HR Roundtable panelist Michael Haberman suggests that the Brett Favre NFL “un-retirement” saga may become more popular in the traditional workplace as baby boomers reach retirement age:
So Brett Favre is un-retiring! What a surprise, NOT. Everyone who reads a sport page knows the story. Retired from the Packers due to “mental fatigue.” Unretired from the Packers to join the Jets, because “I have something to offer.” Retired from the Jets because he just didn’t have it anymore. Even as recently as the end of July he was staying retired, but just this week he is un-retiring to join the Vikings because “I felt I could offer experience and leadership, I didn’t want to look back and didn’t want to say what if.” So football fans will watch and see what he has to offer.
Even though he is not a baby-boomer (those born between 1945 and 1965), Favre, who was an early Gen X, still provides an example for many baby-boomer retirees. There are many boomers who have retired, but don’t feel they have given it all. They were mentally tired. Many boomers have worked from early teen age years without a break. But they still feel they have something to offer and the first retirement has shaken off the fatigue. They realize that work energizes them. So, many are coming out of retirement to come back into the workforce.
The reasons for un-retiring will vary. For some it is because the economic downturn has destroyed their retirement nest eggs and they have to work to bring in some money to pay the bills. Others miss the challenge of day-to-day assignments. Others miss the social interaction. Whatever the reason, they provide a ready-made workforce for companies that are unable to find the managerial and leadership skills they are missing. It is a ready-made workforce that brings a work ethic that many bemoan and many younger workers don’t posses. And it is a workforce that may bring a flexibility to work arrangements that may not be currently available. Many un-retiring boomers are willing to work less than fulltime and to job share. And don’t think they don’t have computer skills. That age group may be the fast growing group adopting the use of social media.
So if you are an employer looking to add experienced help look at an un-retiring boomer. But be prepared to deal with some pushback from your younger workforce. As someone commented to me on Twitter the other day “Don’t old people realize they need to get out of the way and relinquish control?”
If you are retired, would you do a “Brett Favre” and “un-retire” if the situation was right? If you are not ready to retire yet, do you think you will stay out of the workforce once you finally retire or do you think you will be tempted to get back to working at some point?