For the last 15 years we were invited by our friends, M and V to their birthdays’, to their children birthdays’ parties, to Christmas lunches, to Australia Day lunches etc. We meet their parents, aunties and uncles, all of them in their late seventies, early eighties, all of them very active, eating, drinking and enjoying the parties. As a joke, I used to call these events, “The Geriatric Parties”, although I admire very much their vitality, intelligence, wisdom and mainly their “joie de vivre”!
I am going to refer to the IT people in their late fifties, early sixties because I am in both: in IT and early sixties. Now, the majority of us are employed full time or contracting, as project managers, database administrators, solution architects, infrastructure specialists, applications owners, etc. and it seems perfectly normal to be part of the IT workforce. In my opinion there are only two issues with this picture:
- If you are made redundant or your contract comes to an end it is very hard to find a new job/contract. Normally you will believe that with your experience in IT, with the knowledge accumulated in 35-40 years of work will be pretty easy to get the next job, but it is not. You will get replies from the employment agencies or directly from the employing companies, stating that you are over qualified for the position or that they are looking for a specific skill that you do not have, but the truth is very simple: you do not get the job because you are in the late fifties early sixties bracket and you are classified as a geriatric!
- The market for very short contracts/consulting jobs is almost inexistent and I strongly believe that many companies will greatly benefit from such jobs. Let me explain: a lot of IT specialists in my age bracket will be very interested in short term consulting jobs, where they can share their work experience and can be very valuable assets, but at the same time they can enjoy one or two months breaks between contracts.
There are many solutions for the issues mentioned above; I just want to highlight several:
- Educating the business owners, CEOs, stakeholders about the existence/presence of this important senior workforce, via conferences, emails, articles, social media
- Contact your parliament and senate members and request a national program, government sponsored for senior IT personnel
- Find investors, brave enough to finance a “senior” only IT company!
And if you do not believe me, just watch a fantastic movie starring Robert de Niro called: The Intern”!
I was called “an aging rock star” or as my T-shirt mentioned: “a geriatric hippie” and I am happy to be both, but I know that I can add value and experience to any IT company interested of having an enterprise architect as a consultant, knowing that I am also an infrastructure architect, a data and applications architect, a backup architect and a decent UNIX/Linux SME.
I can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org