When financial circumstances get tough it is not unheard of for companies to come up with schemes to try and get them through the difficult times, one of the most popular being early retirement packages for their ‘older’ employees.  But with people living longer, healthier lives has there ever been a more illogical time to think about getting rid of one’s most experienced staff, purely on the grounds of trying to save short term cash?

Recently, in the UK, many police men and women with over 30 years of experience were forcibly retired, however the worst of it was, literally only weeks after they received their official dismissal notices, some senior police managers woke up to the fact that they had just got rid of an extremely important layer of their force.  So they sent the best ones letters asking them if they would consider coming back to work but as volunteers, completely unpaid!

If someone kicked me out of the organization I had worked for after thirty years of loyal service (no matter if I loved my work or not) I would be heartbroken, so try as I might I simply cannot imagine how those unfortunate professionals must be feeling when just two weeks later they receive a letter asking them to consider coming back to work but this time for free!  

Most forced early retirement schemes are plainly silly but I suppose they can allow people the opportunity to consider new careers; possibly starting their own business or taking up a full time occupation like; fine art painting or sculpting, whatever (even voluntary work oversees).

With Bob Dylan reaching his 70th birthday today, I believe he typifies the ultimate worker.  He learnt his craft young and has spent a lifetime perfecting it, writing and performing almost nonstop.  As he has grown older his writing has matured with him, bringing stories and messages to both young and old alike (even if today the radio and TV stations have mostly chosen to only play the work he wrote 40 years ago).  And as long as his work is appreciated I believe he is entitled to expect a fee for performing, just as much as his younger colleagues.

Sometimes I simply fail to understand the arrogance and naivety of a government or organization that thinks that doing one’s existing job for free could even be considered as a viable option.

Please do not get me wrong, I am a strong supporter of voluntary work: people choosing to give up their precious time for the benefit of the community.  I even actively promote it.  But I would never dream of abusing my employee’s dignity by expecting them to come to work for free.  Or am I missing something here?

Have a good week,