you have years to go in the workforce.
 
2012-08-07 11:44:57 AM
But food and replacement organs are assets. I certainly carry them on MY balance sheet that way.
 
2012-08-07 11:54:08 AM

tricycleracer: I need some greybeards to teach all my highly-educated/completely-inexperienced software team how to code for the real world.

/"I tested it. I put in valid data and it works. Ship it."


Are those the "greybeards" or your newb programmers who are saying that? In the real world, they should be testing what would happen when you put in invalid data.
 
2012-08-07 11:58:51 AM

meanmutton: Lost Thought 00: Assest which are 40 years out of date and barely know of the existence of modern technology.

One of our best IT consultants is in his 60s. Damn sharp and I'd wager he knows more about modern technology that you ever will.

/Also about punch cards, token ring, and organic farming.


He is the exception, and you know it. For every awesome older IT guy, there are 5 wastes up space counting down the days until retirement and draining resources.
 
2012-08-07 12:03:44 PM
True story:

Company lays off all the old workers since they're expensive. I'm kind of old, but not that old, so I move up the seniority ladder. We have a cheap six cylinder engine that came into being circa 1982. Currently very popular in emerging markets. The powers that be come to me and go "You know what would be awesome, if we made some adjustments to that power train, do you know anyone with expertise with that engine?"

"Why yes I do, do you know those old dudes you fired? They designed it."
"Oh well, I'm sure you can figure it out."
"You know the part where you had security walk them out? They didn't even have time to tell us where the blueprints are stored."
"I'm sure they're on the server."
"What part of this was designed in 1982 are you not getting?"

Guess who got hired in as contractors at 3x their previous salary (plus a nice signing bonus as an apology for having security walk them out that one time)? You keep a nice cross section of your old guys around to preserve institutional knowledge and continuity. Yes the young guys do most of the bleeding edge stuff, you need someone whose main skill is they know the system.
 
2012-08-07 12:04:05 PM
All boomers will be 65 and older by 2030.

When did boomers include people born in 1965? I thought it ended in 1945?
 
2012-08-07 12:09:44 PM
I'm the (relatively) new guy (been here 5 years now) learning as much as he can from the old guy that is retiring in less than 6 months, so I'm getting a very big kick from this story. Hell, it's why I was hired in the first place, to learn the system before the guy that designed most of it retires.

No one wants him to retire, but he's done. He checked out last year, and has been coasting until he hits retirement.
 
2012-08-07 12:19:11 PM

Uzzah: Lost Thought 00: Assest which are 40 years out of date and barely know of the existence of modern technology.

But an endless and invaluable source of outdated racial, ethnic, and sex-based slang and epithets. Where else are you going to learn words like "niglets" and "coont-eyed"?


I think you're confusing 60-somethings with teenagers on XBox Live.
 
2012-08-07 12:21:15 PM

MacEnvy: meanmutton: Lost Thought 00: Assest which are 40 years out of date and barely know of the existence of modern technology.

One of our best IT consultants is in his 60s. Damn sharp and I'd wager he knows more about modern technology that you ever will.

/Also about punch cards, token ring, and organic farming.

He is the exception, and you know it. For every awesome older IT guy, there are 5 wastes up space counting down the days until retirement and draining resources.


But that's entirely the point. Just because the dude is 60-whatever doesn't mean he is useless. There are wastes of space of every age. Too many people say "shiat, you're 65, you'll be useless so I'll hire this 22-year-old instead".
 
2012-08-07 12:23:16 PM

Arkanaut: tricycleracer: I need some greybeards to teach all my highly-educated/completely-inexperienced software team how to code for the real world.

/"I tested it. I put in valid data and it works. Ship it."

Are those the "greybeards" or your newb programmers who are saying that? In the real world, they should be testing what would happen when you put in invalid data.


Sounds like newb talk to me.
 
2012-08-07 12:24:16 PM

Dreyelle: All boomers will be 65 and older by 2030.

When did boomers include people born in 1965? I thought it ended in 1945?


Official Boomer birth years - 1946-1964.
 
2012-08-07 12:29:33 PM
feed the old to the young. Recycle.
 
2012-08-07 12:35:36 PM
It's a good thing for businesses that they've all but eliminated entry level work and crashed the economy so people who would have retired by now are trying to plump up their retirement savings.

/We don't need to train anyone.
//We just hire experience when we need it.
///What do you mean there's no experience left?
 
2012-08-07 12:38:13 PM

jso2897: Dreyelle: All boomers will be 65 and older by 2030.

When did boomers include people born in 1965? I thought it ended in 1945?

Official Boomer birth years - 1946-1964.


Oh...oops.
 
2012-08-07 01:35:24 PM

Arkanaut: tricycleracer: I need some greybeards to teach all my highly-educated/completely-inexperienced software team how to code for the real world.

/"I tested it. I put in valid data and it works. Ship it."

Are those the "greybeards" or your newb programmers who are saying that? In the real world, they should be testing what would happen when you put in invalid data.


Clearly, it's the newbs who are saying that, and he needs the greybeards to teach them how to test the software properly. And apparently you need a greybeard like me to teach you how to read.
 
2012-08-07 02:19:52 PM

Dreyelle: All boomers will be 65 and older by 2030.

When did boomers include people born in 1965? I thought it ended in 1945?


More like '45 through '55.

/ born in '50; probably going to die in harness.
// at least I don't have to do any heavy lifting.
 
2012-08-07 02:50:27 PM

Dreyelle: jso2897: Dreyelle: All boomers will be 65 and older by 2030.

When did boomers include people born in 1965? I thought it ended in 1945?

Official Boomer birth years - 1946-1964.

Oh...oops.


20 years after WWII ended. Evidently, the greatest generation liked to fark a lot.
 
2012-08-07 03:01:15 PM
As the youngest of the "old guys" where I work who tried (and failed) to get some young blood hired in the last go-round, I'm getting a kick out of fixing the crap designed by the "experience hired as needed" idiots.

/and some OT.
 
2012-08-07 03:08:14 PM

Lost Thought 00: Assest which are 40 years out of date and barely know of the existence of modern technology.


My Android application that interfaces a smartphone and a military-grade laser rangefinding binocular via Bluetooth to display observer and target position on an OpenStreetMap begs to differ.
 
2012-08-07 03:14:57 PM

Arkanaut: tricycleracer: I need some greybeards to teach all my highly-educated/completely-inexperienced software team how to code for the real world.

/"I tested it. I put in valid data and it works. Ship it."

Are those the "greybeards" or your newb programmers who are saying that? In the real world, they should be testing what would happen when you put in invalid data.


Funnest time I ever had programming was when I coded a random-data generator to output via an RS-232 port and fed that into our project's control terminal input and let it rip. Unbelievable the stuff that it broke and the flaws that it uncovered, but after we fixed it all and fielded it, that system never went down.
 
2012-08-07 03:38:56 PM

jjorsett: Funnest time I ever had programming was when I coded a random-data generator to output via an RS-232 port and fed that into our project's control terminal input and let it rip. Unbelievable the stuff that it broke and the flaws that it uncovered, but after we fixed it all and fielded it, that system never went down.


Ask the newest crop of 'experts' about that and they'll ask "What's RS-232?"

/On a good day, I can still remember the pinouts on some vacuum tubes
 
2012-08-07 03:48:33 PM

dofus: Ask the newest crop of 'experts' about that and they'll ask "What's RS-232?"


And I'd tell them, "Those are the ports where you hook up a Model 33 Teletype so that you can load your program using its punch-tape reader." :-)
 
2012-08-07 03:52:42 PM

jjorsett: dofus: Ask the newest crop of 'experts' about that and they'll ask "What's RS-232?"

And I'd tell them, "Those are the ports where you hook up a Model 33 Teletype so that you can load your program using its punch-tape reader." :-)


That'd be a 110 baud ASR-33 and it's paper tape. And no, I didn't go look that up.
 
2012-08-07 04:31:47 PM

MacEnvy: meanmutton: Lost Thought 00: Assest which are 40 years out of date and barely know of the existence of modern technology.

One of our best IT consultants is in his 60s. Damn sharp and I'd wager he knows more about modern technology that you ever will.

/Also about punch cards, token ring, and organic farming.

He is the exception, and you know it. For every awesome older IT guy, there are 5 wastes up space counting down the days until retirement and draining resources.


So what you are saying is that in 30 or 40 years you will be dumber and/or worth less than you are today? I had nowhere near the skillset 20 years ago that I have today, but 20 years ago I believed what you just expressed. I also voted the same way as you. Really. Those old guys know a lot more things about a lot more stuff than you do. Unless...you don't work for a union outfit, do you? Where I work, there are no wastes of space. Useless, ineffective, incompetent = long gone. For the most part...
 
2012-08-07 04:33:26 PM

dofus: jjorsett: Funnest time I ever had programming was when I coded a random-data generator to output via an RS-232 port and fed that into our project's control terminal input and let it rip. Unbelievable the stuff that it broke and the flaws that it uncovered, but after we fixed it all and fielded it, that system never went down.

Ask the newest crop of 'experts' about that and they'll ask "What's RS-232?"

/On a good day, I can still remember the pinouts on some vacuum tubes


I think I need to hook some of you old geezers up with the elderly woman in the office next door to me that keeps the AS/400 up and running.
 
2012-08-07 04:34:09 PM

dofus: jjorsett: Funnest time I ever had programming was when I coded a random-data generator to output via an RS-232 port and fed that into our project's control terminal input and let it rip. Unbelievable the stuff that it broke and the flaws that it uncovered, but after we fixed it all and fielded it, that system never went down.

Ask the newest crop of 'experts' about that and they'll ask "What's RS-232?"

/On a good day, I can still remember the pinouts on some vacuum tubes


It's something the PLC programmers use. GigE has become a god unto itself.
 
2012-08-07 04:35:24 PM
Not quite 50 yet but I can certainly see it from here. In IT terms, definitely in the "greybeard" range. I make a comfortable living now pushing the "old and wise" consultant meme. Teaching the stuff it took me 25 years of trial and error to figure out is almost better than breaking stuff for a living.

CSB: recent client team had an age range from still-in-college to one guy my age. Guess took the curriculum and ran with it, finding new stuff that even I hadn't tried? Don't give up on us old farts just yet.
 
2012-08-07 05:28:08 PM
If you're in tech, a recruiter won't even talk to you if they find out you're over 50.
 
2012-08-07 05:43:57 PM

praxcelis: Not quite 50 yet but I can certainly see it from here. In IT terms, definitely in the "greybeard" range. I make a comfortable living now pushing the "old and wise" consultant meme. Teaching the stuff it took me 25 years of trial and error to figure out is almost better than breaking stuff for a living.

CSB: recent client team had an age range from still-in-college to one guy my age. Guess took the curriculum and ran with it, finding new stuff that even I hadn't tried? Don't give up on us old farts just yet.


What kind of breaking stuff did you do? I'm a compliance eng., so I zap, burn, bake, vibrate, pull, weigh down, shake, freeze, under-power, over-power, mis-power, drop, spray water or chemicals on, create faults, and do all sorts of ugly stuff to perfectly good products. But on most days I work on reports, POs, invoices, project scheduling, schematic and circuit board layouts, construction reviews, endless meetings, argue requirements, argue them again, explain that "no really, we have to meet this", then argue some more, work on procedures, work up safety markings, study what I don't know, maintain certs, bicker with NRTLs, etc. The breaking stuff part can be fun. Sometimes it requires a poker face when reporting the results...that's an area where experience helps.
 
2012-08-07 05:56:36 PM

lilbjorn: f you're in tech, a recruiter won't even talk to you if they find out you're over 50.


The won't talk to you, period, tech or not if you're over 50.

Age discrimination is rampant these days. No one wants to hire someone that will retire in 15 years and check out five years before that date.

Which makes no sense, given the turnover rate at some places these days. I think IT turnover was 2-7 years before an employee moved on to somewhere else.
 
2012-08-07 06:37:48 PM
One of the most useful things about older people is they don't totally lose it, emotionally, when things are not going their way. I'm at a company with lots of middle aged people who were left after waves of layoffs sent the young folks packing or scrambling. No more tears in the ladies' room, men yelling and thumping their fists on tables during meetings, or huge emo drama.

There was one older lady I was glad to see go because she was reluctant to try anything new, but the rest of the crew is chugging along quite nicely.

Oh yeah, and we have to support technology that goes into devices that can be used for decades, like airplanes and medical equipment. So, firing the braintrust is not a good idea.
 
2012-08-07 06:48:31 PM
Retired in 08 at 53. Found part-time work on the net. The business deductions keep me from giving those people more money than they deserve.
 
2012-08-07 07:05:26 PM

Big_Fat_Liar: What kind of breaking stuff did you do? I'm a compliance eng., so I zap, burn, bake, vibrate, pull, weigh down, shake, freeze, under-power, over-power, mis-power, drop, spray water or chemicals on, create faults, and do all sorts of ugly stuff to perfectly good products.


Now your job sounds like a lot of fun. I break software, mostly by doing Very Bad Things or sometimes throwing a massive volume of Perfectly Ordinary Things to see what makes a site fall down. While I've got good war stories of taking [familiar name].com off the air during a test, I don't get the satisfaction you do of seeing the physical destruction side of things.
 
2012-08-07 10:58:00 PM
I work at a hospital in medical imaging.

The vast majority of workers over the age of 60 at my hospital are a liability and negatively affect our workflow. They work very slowly, they struggle with the technology to the point where I'm spending a lot of my time trying to clean up their mistakes, and they bog down moral with the constant crap about how we should be getting pensions and how they're angry that they don't get covered parking and that the raises this year aren't nearly high enough. They are not an asset and we would be better off if we traded them in for 30 year olds.

I'm not sure if it is this way everywhere, but it is certainly that way in the particular hospital I work at.
 
2012-08-08 06:11:40 AM

Xetal: I work at a hospital in medical imaging.

The vast majority of workers over the age of 60 at my hospital are a liability and negatively affect our workflow. They work very slowly, they struggle with the technology to the point where I'm spending a lot of my time trying to clean up their mistakes, and they bog down moral with the constant crap about how we should be getting pensions and how they're angry that they don't get covered parking and that the raises this year aren't nearly high enough. They are not an asset and we would be better off if we traded them in for 30 year olds.

I'm not sure if it is this way everywhere, but it is certainly that way in the particular hospital I work at.


So what you're saying is you're aiming to retire by 60 for the good of the hospital, right?
 
2012-08-08 10:14:14 AM

ha-ha-guy: you need someone whose main skill is they know the system.


You also need to make sure they document what they know. If they won't do it themselves, pay a younger guy follow them around taking notes while they tell stories, and assemble the notes into something legible. Old guys LOVE to tell stories about their glory days and show off their treasure troves.

/middle-aged guy.
//not paid to take notes, so I don't.
 
2012-08-08 12:56:23 PM
I work with a 64 year old POS who does nothing but read magazines, talk shiat and rat everybody else out. I think the company is afraid to fire him because he'll sue for age discrimination.
 
2012-08-08 01:02:43 PM

DECMATH: ha-ha-guy: you need someone whose main skill is they know the system.

You also need to make sure they document what they know. If they won't do it themselves, pay a younger guy follow them around taking notes while they tell stories, and assemble the notes into something legible. Old guys LOVE to tell stories about their glory days and show off their treasure troves.


Over the course of a decade I've "enjoyed" the exact same stories 5 or 6 times from one engineer where I work. He tells them slowly too. Good times...I'll try to remember if I start doing that...don't think I'll succeed...
 
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