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The Ready.Set.Retire! Blog


The Retirement Success in Maine Podcast Ep 018 - Finding Renewed Purpose from an Improved Career Path near or in Retirement with Barbara Babkirk

Benjamin Smith, CFA

Executive Summary

Episode 18

On this episode of The Retirement Success in Maine Podcast, we are thrilled to be joined by Barbara Babkirk. Barbara is a native Mainer who has founded Heart At Work Associates, an organization that specializes in Career Counseling, furthermore, Barbara has years of experience understanding the Baby Boomer generation and how increased life expectancy have impacted career choices for them. Barbara came on the show to discuss the idea of people who are currently in retirement wanting to get back into some type of career, and the challenges that they may face, including age discrimination, feeling “stuck” in their work, using new technology in the search for work, and how to overcome being laid off unexpectedly.

What You'll Learn In This Podcast Episode:

The show begins by spending some time to really get to know Barbara. We learn about her background, from growing up in Maine to leaving, for a couple of different destinations, to ultimately returning to Maine to establish her career. Barbara spends some time discussing her education and professional history that led her down the path of being a Career Counselor and creating her organization, Heart At Work Associates.

In regards to  Barbara’s expertise, we talk about the elements that lead someone to feel “stuck” in their career, and Barbara shares some insight on what someone can do, right now, to become “unstuck”. We also discussed the recent impact that the COVID-19 Pandemic has had on the work force (in general) and how retirees who may have been affected, economically, can re-enter the work force now. We also dive a little deeper on the idea of retirees re-entering the workforce, to have a candid conversation about age discrimination. Barbara not only shares some examples of how Boomers may experience age discrimination in their workplace or job searches, but she also provides some great ways to help combat the discrimination.

 We discuss with Barbara the fact that in the state of Maine, 30% of the population is Boomers and  many of them will be retiring over the next 20 years.  We also talked about employers can start positioning themselves to keep their businesses running by utilizing this (older) workforce.

The conversation with Barbara concludes with her sharing her personal vision of Retirement Success. Given that she works so closely with the retiree age group, she has some interesting view points. Be sure to tune in and hear what she has to say!


Welcome, Barbara! [2:46]

Why Maine? (left and came back) [7:47]

What do you love about working with people over 50? [12:35]

What leads people to feel “stuck” in their career and how can they get “unstuck”? [17:21]

In light of recent events (COVID-19 Pandemic), what advice do you have for pre retirees or retirees that are needing to go back to work? [21:09]

What are things that someone can do right now that can get them more prepared for that next job? [28:08]

In regards to age discrimination, how often do you (Barbara) see it? And how can you combat it? [36:12]

How can someone find something fun to be a working retiree? [49:50]

What is an outplacement package? [56:23]

How should employers start positioning themselves to keep their business running by utilizing this workforce (Boomers)? [59:11]

What is Retirement Success for Barbara? [1:01:31]

Ben, Abby, and Curtis conclude the episode. [1:04:01]


Maine Magazine  Article on "What Your Retirement Will Look Like? by Barbara Babkirk

Heart At Work Associates Website

Barbara's bio

Strengths Finder 2.0 Hardcover Book referenced by Barbara in the show (via Amazon)


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Ben Smith:                   Welcome everybody. My name is Ben Smith. Welcome to The Retirement Success in Maine Podcast. I'm joined by my co-hosts, Abby Doody and Curtis Worcester, the Teagan Wright and Bob Marley to my Tim Sample. How are you guys doing today?

Abby Doody:                 Great, how are you Ben?

Ben Smith:                   Good, good. We are episode 18. When you're 18 one of the things that you're faced with is looking at work and looking at jobs-

Curtis Worcester:         It's true.

Ben Smith:                   ... and one of the things we were looking to identify in retirement is something that comes up a lot for us with our conversations with our clients is, they're getting closer to retirement or they're in retirement and they go, "You know what? I'm here or I'm about to be there. What I love about my job is it gives me a sense of purpose. It gives me meaning and now that I'm not doing it or I'm scared of the prospect of not doing it anymore, what is that going to mean for me and my life? What does that going to mean for who I am because my identity is kind of tied up into that? We've had a lot of conversations with our clients, Abby and myself and our team, looking at that as a very big friction moment for people.

Ben Smith:                   With that, we said we want to have a topic around work and maybe it's even transitioning to like a second career or all of this is figuring out, where do I want to go, where do I want to be, what would I want to do that's fun and figuring that out as a problem. But, that's not what we do. We do financial planning in terms of the money path, we help with figuring that out and we just said, look, we're trying to find this and this is something where we've been asking around quite a bit and we eventually got introduced to Barbara Babkirk. Said, you know what? You're looking at HR and that wasn't the right place to go, you need someone that's actually looking at career counseling, someone that helps people work through these issues and find that passion and find where they want to go.

Ben Smith:                   Barbara has a career counseling company called Heart At Work Associates and so I want to welcome Barbara to the show because it's been... we've had a lot of good conversations leading up to it. Even just, I blindly approached her and says, "You've never heard of this podcast, but we would love to have you because this is a topic that's pretty rich in our client's mind." So Barbara, thank you for coming on. We really appreciate your time today.

Barbara Babkirk:           Thank you, Ben, for inviting me.

Ben Smith:                   One of the things we wanted to work with is just, I want to just briefly give you a little more of an intro here about career counseling and outplacement services is really what your firm does but what I like is, one of the things you say you partner with your clients to do is identify, develop and communicate their unique professional value, so verbally, virtually in a writing, because this is a population that they've been in their career for a while or they've gotten to this, I've done this for so long and now if I want to go look for a new job, I have no idea where to go.

Barbara Babkirk:           That's right.

Ben Smith:                   I have no idea who to talk to or what my skills really are. I like that there and also, that you just don't work with maybe just the C-suite that, oh, you're the president of my company, let me go help you find that president role somewhere else. It's all positions, all professions, all employment levels in all industries, is where you've focused.

Barbara Babkirk:           Yes.

Ben Smith:                   That's what I thought was the best match for where you wanted to go with our conversation today was, was that you could speak to all those things together and it's not just talking to maybe 1% of the population out there.

Barbara Babkirk:           Absolutely.

Ben Smith:                   What I want to always start with, with our show is we always want to get to know you a little bit in terms of your bio is, hear a little bit more about where did you grow up and then your path towards becoming a career counselor and outplacement services and owning that type of company. Can you just talk about that a little bit?

Barbara Babkirk:           Yes. Thank you. I'm a Maine girl. I grew up in Waterville and kind of surprised to find myself here back in Maine. I live in Portland. I've lived abroad and I lived in Boston, but my husband and I knew we wanted to come back to Maine to raise our family so that's been a great decision. I was in Boston when I discovered I really wanted to go back to school. I was a French major and much to my parents' chagrin, I didn't really want to teach it. I just loved it. So here I was, I found myself in Boston where my husband was going to graduate school and I was actually working for the YMCA of Boston, coordinating their internship program.

Barbara Babkirk:           So I worked with hundreds of college students all over Boston, helping them find internships, mostly at the Y's and they would come to me and start asking me questions about what they're going to do after graduation and how do they translate their internship to marketable skills. I didn't have the answers to that and sometimes they would bring me questions that were a lot more personal and more in depth. I liked the questions, but I didn't like the fact that I didn't have the right answers. In my opinion, I didn't. So I thought, I need to go back to school. I decided to get a master's degree in counseling, which I did at UNH and I was thinking that I would end up in some kind of a mental health facility in a municipality.

Barbara Babkirk:           I did practicums in that. It was not my thing and then I was invited to do a practicum with a woman at UNH who had just gotten her doctorate in Career Development and I didn't really know what that meant, but I was intrigued. I did the internship, the practicum, fell in love with this field and decided this is my work and ended up... it was a sad set of circumstances, this woman died while I was doing the internship.

Ben Smith:                   Oh, no,

Barbara Babkirk:           Very, very suddenly and they did a search and they hired me. I ended up with her position and really loved the job and a few years after that, I ran a small career office in Southern Maine at a college and then I went onto Bowdoin and was in a leadership role there. Loved it. Then I went abroad, my husband went on sabbatical and if you change your life in a significant way, change up your routine, wow, it has an impact on what happens next. So I returned to Bowdoin, I was on a leave and things were just not the same. I realized that I had outgrown the position because I was really focused only on students and I really wanted to work more with the lumps.

Barbara Babkirk:           So, I launched my practice and was only me for quite a while and I like to write and I actually like to do marketing and it really started to take off and I was turning business away and thought, what's wrong with this picture? I realized, well, either I expand or I keep really small and I decided I would expand, formed a corporation, moved to Portland and hired a team and it's worked out really well. So, that's how Heart At Work Associates came about.

Ben Smith:                   Can you... obviously, this is a common thread we hear in a lot of Mainers, right? Is you get born here, you grow up here and then there's a pole to leave. A lot of us, and I won't... I didn't have the experience in the way Abby has talked about it as an experience for her that you just go, I got to get out of this state. I got to... there's more economic opportunity, there's probably better jobs, there's more things I can do and more excitement out of the State. But then you end up coming back and it sounds like you did that twice as you-

Barbara Babkirk:           That's right.

Ben Smith:                   ... you left and then came back to the State and then you went abroad and then came back so there's gravity here, right? Can you talk about that gravity for you and what's continued to pull you back here?

Barbara Babkirk:           Okay, so I'm having a flashback to one Sunday afternoon when my husband and I were in Boston and we were there for about two and a half years and we both had job offers after, but decided to come back to Maine. So here's what happened, Sunday afternoon in the fall, apples, right? We think, got to go pick some apples and so we headed down to conquer, because we heard that's where the apples are. Oh my gosh, bumper to bumper. I felt, well, what's going on? Was there an accident? No, people were just going crazy about picking apples and there was this line that wouldn't stop.

Barbara Babkirk:           So, I said to Doug, my husband, I said, "Let's get out of here. Let's go to Maine and pick apples." So, we did about turn and came to Maine and spent the weekend here and we said, "What are we doing?" Because even then, many years ago, the traffic and the congestion was getting worse and worse. So we decided, "Okay, forget those offers. We're going to come back to Maine and see what's here for us." That was a really pivotal moment.

Ben Smith:                   Then when you traveled abroad was the initiation of going abroad knowing that you're going to come back? Was it, hey, we're just sabbatical or whatever the reason for leaving and going international for a bit? Was there, no, we knew that this is going to be just a finite period of time just to experience it more then come back or was there, we're maybe just testing here a little bit of where do we want to be in life and where in the world is our fit? Can you talk about that?

Barbara Babkirk:           My husband was on the faculty at the University of Maine and faculty members get sabbaticals. We had been abroad and we decided we wanted to live there for a period of time and our daughter was seven at the time so we decided that's... my husband decided that's where he would do his research and I asked for a leave of absence from Bowdoin and they gave it to me and as a surprise, one day I was contacted by the Director of Admissions, who at that time, he was a very progressive, creative guy and he said, “Hey Barb, I hear you're going abroad and I'd like to give you an option and that is, there are about 200 international and American schools in Europe. Would you like to travel to them and speak on behalf of Bowdoin?"

Barbara Babkirk:           This was before international recruiting was a big deal and he said, "Here, I don't need your answer now, but here's the map and here are the schools and we'd send this in advance, the materials, think about it." Well, I came home, talked about it with my husband, he said, "Okay, let's shift our focus from only being in France to being in Europe." We did that and it was a phenomenal experience and we had intended all along to come back. That was our plan and I thought that I would come back and stay at Bowdoin for years to come but that didn't happen. As I said, I didn't anticipate and I think as I remember, when I went back, there was a new Dean and I was getting all excited about midlife career change for the alumni population there and he wanted the team to focus on students. That was a disappointment so that's when I said, "Okay, I really need to make a shift here."

Ben Smith:                   Got you, and you see that with a lot of careers, it doesn't matter what age or stage you're in, is sometimes the values and the items that drew you to that job and that position at that vocation to the organization, sometimes they'll just shift. Those are normal things that happen over time and then, but kudos to you for realizing that so it is understanding where your priorities were and whereas maybe Bowdoin’s were and then go, there's a disalignment, rather than both of us be unsatisfied with our working relationship together, better for me to go do my own thing.

Barbara Babkirk:           Well said. It's estimated that people make five to six changes in their career during their lifetime, and I've stayed in the same sector of the marketplace but wow, what I've done in that sector has changed dramatically.

Ben Smith:                   One thing I wanted, just in terms of your background Barbara is to hear a little bit about, in terms of working with any population, in the State of Maine especially, and as you said, you could have really worked with the students that were graduating and helping them find that love and that vocation... Well, there's similarities across everybody when you're looking for what is the right position for me and what's the right career for me but there's different challenges when you've developed in your career, is the skills you have and the expertise and the love that you've, maybe you've fallen in love with or fallen out of love with certain things. Can you talk a little bit about working with people over 50 as a group and helping them find work that has purpose and meaning? What do you love about that? What's been different about that that maybe you weren't getting from the 21, 22-year-old that is going to take the world by storm and make a $1.4 million a year and be senior level management at 23?

Barbara Babkirk:           In two years! So, I'm very much influenced by the work of Carl Jung and he believed that the first half of life and in those days, turn of the century, first half of life was anywhere from one to 35. Well, not everyone dies at 60 now or even 70, so we have this, they call it the 30 year longevity revolution where we've gained 30 years. Midlife, second half of life, might begin at 50 now and so Jung believe that the first half of life was about figuring out who am I supposed to be and that who am I supposed to be relates to what my parents think, what my school, what my neighbors, what my society, my church, those external influencers, who am I supposed to be according to them?

Barbara Babkirk:           We go about our life trying to figure that out and in the process, develop some interesting skills and knowledge and then somewhere along the line of 40, we might wake up one day and think, what am I doing? I don't really like my job. The question is different in the second half of life. The question is, who am I supposed to be? That supposed to be, is not according to external factors, it's according to internal motivators. So it might be, I'm motivated by a sense of purpose, I'm motivated by situations where I can use my best talents, it might be that I'm motivated by the topic or the product or service that that organization is about. People start to think about that and they realize, there may be, not in all cases but there may be a disconnect between what they're doing and what motivates them.

Barbara Babkirk:           I like that question. I like helping people in that difficult place. I would say in most cases because the question is quite different in the first half of life, the questions aren't as deep. They're not supposed to be and they don't really need to be but in the second half of life, they get more complicated and I like that.

Ben Smith:                   Yeah and Barbara I know, I gave you a call, I don't know, maybe it was last month or so, and we just had a client that was stuck, right?

Barbara Babkirk:           Yeah.

Ben Smith:                   It's one of those, you hear it and she would come back around and she was still stuck in that job and there was just the friction in what she loves and the purpose she had and who she was helping, she'll love that. Organizational values had changed, but what was she going to do? That's the world she knew and so you see a lot of, there's this, well maybe... and this is the next section of our podcast we want to face with you, is this renewed purpose from a new career path near in retirement and that was the topic we want to bring to you today.

Ben Smith:                   So, when people are racing from a job they no longer love or they feel frustrated or they may feel perhaps out of date, right? Is that they just don't feel they're there so they feel like retirement is the answer that will pay all these frustrations, why don't I just get done? It just feels like that's something where maybe life or their community or their network and in this case a daughter or a son is saying, “Mom, just get done. You're frustrated, you're angry, just leave." But there's this population that gets purpose from their work and so you want me to quit something that gives me purpose in my life and what am I going to have purpose from when I retire? You want me to just retire from my identity and who I am and what brings me happiness?

Ben Smith:                   You have this, well, they're frustrated with the situation, but this is something that gives me value and gives me happiness and it gives me identity so you feel stuck and oh, this friction that's happening, it's just... and you feel it with them and they're emotional, there's tears involved, like real hardship of, "I don't know what to do. I am stuck." That's something where for me, I said, "Look, I can't help you with this. I can talk on the money side and help give you direction with the financial terms of what can you do and what would make sense." But, here's one situation but what do you see in terms of things that lead people to get stuck in their career and are there things that they can do in their job right now that can get them unstuck?

Barbara Babkirk:           A number of factors influence people's dissatisfaction with their job at really any age but in particular, in the second half of life and one might be they're hired into this position, it's a good match, they do really well, the company is acquired. The acquiring company wants to lay their culture on this other company and people aren't happy with that, some people might not be. Another might be that, oh, new manager. New manager has new ideas and changes the job. I actually worked with someone, not long ago, who had the same title, the same compensation, but when we looked at the job description, it was very different from what he was hired in to do and so it was a little bit crazy making, this is, "Wait a minute, what's changed? I have the same title, the same compensation, I send the same reports but now it feels really different."

Barbara Babkirk:           So, we had to really take a look at what was different and I always hold the question in my mind when I see someone who's not happy with their work, and that question is, is this job salvageable? I have to really figure out, with them of course, what is going on. Is it an internal angst and is that angst precipitated by something that's happening external to them? We figure that out together and in some cases, well, the manager's going nowhere because he or she just came and there doesn't appear to be any other place in the company that they could move to or would want to move to, so it sounds like you have to exit. That's one way of looking at it.

Barbara Babkirk:           You mentioned this client that you had and she just wasn't happy but looking at leaving the job would mean her sense of purpose might go away. People are motivated at a later stage in life by purpose and a pay check. It's not that money isn't important, you know even better than I that especially as we get older, if people aren't prepared for retirement, they have to work.

Ben Smith:                   Yes.

Barbara Babkirk:           They have to work, but they don't want to just do anything. They want something that will give them a sense of meaning and that requires the conversation about, someone might come in and they'll say, "Ooh, okay, I want to give back to the community, but I don't necessarily want to work for non-profit because I need to make 75 grand at least." Okay? So, what does that mean give back to the community? To you it might mean X, to Abby it might mean Y. It's different. So, we have to analyze their own perspective of that. I look at it as a puzzle, someone comes in and the puzzle is scattered on the floor and together reconfigure that puzzle in a way that looks good to them and they say, "Yeah, I like that picture," and then we figure out the strategy of how to get there.

Abby Doody:                 You touched on in a minute ago, Barbara, but in light of the Corona Virus and huge financial impacts, maybe more pre retirees and maybe people even in retirement might be needing to go back to work.

Barbara Babkirk:           Yes.

Abby Doody:                 So what advice do you have for them?

Barbara Babkirk:           A really good point. I've been thinking about that a lot lately. So, there was a study done, not long ago that showed, and really blew me away, four to five people who retire, return to the workforce within 18 months. That is a phenomenal number. My dad, he couldn't wait to retire and when he retired, he was not thinking about going back to work so it's different today and it's different not only because of economics, it's also different because people lose that sense of identity. I think that, we don't know what's going to happen when things, I wouldn't even say get back to normal, we all know there's no such thing anymore but when things, I say settle down, yes, people will need to return from retirement to the workforce.

Barbara Babkirk:           I think the same is true for them as is true for anyone and that is, you first need to know what your priorities are and what motivates you and then you need to know what your competencies are, and I say not only what your competencies are, but what are those skills that you have that you enjoy using? Because, you might say, "Well, I can bake really well, but I'm tired of that. I've done too much of that in my life.” We want to find the match where there's interest in that competency and confidence in that competency. Then we ask the question, okay, who needs that? Where do those skills... where are they needed in the marketplace? That's a process.

Barbara Babkirk:           Sometimes I think we all hold assumptions about what certain things are like. People might say, "Oh, I couldn't possibly do that. I don't have the right qualifications." Well, how do you actually know that? Well, I think that's true. So, a lot of the work that I do is encouraging people to do some fact checking and reality testing. That's a little bit down the road once they figured out what their skills are but that's a very important part.

Ben Smith:                   Barbara, I'll add in there too, it also seems like, well, there's sometimes binary absolutes that people have. Like, I can't do this or I can do that and... or as you said, it feels like I'm not qualified to get that job or I always wanted to be you working with my hands. I do carpentry maybe part time and I don't know that I really could do that because I have not really been formally trained, then they just completely discount or just put things aside that just, nope, I'm not qualified. I can't do it. It seems like, well, if there is another logical step there of, well, what would it take to train you to get that? If you said, if this is my dream job and if I could get a skill, if I could get some qualification that opened up a whole arena to me of things that's possible, isn't that worth investing into? How do you face that when... because I think people are coming to you sometimes and you just... sometimes you make your own prison, it feels like.

Barbara Babkirk:           Yes, and what you just said Ben reminds me of two things and one is, what I call the drop thread. I once met with a client, it might've been five years ago and he shared with me that he always wanted to be a doctor and I think, if my memory serves me, he was in sales and it wasn't medical sales. So, we talked about what was it about being a physician that intrigued him. He had a list of things and long story short, what he actually ended up... so I call that a drop thread. Somewhere along the line, I remember his dad had died, he had to earn more money for the family, a long story, pulled him into sales where he was very successful and made a lot of money, but it wasn't medicine.

Barbara Babkirk:           So we talked about, how might you pick that thread up? Now, he was about 50. He was not going back to medical school, forget it, but what he did end up doing, he found out about, I think it's called the Ship Hope, something like that. It's a ship that travels around the world doing disaster relief, health interventions and he found out about it and it just tugged at his heart and he ended up working for them. He picked up that thread and found a way to weave it through into the second half of his life and it was a beautiful story.

Curtis Worcester:         It's awesome.

Ben Smith:                   I love that.

Abby Doody:                 That's very neat.

Ben Smith:                   That's great.

Barbara Babkirk:           The other part is, how we talk ourselves out of things. People do that all the time, oh, I couldn't possibly do that and who knows what that's about and message and someone once said, “Oh, Kelly, you can't..." whatever, but they've internalized that message. One of the things that I do is, it just happened I had a conversation with someone this morning and I asked her to write a resume. Now she is, first of all, she's not ready to leave her job. She's in a very great position and she said, "I just want to prepare." I like that. Great. You're not desperate. So I said, I think it was like the second time I spoke with her, I said, “I'd like you to rewrite your resume and I'm going to send you a set of guidelines and I want you to use words that are quite generic."

Barbara Babkirk:           She's in healthcare, so please don't use terminology that only someone in healthcare would understand and that's a tall order because we're used to be using the language of our field, but she did it. I was so proud of her. I read that resume and I blocked out her headline, which in my company we recommend that everyone do a headline, which is how you want to be seen in the marketplace, and her headline was all about healthcare and leadership. I just blocked that out and I read through it and this person could have been in practically any sector in the marketplace because she had these leadership skills and she was able to translate them.

Barbara Babkirk:           When I showed her that, she realized what I was getting at when I asked her to do that exercise and she said, it's made me so much more confident and that was music to my ears. I love hearing that. Now, this woman loves healthcare, so she doesn't want to leave but it showed her that she could leave and sometimes that's all we need. No one wants to feel boxed in. Oh my gosh, this is all I can do, no one wants to feel that. So, when she could see clearly, wow, I could go into any number of fields, then it made her realize, I don't want to leave. I might someday want to leave my employer and go somewhere else but I like this work. So, it was great.

Ben Smith:                   Barbara, so what I like about your story a lot there that I'll highlight is that... and you and I have talked to probably about a couple hours this point, just even before this show and you start highlighting the things that, what are we delivering, what's the deliverable to our clients? And you start going, all right, well, organizations one thing is that they don't really put their thoughts in order so putting that together gives them a sense of confidence. Is that confidence is a feeling that we're giving them but it's this, with that, it's confidence but it also gives them freedom, is that maybe it's not just financially, what I'm I able to do? But if it's, hey, freedom in terms of my employment, I don't have... I'm down this path and I'm maybe 20 years, 30 years down this path, working in this industry doesn't mean I only have to be there and here's how it can translate.

Ben Smith:                   What I liked about that, and Abby led with a question about Corona Virus because there's a hundred thousand people right now, I think that was the number I heard in the news, of newly unemployed people in the workforce. I think we're number one... we're going to be number one impacted by Corona Virus in terms of the economic recession. So, here's something where, in terms of your role, helping people but what you just kind of describe and I want to move you onto is, applying for a job has changed dramatically from when you were 20, 30 years ago to now. The things you're helping with, whether it is a resume and helping them realize themselves, maybe it's a resume for their own purposes and not necessarily even just for the next job. What other things are you helping people with in terms of not just the resume, but what things can someone do right now that can get them more prepared as they're thinking of that next job?

Barbara Babkirk:           You mentioned earlier on that I state my company helps people verbally, virtually and in writing and I just explained the verbal part, talking with people, getting them to articulate what they do and what they love to do. One thing, we don't know what the marketplace is going to look like even by the summer, let alone fourth quarter. But what we do know is, something is not going to go away and that is, LinkedIn. Microsoft bought LinkedIn three years ago for $26 billion, so they're not going to throw that money away, they want to make LinkedIn even more robust than it is now and I teach people how to create a profile that will come up in searches.

Barbara Babkirk:           I spent two hours with a woman this morning and she couldn't believe it, how much she could find out in LinkedIn. She's a candidate for a position and I said, "Well, you graduated from BC, Boston College. Let's find out if there are any BC grads in that company. Let's find out if there are any BC grads." She's in Maine. I work almost exclusively, I'm a Maine centric company, so I work as closely with people in Maine. "So let's find out who's doing this work in Maine." That became a network for her to talk with people and hopefully, someone, at least a BC grad, perhaps will put in a good word for her. What everyone has to do, whether they're 21 or 61, they need to find a side door when they apply for a job.

Barbara Babkirk:           Most people think, oh, I'll apply for this job. I'll go on indeed.com. I like Indeed, okay, it's fine, it's not the end game. A person needs to then okay, they throw their hat in the ring... by the way, 2% of people who do that, find that their resume actually is read by a person, 2% so that's in part because of applicant tracking systems and most people are not aware of what they need to do in their resume in order to get through the tracking system and so if their resume does get through, that's not enough.

Ben Smith:                   Can you just describe real quick, Barbara, in terms of, what is an Applicant Tracking System?

Barbara Babkirk:           Oh, thank you.

Ben Smith:                   Because I think... I didn't know what that was. That's important to-

Barbara Babkirk:           ATS, Applicant Tracking System, is a software program that usually HR, they purchase it and they plug it into their positions and they put in certain keywords. Let's say, there's a safety engineer position. Well, they'll probably put in safety engineer, they'll probably put in other terms that apply to that position and its responsibilities and they put in the algorithm which says the candidate needs to put in safety engineer on their cover letter and resume at least four times, otherwise, it doesn't make it in.

Barbara Babkirk:           We don't know what that algorithm is, but we do know that there's a job description, a posting, and you darn well better have some of those terms on your resume. You never know if the company has an Applicant Tracking System operating or not but you want to operate as though it does. That's one thing that's very, very new for people who haven't looked for a job in 25 years for sure, and so they need to be aware of that and know how to get by the Applicant Tracking System.

Ben Smith:                   You mentioned a side door too, right? It's also, as we are kind of growing in our careers, there's people we've worked with, we have friends, we have connections, and it sometimes we just lose contact with them. I think we're kind of, as we get older, we get a little more set with, this is how I do things. Whether it be, I used to call people and maybe I've just lost contact with them. Social media, to a lot of people is a very bad thing. It is, oh, they're just trying to get my information. LinkedIn, which I think everyone's heard a lot, maybe more about Facebook but LinkedIn, a lot of people go, "Oh, that's not for me."

Barbara Babkirk:           But they do equate it to Facebook and it's not. You have more control over your information than you do in Facebook and it's a professional networking site, that's what it is. So, I think that anyone who cares about their professional brand needs to be on LinkedIn.

Ben Smith:                   I'll steal this from you, Barbara, is you said 98% of people looking for talent go to LinkedIn. If you are not on LinkedIn, and I'm looking for that job and a particular opportunity, so one is what you just mentioned is, now I get to know and I can do some intelligence on the company that I'm thinking about that matches what I want to be and where I want to go and figure out what's the best way to get an entree to that organization? Maybe not necessarily for a position that's open, maybe just an introduction anyway. But if they are looking for talent and I'm not on that platform and I have to go to Indeed and 2% of resumes are getting read and I spent all this time on a resume, I could see where people get defeated very easily that, geez, I can never find the job I want and there's nothing out there and I am stuck because I'm in a prison. They just don't know their paradigm, it feels like.

Barbara Babkirk:           That's right. Well, they don't know what to do and that keeps people stuck for a long time. They don't know what to do and they don't know how to find the steps necessary. I mean, a lot of people don't even know that career counselors exist and there are career counselors that... actually, they wouldn't call themselves a counselor, they'd call themselves a coach, they may just coach people in how to write a resume and there are people out there who charge a lot of money and they write the resume for you. Okay, well, that's not going to build your confidence because you haven't had to go down memory lane to think about what you've done. I don't believe in that at all and frankly, the resumes that I've seen that are done by some of the resume writers, they're not usable and because they wouldn't get through the Applicant Tracking System.

Ben Smith:                   Got you.

Abby Doody:                 So just shifting gears a little bit, so we've been talking about people in their 50s and 60s maybe looking for a different type of career later in life. Do they experience age discrimination? Have you seen that and do you have any examples of that?

Barbara Babkirk:           Yes, and yes.

Abby Doody:                 Yeah.

Barbara Babkirk:           So, one of the aspects of my company and one of the services we provide is called outplacement. Outplacement is offered and paid for by a company when they lay someone off. It could be one person, it could be 50 people. Nowadays, it's not the '80s, the 50 people is very unusual. The biggest group we had was a paper mill, and that was unusual as well because mostly blue-collar workers and there were probably 20 people. An outplacement offers career counseling for X number, it depends on the individual, the company, how many sessions they pay for. So, 90%... and we do a lot of outplacements, so 90% of the people referred for outplacement are over 50, 90. Okay? Anyone over 40 is protected by the ADA, American Disabilities Act, and what does that mean? I'm not an attorney and I won't go into much detail, but anyone over 40 is part of a protected class and if they feel they've been discriminated against and that only people over 50 were laid off, they might want to talk to someone about that.

Barbara Babkirk:           One of the reasons why I believe 90% of the people are over 50 is that some employers make assumptions. They make assumptions that people over 50 earn a lot and want to continue to earn a lot and they want to save money. So they may not know that Sally, she's set financially, she's been very wise, she's met with your team and she's planned for her retirement and she likes her work and she'd be willing to work for less. Maybe she'll change her job description, but employers don't find that out and so they make assumptions and they lay Sally off. Or, it may be that there's a new IT manager who comes in and that person is making the assumption that people over 50 don't want to learn new technology and that's critical for this new phase of this company, and so they lay the people off for that reason without finding out if they'll adapt or even interested. I think there are a lot of assumptions that go on.

Barbara Babkirk:           Another reason is, they assume that, oh, ooh, people over 50, they're going to be very expensive when they get older and sicker. Well, a 20 something year old woman who's pregnant, is going to cost a lot more money than someone who goes in for a knee replacement. I don't think it's thought out that well, and let's face it, there is age discrimination in our world, certainly in the Western world and it's pervasive and it's not all conscious. One of the things I do say when I have conversations with companies about ageism is, think about what you've internalized and what assumptions you've made and be courageous enough to rethink those.

Ben Smith:                   Barbara, can I jump in there too? Because I think from you and your service, one of the things you're talking about here is, well maybe people aren't coming to until they've already exited their job for whatever reason or maybe they are, you know what? I'm going to exit. It feels like there's a lot of opportunity that as you just described, hey, I'm feeling there's age discrimination or there's a pervasive thought that my generation can't do this or they think because I drive a Volvo that I'm all set out and I don't need more pay, that I'm well off so why do-

Barbara Babkirk:           I don't need the job.

Ben Smith:                   I don't need the job, because you know what? Hey, you demonstrate maybe through clothing or maybe through a car or maybe how you behave or maybe your husband or your wife, how they are in their positions that there's a common knowledge that gets assumed about you, and because of those things that they'll treat you differently because of that and it's not maybe merit based or performance based, it's other things that may be coming to that too. If someone's coming to you with that, how would you help them maybe combating that identity that they've created and help maybe carve that out in the company a little better?

Barbara Babkirk:           Yeah. Well, the latter is, that's a tall order.

Ben Smith:                   Yeah, sure.

Barbara Babkirk:           But even getting back to Abby's question, what can they do? I do have plenty of people, let's say over 48 who say, “Oh my gosh, I'm up against the 35-year olds. What do I do?” Or I have a 60-year-old saying, "Oh, I'm so afraid of age discrimination. What do I do?" Well, my answer is really the same and that is, let's take a look at what you can do to control the situation because we can't battle age discrimination as a whole. But you can do the best that you can do verbally, virtually and in writing to present yourself in a way that, first of all, please on LinkedIn and in your resume, do not put your year of graduation.

Ben Smith:                   Yes.

Barbara Babkirk:           I don't really care because I was on a panel about ageism and there was a young attorney there and he was talking about age discrimination and how he is left out of conversations because... and he's a really bright guy, I could tell, because people assume, "Oh he doesn't have the experience, what could he offer?" So, I say to people, do not put your year of graduation. Oh really? And please, if you're a 62-year-old, do not tell me that your first job out of high school, out of college was the management training program in GE, which you know, world renown, I understand that but don't go way back. People count on their fingers, what are the years this person is old so the unconscious bias comes out. Let's look at someone and it might appear from the resume, especially if they've worked with us, that they're not in their 60's because they don't put the whole darn work history, which is not necessary.

Ben Smith:                   It's not about fooling the employer., it's about trying to say, here's what's relevant, right?

Barbara Babkirk:           That's it.

Ben Smith:                   Here's what I'm trying to highlight to you, which makes me the most qualified candidate and not saying I'm trying to hide something and I'm trying to hide my age. What I like about what you are doing is, you're highlighting proactively something versus being defensive and trying to maybe shuffle something away so it doesn't get attention and those are two different things.

Barbara Babkirk:           Yes. Well said. I am absolutely in favor of truthfulness. I see people who have been fired or they've been laid off and because it feels like they've been fired, they tell me I've been fired and I say, “Aha. What was the circumstance? What egregious thing did you do?” “Well, nothing." Okay, "They were downsizing." Okay, then you were not fired and so you need to shift that language. So people, they make assumptions about what's going on in their own workplace and it's really important to tell the truth, but everyone has a big story, everybody... we all have a big story, please don't tell the big story and find the slice of that story that is truthful number one, but also serves you.

Barbara Babkirk:           That person who worked for GE when they first got out of college and it was a feather in their cap and they want to mention GE, well, what they learned 40 years ago, come on, how relevant, as you say then, how relevant is that today? You don't need to put that in. Put what's relevant, what's going to get you the job and show people that you have those competencies.

Ben Smith:                   That might be something you bring up, right? Is, hey, you know what? I got my spark for life and I got my spark for a career and I can tell you about this, my first opportunity at GE and here's the experience and a great... that's formative who I am and that's made me, and that's molded me and galvanized me to this profession, this career, that's the sort of thing to be bringing up, as people want to hire energy and passion. So if it's relevant in the terms like that, I think it's great.

Barbara Babkirk:           There you go. Have you thought of being a career counselor?

Ben Smith:                   Yeah. No, I'm going to leave that to you. But for us that's the fun thing to hear too, is that, here's what makes me who I am, which is why we love having this conversations with folks like yourself because it brings the energy back to us and it's really great to hear it. I want to give you maybe a list question or some hot points that maybe we could take away here. If there's a boomer and potential job seeker, again, as we said, Corona Virus and maybe there's more unemployment that's going to come in the next maybe months to years, what can someone do right now to make themselves look more compelling to that next employer?

Barbara Babkirk:           I think what they can do is first, get clear about what they most want and try to be aware of the assumptions they're making. If they say, “Well, I'd really like to do X,” but as you pointed out earlier, they might say, “I can't do that. I can't possibly do that.” To be really careful about the assumptions that end up having them rule that out. So, to think about what their priorities are and absolutely what their competencies are and we love to refer people to a book called StrengthsFinder 2.0. It's on Amazon, costs about $14 and it's a very useful book. You don't read the book first, you go online, there's an envelope in the back, gives you a code, you go online, take an assessment and you receive a very well written report that describes your top five strengths.

Barbara Babkirk:           Those can be a launching pad for people to begin to realize what they do well. Then the second piece to that is what I suggest is, okay, take those five. Start with the first one and indicate and write out how you use that competency at work and so they begin to ground it with some reality and that's information that they can use when they speak to employers. That's the verbally part. People need to be able to communicate what they do and with examples of how they've demonstrated it, because anyone can say, “Hey I'm a great writer,” but to say these are the ways that I've demonstrated that, that writing skill is really important. That's first thing. I would say, second is then make sure your LinkedIn profile is really effective and dynamic. I think there is going to be a bit of waiting because we don't know what positions are going to be available because employers don't know.

Ben Smith:                   It's true.

Barbara Babkirk:           A lot of employers as we're aware, are furloughing people. That means they hope to bring them back, some companies will not. That will end up being a layoff, but it's not clear today. I think people need to buy themselves some time and so if they have a financial advisor or they don't have one, would be a really good idea to speak with someone to find out, okay, how can I fill this gap? How can I buy myself a bit of time until the dust settles? I would say ideally, by fourth quarter. If they could figure out maybe part time, short term employment, that would be a good thing.

Ben Smith:                   I want to jump in just for another point there too Barbara is, right now, a lot of us are... we are right now, we're all sheltering in place and we're at home but it feels like now even more than ever, good time to maybe just do a check in call with people that maybe you haven't heard of. So, if you're looking at, hey, here's an organization with my BC alum, and in that example where it's not, I'm calling you out of the blue because I need you and I need something from you and that maybe feels hollow, but maybe it's something where, hey, here's something where I can just reach out, say hello, I haven't talked to you in a while. I Just wanted to see if you're okay and I've been doing that with my network. Would you say that's something? Just to lay a groundwork so then when you do connect with them it's maybe an easier transition in terms of that conversation?

Barbara Babkirk:           I like that idea. I would add to that, once a person has become a bit clear about the direction they might want to go in or the competencies that they have, then they would go to their alma mater on LinkedIn, find out who is in the area and those people who are in positions that might use those skills or companies that might use those skills. Connect with that person. That's the first step. Then your first level, you have access to their email, you can then step out of LinkedIn, email them because not everyone uses LinkedIn like I do or you do. So, you can't count on that, but if you're first level connected, you can email them and then you can begin a conversation. I think people need to be mindful of and strategic about the people with whom they begin those conversations.

Ben Smith:                   Yup. Got you.

Abby Doody:                 Another thing that we have heard a lot from our retiree clients is that they want to do something fun when they retire. They want to work a little bit maybe in something different than their full-time career. How would somebody go about finding something fun to be a working retiree?

Barbara Babkirk:           Fun.

Abby Doody:                 Fun.

Barbara Babkirk:           Sort of like the person who says, “I want to have meaning in my work.” You need to have them define that. I mean, what's fun to me might not be fun to you and vice versa, so what is fun? What comes to mind? Well, I... this isn't true, I love dogs, not that much but I have a grand dog and I love her, but I love dogs. So, okay, well you think of the humane society, but there are more possibilities than that. But again, have people generate a list, what's fun and then begin to filter and narrow that list to identify some places that... and then, of course the competencies come in and certainly, part of the beginning conversation is how much do you need to earn? I shouldn't be surprised anymore, but I still am, most people don't know that. They do not know what they need to earn and so I say, “Please talk with your financial advisor. If you don't have one let's talk about how you can find one.”

Ben Smith:                   Yeah, and I'll jump in there too, Barbara, because I think that's something where when you start adding in your social security and a pension possibly. In social security, there's rules of course, how much you can earn up to your full retirement age. So that will restrict or if you start claiming and then want to go back to work, that's one thing that's factoring there but then even after that, it's, well, then what are my financial assets giving me sustainably for income over time? Then, what do you need to be or what do you want to be spending? There's your gap. So, here's your formula of how to do it. Okay, but by the way you know financial markets just went down by a whole lot, maybe your account's lost money and that income now is projected to be a little less, maybe now we have to earn a little bit more.

Ben Smith:                   We want to have real conversations with our clients about that as it's happening and not go, well, we didn't really talk about that at the time, you kept spending the way you did. We assumed you were okay with that. We assumed we were okay with that, then 20 years down the road is way too late or 10 years or five years, and then there's nothing you can do because the money's depleted, they thought everything was going to work out, you were just investing the way you thought was right and because communication didn't happen and you didn't collaborate a whole lot on that, you end up for a disaster.

Ben Smith:                   From a coaching perspective on our end, on the financial side, very important because, hey, here's what you want to do. So, we're trying to marry that Venn diagram of, here's what the money is requiring, what do you want to do and that money requirement might push you out of fun, might push you into, well, it's not a hundred percent fun, it's 50% fun now or something, right?

Barbara Babkirk:           Yes, it reminds me of a conversation I had with someone about a year ago who was laid off. I'm going to change it around a little bit, person who was in IT and was earning six figures and got beat up in the organization a bit. A new CEO came on and it wasn't fun anymore, let's say that. So the person started looking at fun and said, “I have someone working on my house right now and I help him out a little bit and I like that and he said that I could have a job with him." I said, “Okay, all right, so what do you need to earn? Do you know that this person is probably going to pay you $18 an hour?”

Barbara Babkirk:           I thought he was going to fall off the chair and he said, “Really?” I said, “Well, you can check that out.” He said, “Well, I need to earn at least 70.” I said, “Well, that is impossible to begin to join this person. He's not even building houses. He's doing building closets.” It was discouraging. I get that. I said, “Let's have that be your first gig into retirement maybe but definitely speak with your financial advisor about that.” You know sometimes it's that reality check. Someone wants to do something really fun, it's not feasible. They don't have to put it off forever, but they probably have to put it off in this case, at least five years.

Ben Smith:                   Maybe that's the thing, is they're trying to go from, maybe they've gotten to the point they're so fatigued, there's 0% fun, and they're then trying to go to the, hey, here's the leisurely type occupation that would be really neat to do. Is maybe it's what we've just described for this whole show is, finding the better match that does reignite your passion and does rekindle your skills and align it better to the organization and the job, might get you there and allow you to earn more, then you start moving out of that over time. So, there might be other opportunities there too.

Barbara Babkirk:           Well, you're speaking to a really important piece and that's burnout.

Ben Smith:                   Yes

Barbara Babkirk:           Some people, for all kinds of reasons, the person they work for, the company, the job, all kinds of reasons, they get worn out. They might find a way to my office like a scientist did a few years ago and I said, “Further down the line, do you have any ideas of what you might want to do? He said, “Well, I think I want to work in a bakery.” I did ask... I always bring in the finances. I don't advise them, but I want to get a ballpark figure.

Ben Smith:                   Sure.

Barbara Babkirk:           Well, let me tell you, working in the bakery and what you needed to earn, nowhere finding the middle ground. I realized that this guy was totally burned out. He was working his tail off and so what I ended up suggesting to him was that he take a sabbatical. Now, it doesn't have to be a year in Europe but three months minimum to regroup and all of a sudden, he just... and he could afford to do that, all of a sudden, he just had this relief that came over him and then, once a person recovers a bit from burnout, they're not really thinking bakery, which would be, I mean, you talk to a baker, they're not going to say their job is fun all the time.

Ben Smith:                   Right.

Barbara Babkirk:           Sometimes it is the voice of burnout that mentions mowing lawns or working in a bakery.

Curtis Worcester:         So, Barbara, one question, we're hearing a lot, it may be time sensitive to sort of what's going on around us right now in the world, so can you just take a minute and talk about outplacement packages and describe them for us?

Barbara Babkirk:           Yes, surely. I'm glad you asked. When someone is laid off, they're offered in most cases some kind of severance. It's not the law, a company does not have to do that but often they do, and that includes some kind of stipend, sometimes it is one week's pay for one year of service. In addition to that, they may also receive something called the outplacement, which is a number of sessions with a career counselor and the company determines how many, how much and the bill is paid by the company and often the company suggests a firm that they know does good work.

Barbara Babkirk:           Now, if a person is laid off and they're offered a severance with no outplacement, they can ask for it. There's no guarantee that they will receive it but an outplacement service is of benefit to the employer because it keeps intact a positive reputation about how they exit employees and it also helps their reputation within the company for those who remain. I think it's a really good move to offer it if the company can afford to do that.

Ben Smith:                   So, if... obviously with negotiations is that, sometimes if you don't know to ask, you don't get, right? Sometimes people just don't know and you said there are some employers that just will automatically offer it, but if you're not offered what would somebody do in that case?

Barbara Babkirk:           If they have not signed a separation agreement, which most companies would have an employee do, then they can go back to HR and say, for example, “I'm 49 years old, I'm concerned about age discrimination and how difficult it might be for me to find new employment and I'd like to request some outplacement services. Is that something that the company would do for me?”

Ben Smith:                   You mentioned some of the reasons an employer would do that. Is there also a financial benefit to them in terms of the unemployment costs to having laid off an employee? [crosstalk 00:58:42]

Barbara Babkirk:           Okay, so two different things there. One is, when someone's laid off, in most cases, they are eligible for unemployment and that may or may not be addressed by HR, but it's important and if they're laid off for COVID, there's an extra $600 that they receive. It's phenomenal, so outplacement does not impact unemployment at all. It's not money in their hands, it's money in the company's hands for providing the service.

Ben Smith:                   Got you. I want to ask you one more on topic question before we have Curtis do the personal wrap up, but I want to talk about the employer side. Because from an employer side of the equation, again, Maine has the oldest population in the nation. 30% of population is boomers again, that 50 to 70-year-old age group and then within the next 20 years, nearly half, half of the state's current workers will reach traditional retirement age. So, we've got boomers retiring from primary careers, but still want to be contributing. They really want to be making a contribution, be of service, but it might be under different terms. It might not be, again, they're run ragged, they're, really trying to go that full-time employment. How should employers, again, the employers' side of this, how should they start positioning themselves to keep their business running by utilizing this workforce? Because that's a lot of population there.

Barbara Babkirk:           It is. It is significant. I started becoming really interested in boomers about 10 years ago and I am a boomer, that wasn't the only reason and I'm tapped into national networks that focus on boomers and I have thought for quite a while now that boomers could be Maine's answer to the gig economy. Gig economy has been alive and well on the West Coast, the 20 something-year-old in their slippers, in their kitchen, which could be any one of us right now, right? But people have not, meaning employers, have not really been open to looking at really fully looking at gig as options for Maine.

Barbara Babkirk:           It's pretty traditional provincial state. I love it and not always open to new ideas. It's going to happen because the fire will be at the door and we will need to put it out. I think the way to do that is to think much more openly. Boomers want flexibility, they don't want as much responsibility, they often don't need to earn as much money, and so employers I think need to put that together and create positions that will address that and they won't look exactly like traditional positions do today. So, I think that really needs to happen.

Ben Smith:                   Got you. That's great.

Curtis Worcester:         So, Ben alluded to it a moment ago. One thing we like to do with all of our guests on this show, obviously, The Retirement Success in Maine Podcast, what is your vision for yourself, Barbara, as far as your personal retirement success? Sort of the bucket list question, if you will, we'll put you on the spot.

Barbara Babkirk:           Wow, wow. Okay, so sometimes things happen when you least expect them. Here I am working from home and I've had more time to reflect and sure enough, the whole retirement question has come into my mind. I haven't sat down and say, “Okay, I'm going to think about retirement today.” No, in fact, I've kind of dodged it to be honest. So, I've been aware of those things that I'm doing now that I really love to do in my work and so I can imagine that my entry into retirement will be zeroing in on those things.

Barbara Babkirk:           Frankly, I have the luxury of being able to do that, zeroing in on those things that I really love and if that means turning people away, because my associates aren't able to see them or for whatever reason they don't fit with the company, then I need to be prepared to do that, which has been really hard for me because I am helper. I think that will be one of the ways that I will ease in. I don't have a date in mind. It's not in the near future but I can begin to see some glimpses of that transition.

Ben Smith:                   Okay. Cool. Well, Barbara, thank you for coming on the show. It's just wonderful to hear in terms of your love of the State and your love of this population because it's heartbreaking for us when we sit in that meeting and you're hearing all the things you're describing, as you're hearing those situations. We're just really excited that we have somebody too that we can say, all right, first of all, from this resource that you helped us create, this is a good conversation to get them an entree to this but then, also another professional we can say, “You got to go talk to Barbara because she will help unlock you here and we're confident that can happen.” From a show perspective, thank you so much. This has been a lot of fun.

Barbara Babkirk:           It has been a lot of fun. Very good to meet you all too.

Ben Smith:                   Have yourself a great day.

Barbara Babkirk:           Thank you.

Ben Smith:                   Well, really kind of interesting full conversation with Barbara Babkirk. It's really just interesting to hear the career counseling side, is the coaching and the services that go along with that Heart At Work Associates, her company there. I think for us it's just more and more we're seeing our clients just get caught up in those feelings that we talked about today. I think this is something where for quite a long time, we'll have our clients be able to use this resource and even if they don't need to talk to Barbara, that there's things here that they can do to take away. I know we like to, in all of our wrap-ups like to take some lessons, the highlight to the audience. Abby, do you want to start with what you took away from our conversation with Barbara today?

Abby Doody:                 Yeah, absolutely. I found it so interesting her conversation around resume and writing a good resume. So, making sure that it's relevant to the job that you are seeking, not necessarily just listing every job you've ever had because a lot of those may or may not pertain to what you're trying to get, and by honing in your resume, maybe can help you get picked up a little bit sooner in the application process. I think it's something good for takeaways for people looking for a job.

Ben Smith:                   Yeah and on top of that too, because she gave a lot of tips around resumes and especially the keyword part is that, if you just list your role and don't put a lot of color around it, then a lot of these, those HR systems are not going to pick up those keywords and then maybe you don't get even flagged for being capable or a candidate for a position. So, I think a big point there. Curtis, can you... in terms of what did you learn from our conversation with Barbara?

Curtis Worcester:         Yeah. One piece I really thought it was interesting once we were talking about age discrimination and I guess Barbara had a tip for us or our listeners not necessarily to... I guess a way they can combat it on their own. Again, it's terrible and obviously, we don't condone it and nobody should condone it but she touched on putting your graduation year on your LinkedIn or years that you worked at certain jobs and to Abby's point of, if you put your full job history there with how long you were there, people can add it up so I thought that was really interesting. It goes both ways too. I know we were focusing on retirees but then she happened to bring up I think a young attorney, she said, who faced age discrimination at the opposite end of the spectrum and why tell people you're super young if you think it will be used against you? I thought that was really helpful.

Ben Smith:                   Because I think at the end of the day is, what... I think what we all hope we're measured by is capability, right? Is, can you do this job or can you not? By having a thinner resume is that saying you're not capable or if you have too thick of a resume, then you're not capable because you're too old. You have this, well, is there... you only hire people in a certain sweet spot that you do notice that and that's capable?

Curtis Worcester:         Right.

Ben Smith:                   So, yeah. I think that's something that was a pretty good takeaway, and again, from my own geez, where we're in extraordinary times and not just in regards to the virus, but in terms of the recession and we're seeing a lot of people furloughed right now and I think there's a wonder about when you get to the other side of this, how long is that recession going to last, and is there going to be friction that's going to change in industries that's going to lay people off and you're going to have to mobilize employees to other jobs, in other areas?

Ben Smith:                   I liked how she was giving the toolkit of looking at LinkedIn and if you're not... get comfortable with it and go through that and get your resume on there and have it... attach certain keywords because if you're not on there, that's where people are looking. Two, really getting into this idea of positioning yourself maybe with alumni, with alumni association and making sure you're connecting and networking there so when an opportunity hits, you're there too.

Ben Smith:                   So, I think a lot of good things that people can do right now and help get themselves in position so they don't get so frustrated that they're frustrated and they're over it and burned out and what she suggested burned out too. Again, interesting. We're talking about employment and retirement, which sometimes are infection in people's minds but I think from our episode 18, was a good match there. So, if you want more resources, so feel free to go to www.blog.guidancepointllc.com/18.

Curtis Worcester:         18.

Ben Smith:                   Go there and you can check out more resources. We'll get some of the resources from Barbara there too. If you need anything, reach out to us, love to hear from you and until next time, we'll talk to you later.

Topics: Pre-Retirement, In Retirement, Podcast