It’s a sad but unavoidable truth that all of us are getting older every year, and the older we get, the more we have to strategize how we want the rest of our careers to play out. In tough economic times, it isn’t easy.
Nearly two years into the recession, shrinking nest eggs and the fear of skyrocketing health care costs are forcing late-career IT professionals to trade dreams of early retirement for the reality of toiling extra years in the workforce. Instead of channeling their energies to around-the-world travel, starting a new business or devoting time to volunteer work, many IT veterans find themselves either actively in the job market or desperately safeguarding their current employment.
That’s the assessment of Computerworld’s Beth Stackpole, whose long and fascinating article about older IT experts is serious food for thought. Stackpole goes down the trenches with 50-and 60-somethings to see what’s going on, and some of it isn’t pretty.
Budget cuts and layoffs have forced IT departments to make do with less, leaving older IT workers vulnerable to being replaced by younger employees whose skills may be more up-to-date and who are often willing to accept less pay, work longer hours and take on less-desirable assignments.
Stackpole notes that even IT pros who can retire are putting it off to maintain their health insurance until Medicare kicks in: "The reality for IT workers of any age is that they are being asked to do more with less, take on roles outside their areas of expertise, forgo raises and deal with tighter deadlines. It might not be the grand finale that tech veterans envisioned for themselves, but it’s the reality of today’s marketÂ¿one that all IT professionals must adapt to."
Grand finale? Certainly not.