Bob MacDonald

Bob MacDonald

Not quite retiring

Old workers still going strong with many not yet ready to retire – or can afford it.

  • Dec. 25, 2013 7:00 p.m.

Bob MacDonald, 76, is working on his second career as a greeter at Uptown Wal-Mart.

He has a pension from 50 years working in the forest industry as a senior camp manager, but wasn’t ready to retire.

“I went home and drove my wife crazy,” he said.

MacDonald is among an increasing number of people over 65 who are choosing to remain in the workplace or returning to work after retirement.

“People used to retire, go home to their house in a neighbourhood where they’d lived all their lives and putter around the garden,” said Lynne England, executive director and advocate at Greater Victoria’s Seniors’ Entitlement Service

“It’s not the way now; it can be horribly isolating.”

England said the value of those older workers is tremendous. “They have years of experience and know how to get things done,” she added.

Neena Chappell, a professor of sociology at the University of Victoria, said it’s not just boredom that drives older workers but economics, too.

“Let’s face it, people are living longer and the economy is lousy. That pension may not be enough. We’re not talking Freedom 55 any longer. You’re lucky if it’s Freedom 85.”

The persistent presence of those older workers can present some challenges, however.

Dr. Lynn McDonald, a professor in the faculty of social work at the University of Toronto, cites a host of studies that report an increasing level of frustration from younger workers who feel that their own career paths are blocked by older workers who refuse to retire.

“My response to that?” said McDonald. “Tough … grow up.”

She said that younger workers have to realize that their older counterparts have worked hard to achieve their positions. “They worked their way up to where they are and don’t want to – or need to – retire. Why should they?”

McDonald said it’s a disingenuous argument that says this generation’s failure to advance in the workplace is due to the presence of older workers.

“There are numerous studies that indicate that the fault lies with this generations approach to work,” McDonald said.

“There’s no loyalty to the company with this generation. They jump from job to job, always thinking that their youth and education should move them to the top of the promotion ladder. That’s not the way things work.”

McDonald said younger workers also have the idea that they can maintain a healthy life/work balance with a heavy emphasis on the “life” part of that equation.

“It’s a different work ethic than the baby boomers.”

McDonald said young people must realize they, too, will age and their success will depend on how the work ethic they develop over the years.

“As it stands right now,” MacDonald said,” I’ve heard it time and time again, if you want something done, hire a baby boomer.”

As for MacDonald, his experience has been put to good use at Wal-Mart where he has also been involved with the health and safety committee.

But MacDonald thinks he may leave his job at Wal-Mart soon.

“I beat cancer back in 2011 and I’d like to give back by volunteering with the Canadian Cancer Society. They do great work, and I’ve still got a lot to offer.”

•••

Nearly one in five Canadian workers expect they will never be able to fully retire.

Compared to workers in a broad cross-section of 15 industrialized nations, Canadians are among the worst off.

Seventeen per cent of Canadian workers expect they’ll always have to work. This compares to the global figure of 12 per cent, according to The Future of Retirement: Life after Work, a large HSBC survey of people in Canada, Australia, France, Hong Kong, India and Mexico, among other countries. Canada rated just above the U.K. (19 per cent) and the U.S. (18 per cent).

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Friends have identified the man killed in Friday’s shooting in Metchosin as Shane Wilson. (Shane Wilson/Facebook)
West Shore RCMP continue to investigate shooting death in Metchosin

Man killed on Sooke Road Friday night identified by friends

Fire Chief Darren Hughes, right, pulls the old Firemans Park sign off ahead of the parks name change. The new sign for Firefighters Park is coming. (Oak Bay Fire Department Twitter)
Oak Bay changes the name of Fireman’s Park

New sign for Firefighter’s Park on the way

The WHL’s Victoria Royals will compete in a 24-game season starting March 26, <strong></strong>based out of a Kamloops and Kelowna B.C. division bubble (Kevin Light/Courtesy Victoria Royals)
‘Important to cherish every moment’: Victoria Royals not taking bubble season for granted

The Victoria WHL team’s coach and GM calls the season a ‘privilege,’ expects fierce rivalries

The Victoria Fire Department was able to contain a fire to one room after a bed placed directly against a heater ignited. (Black Press Media file photo)
Early morning Victoria balcony fire causes $20,000 in damages

Victoria Fire Department said nobody was injured in the fire on View Street

Postmark Group, an Edmonton-based development firm, bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year, and is reaching out to the community and local groups for feedback before they begin planning the designs for the development. (Photo contributed/Postmark Group)
Waterfront village development eyed for Sooke

Postmark Group development firm bought two properties at 6641 and 6643 Sooke Rd. last year

Const. Nancy Saggar, who has 11 years in policing, offers advice for other women who may pursue both policing and family. (Black Press Media file photo)
Pregnancy prompts sage advice from RCMP officer for women thinking about policing

West Shore constable with 11 years experience heads off on maternity leave

Montreal Canadiens right wing Paul Byron (41) fights for control of the puck with Vancouver Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes (43) during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Monday, March 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Captain Clutch: Horvat nets shootout winner as Canucks edge Habs 2-1

Vancouver, Montreal tangle again on Wednesday

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Anyone with information is asked to call Nanaimo RCMP at 250-754-2345 or contact Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-8477 or submitting a tip online at www.nanaimocrimestoppers.com.
21-year-old motorbike rider dies after crash with ATV on Nanaimo back road

Incident happened Sunday afternoon near Boomerang Lake

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Have thoughts on B.C.’s review of the provincial Police Act?

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Most Read