Atlantic Canada — Work may be scarce for young Atlantic Canadians, but there is some positive news on the employment front: more baby boomers than ever are successfully getting jobs as soon as they retire from their lifelong careers.
“I was a nurse for 40 years,” said Marilyn Clark, 66, of Fredericton. “When I retired, I never dreamed I’d land a job right away in the fast-growing tech sector. Now, instead of puttering around at home planting a garden or playing with my grandchildren, I get to sell electronics part-time at The Source in the mall. It feels good to learn be learning these new skills at my age.”
Bob Mersereau, 65, said he attended a group interview at La Senza, also at the mall, and found himself competing against his granddaughter for the same minimum-wage sales position.
“She’s 21 — what does she know about selling lingerie?” he said. “I’ve spent my whole adult life convincing women they look good in clothes that they really look like crap in. Luckily the manager could see that I was the more qualified candidate and hired me. I gotta say, it’ll be great to have the extra income to fund my annual vacations to Florida.”
We spoke with Anna, Mersereau’s granddaughter.
“It’s sooo hard to get a job around here! I was pretty confident when I got a call back for that group interview,” she recounted. “When I saw Grandpa there, though, I knew I might as well give up — he’s very used to getting what he wants. And he’s always telling me to be thankful for what I’ve got… but what I’ve got is a ton of student debt and no way of paying it down. He’d better at least put some extra birthday money in my card this year.”
Many educated young Canadians say they can’t get jobs in any field, because baby boomers won’t retire, and if they do retire, they’re then snatching up the few available entry-level positions.
“I’m 31, I have two degrees, and I can’t even get a job at Walmart,” said Ian Smith. “My mom retired from teaching and now she’s a part-time cashier there. They didn’t even contact me for an interview!”
Ian’s mother Dorothy, 62, doesn’t see it as taking a job from her own son. “He’s living in my basement anyway, so why does he need to work? I can provide for him until I retire from my retirement job — likely when I’m in my 80s or 90s.”
Martha Dundern, 65, believes the reason employers are choosing to hire baby boomers is simple. “They know we won’t complain about our schedule, or ask for a raise, or demand benefits — because we don’t need these jobs. It’s just a nice pastime for us, a way to kill time and keep our minds sharp. I find working is even more effective than crossword puzzles for that.”
Dundern then resumed slowly stocking the shelves at Sobeys where she managed to beat out 15 people in their 20s and 30s for the job.
“Hon, could you help me put this on the top shelf?” she asked our reporter. “I can’t seem to reach that high.”