Seniors Find All Play And No Work Makes Jack A Dull Boy

March 14, 1991|By Jennifer Keats | Jennifer Keats,Contributing writer

Annapolis resident Edna Bauer, 61, once had problems getting reliable help for her business, B and B Information and Image Management.

"I was having difficulty with some of the youngsters. It's a difficult generation. Some kids feel that the employer owes them everything," said Bauer, whose husband and son started the microfilm rendering service 11 years ago. "My husband says they don't know what it feels like to be hungry," she added.

As a senior citizen herself, Bauer knows older workers are conscientious, responsible and dependable, so she began recruiting seniors to work in her office. So far, Bauer, who is office manager for the family business, has hired six seniors through the Department of Aging's Senior Employment Referral Services.

Martha Stone, 62, worked for the U.S. Census Bureau temporarily before coming to work for B andB in January. The Edgewater resident is a retired government employee who needed to make some extra money.

"I like it here very much. When I was home, I would get cobwebs in my head. It's good to be out with people," said Stone. "I needed to get out and be productive."

Stone's co-worker is 63-year-old Clara Rollins, who began working for B and B a little more than three weeks ago. Rollins, who lives in Odenton, worked in housekeeping at Bowie State University for 23 yearsbefore retiring last May.

"I'm an active person, and I wanted to stay active," said Rollins.

Gov. William Donald Schaefer has proclaimed March 10-16, 1991, "Hire the Older Worker Week." Begun in 1958 by the American Legion, this week encourages efforts to recognize achievements of senior employers and employees.

"It's hard for peopleto imagine older people as a receptionist or a salesperson," said Senior Employment Referral Services Director Diane Turpin. She said the"Older Worker Week" is important because it highlights older workers.

Turpin said seniors are prepared to find part-time work for morethan financial reasons.

"Many people retire believing they will be so happy painting the house or playing golf," said Turpin. "But people run out of things to do, and they have played all the golf they want to play. They are bored and restless," said Turpin.

She estimates that the Department of Aging's service has helped 12 to 15 olderworkers each month find jobs in the last year.

"Older workers arereliable. You can count on them to come to work and be courteous," said Turpin. "Many times employers say, 'Send me someone who will be courteous to my customers,' " she added.

One year ago during "Hire the Older Worker Week," Turpin helped establish another program for senior workers.

The Senior Job Network brings employers looking forhelp together with potential senior employees, 55 and older, in monthly meetings at the West Street Library in Annapolis.

"The notion is networking. It's not recruitment so much as information sharing," said Turpin.

In addition, Turpin sponsors four-day Job Search workshops. The quarterly workshops help seniors assess their own background and interests, examine the job market and discuss age discrimination. The workshops also cover appropriate interview skills and how to draw up a useful resume.

In promotion of "Older Worker Week," AnneArundel County sponsored two meetings to help seniors and employees.The first meeting, open to seniors seeking employment, featured Bauer, whom Turpin calls a "good role model," informing seniors that theydo not have to sit at home "staring at all four walls." Bauer also said she is looking to hire other seniors.

The purpose of the second meeting was to let employers know how to employ an older worker andwho to look for.

Turpin recommends that seniors looking for work begin by searching newspaper Help Wanted listings.

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