Tag Archives: adult internships

21st Century Skills For Older Workers

Older Worker

Older WorkerIn an era where people in the West are living longer and healthier lives, older workers  not only can – but often choose – to remain in the workforce longer or return to work post-retirement.

The numbers speak for themselves. In the UK, over 50s now make up nearly one third (31%) of the entire workforce, up from around one in five (21%) in the early 1990s. In the US, two age groups – 65 to 74 years old and 75 and older – are projected to have faster annual rates of labor force growth than that of any others.

A consensus is emerging that if we are to benefit from the value that older workers can bring to the workforce, businesses will need to adjust their hiring practices and rethink their commitment to things like flexible hours and re-training programmes.  So too will our concept of education need to evolve, to place even greater emphasis on life-long learning and multi-generational classrooms.

But to do this, we we will also need to rethink the sorts of skills these workers need if they are to remain “fit for purpose” in this changing workforce..and how to obtain them.

Read the rest of this post over at the Oxford Institute of Population Ageing blog

Image: Man sitting on chair beside table by Bruce Mars via Pexels

Tips For Adulthood: Five New Trends In Work

Every Wednesday I offer tips for adulthood.

Lately, I’ve been struck by how much the nature of work seems to be changing right now.

Not just because of the seemingly endless recession that’s sapping all of our jobs and igniting political and social change across the globe.

But also because the very definition of work – what it means and how it’s carried out – seems to be in so much flux.

To wit, here are five new trends in the way we conduct work:

1. Offices are a thing of the past. These days, it’s all about the virtual company. Abolishing most – if not all – of a company’s physical space saves a ton of money. It’s also ecologically friendly, productivity-enhancing (no commute!) and tends to make workers happier. As this fascinating case study of Inc. magazine details, there are some hurdles companies need to overcome as they transition to the virtual office (i.e. how to maintain a vibrant organizational culture.) And you definitely don’t want to do it if you have children or other dependents at home while you’re trying to work. But at least for certain jobs, telecommuting  is emerging as an efficient business model, according to the latest research.

2. If you need to set up an office, shared work space is where it’s at. With independent workers now comprising a full 30% of the workforce in the United States, shared office spaces – the term of art is coffice – are proliferating around the globe. (Why do I love this term so much? I think it’s because it reminds me of coffee.) Apparently, coffices have become particularly attractive for female entrepreneurs, as a space in which to network and share ideas.

3. Think in terms of income streams, not jobs. This comes from career coach Ford R. Myers, author of Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring. Some 6.9 million Americans, or 4.8 percent of the U.S. workforce, hold multiple jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But Myers says that this doesn’t necessarily mean that all of these people are working a double shift just to pay the bills. Rather, they are more likely doing part-time contract work, running a side business, or teaching a course – in short, building flexibility into their work life – by thinking in terms of multiple income streams, rather than multiple jobs. Or, as blogger and business communications guru Chris Brogan puts it, work will be more modular in natureSounds good to me.

4. Working fewer hours can make you more productive. Yeah, yeah. I know. We’ve heard it all before. The Four Hour Work Week and all that good stuff. But it turns out that it might be true. According to a recent study in published in Psychological Review, the key to great success is working harder in short bursts of time. Researchers found that across professions, productivity is enhanced when you work in short, highly-focused bursts with no distractions, rather than across long periods of time. As someone who’s always put in long days, this is music to my ears.

5. Internships aren’t just for college kids anymore. Rather, unpaid adult internships are the new normal. This is either exciting vis à vis the whole concept of “second acts.” Or just a horrifying sign of the dire economic straits in which we find ourselves. But it’s a reality. In a country with an unemployment rate hovering steadily just below 10%, more and more college graduates and even middle-aged professionals are willing to work for free in hopes that it will help them land a paying gig. Yikes.

Image: Day 308/365  – Rough Day At The Office by Kevin H. via Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

Friday Pix: Recommended Reading for the Weekend

This Friday I direct you to some recommended reading around the blogosphere:

1. One of my hobby horses is how the reality of socialized medicine often differs from the rhetoric surrounding it. So I was intrigued by the New York Times’ David Leonhart’s analysis of rationing in the U.S. health care system.

2. As we settle in to the second year of this recession, I was delighted to discover – via a friend – Daniel Seddiqui’s fascinating blog Living the Map: 50 Jobs in 50 States, in which he recounts his attempt to “try on” 50 different careers in 50 different states. Equally heartening  was this piece in the Guardian discussing the boom in adult internships here in the U.K. I’m a big fan of experimenting with different careers. Way to go!

3. My writer/journalist friend here in London, DD Guttenplan, has a new book out entitled American Radical: The Life and Times of IF Stone, about America’s premier investigative journalist of the 20th century. At a time when print journalism appears to be going the way of the travel agent, it’s instructive to learn about one man’s relentless quest for the truth and to ponder its resonances today. Listen to this interview with the author on Democracy Now.

4. Finally, because we all love to laugh, I was really pleased to happen upon this satirical blog about politics (mostly aimed at a British audience): Anna Raccoon. I also got a kick out of Middle Aged Cranky‘s rant against technology.

Enjoy your weekend!

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