April 6th, 2011

CBS Sunday Morning hosted by Charles Osgood is one of the most eclectic shows on television. Beautifully produced, the segments are topical, of human interest, and occasionally feature captivating oddities that are both heartwarming and enlightening.

A recent segment featured unemployed older workers and their desperate search for career and job opportunities. Their persistence was inspiring and their stories frightening. Here were experienced people with tremendous skills who were suddenly out of a job because experience took a backseat to cheaper hires of people with practically no experience whatsoever. As one commentator made clear, ” Its not about experience or loyalty. Its about cheaper.”

Thats business today.The effect of younger, unexperienced workers in positions of management has yet to reveal the broader impact on the bottom line of businesses who hire these people. In most studies, younger workers seem to lack a work ethic developed over the years by older workers. This ethic is the ability to think outside the rigorous boundaries that seduce younger workers into complacency.

Younger workers are less likely to be patient, lacking seasoned understanding of employees concerns.

Many workers over the age of fifty will never work again. If thats the case, and studies are conclusive, what is this country going to do about it? There are millions of these baby boomers that may never find employment unless its a part time, semi often, no guarantee of longevity temporary hire.

What happens when these people begin to default on their lives. Will the pain be too much causing breakdowns and social instability? What will the government do because they have just as much as stake as the unemployed older workers? Its older workers votes and activism that determine most political outcomes. And with their livelihoods at stake, government will need to take notice of whats happening to people who still have the energy and the ability to perform successfully in the work place even though their longevity with the company means higher pay and because of that salary, they may be fired or downsized.

The ripple effect is contagious. Both the private sector and the government need to deal with this burgeoning problem now before this developing crises becomes unmanageable and financially devastating to the nation and the millions of older unemployed who may never work again.

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