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Old 03-08-2009, 08:49 PM   #41
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You mean in crayon?
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Old 03-08-2009, 09:06 PM   #42
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AND report to management and company executives in language they can understand. Which in turn helps said managers look like they get the technology, too.
I bet the conversing with management part consists of, "Please don't push that big red button."
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:05 AM   #43
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Conversely, one of the research scientists in our group is probably pushing 70 (yeah, he'll never "retire"). He's smart enough to help the grad students and PhD candidates find their way through the maze of technical papers, to focus their energies, and find the gotchas. Age doesn't necessarily come with wisdom, but it often does... Many of the young whippersnappers on Wall Street could've used a critical eye looking over their shoulders?
Proving your point with an exception? Again, I led with "There are exceptions to be sure, but younger employees accept, even seek change as a rule, older employees want to stick with what they're comfortable with and make change difficult whether by outright resistance (usually simple 'fear of the unknown') or an inability to adapt (weak skills and/or a lack of confidence in learning something new)."

Of course there will be competitive older workers who keep their skills up, embrace change and then their experience gives them an edge. But in my experience, those older workers are very much the exception. And there are certainly younger workers with few skills, little motivation and no moral compass - I've seen many, fortunately they are very easy to spot. But in general I stand by my statement from my personal experience as a hiring manager for over 30 years.

I wish it were not true. I have counseled older employees on staying competitive and they tell me they just 'can't learn Excel', or 'they can't gather and interpret data.' I can't keep my operation competitive with people like this. If I allow it, ultimately we lose the whole ship instead of some of the crew...that's the choice the manager is faced with.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:47 AM   #44
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...Of course there will be competitive older workers who keep their skills up, embrace change and then their experience gives them an edge. But in my experience, those older workers are very much the exception. And there are certainly younger workers with few skills, little motivation and no moral compass - I've seen many, fortunately they are very easy to spot. But in general I stand by my statement from my personal experience as a hiring manager for over 30 years.

I wish it were not true. I have counseled older employees on staying competitive and they tell me they just 'can't learn Excel', or 'they can't gather and interpret data.' I can't keep my operation competitive with people like this. If I allow it, ultimately we lose the whole ship instead of some of the crew...that's the choice the manager is faced with.
What he said...

I had to early-retire a good man a year ago at age 58. He was fantastic at what he did, but the world and the industry was moving on, and he wasn't. No matter how fantastic you are at what you do (or can do) its pretty worthless if the world doesn't want it that way anymore. I see that this is also a possibility for myself...being great at what I do, but the world wanting something new. Not being able to take a step back or a step down just because my resume has fancy titles on it is a problem, to be sure, but the reality is that it is no ones problem but my own, and its my responsibility to figure out how to deal with it.

That's the way I see it, anyway.

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Old 03-09-2009, 07:57 AM   #45
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When did we stop hearing about the fear of a "brain drain" as baby boomers all retire at once?
Weren't a lot of baby boomers supposed to be paying for retirement from the huge profits when they sold their McMansions? I guess that isn't going to happen for very many these days.

One of my big brothers made about half a million that way just before he retired back in 2000-2002, but he was born in 1942 so isn't a boomer.
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Old 03-09-2009, 08:33 AM   #46
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Weren't a lot of baby boomers supposed to be paying for retirement from the huge profits when they sold their McMansions? I guess that isn't going to happen for very many these days.
I recall that you have other assets and income to assure a comfortable retirement, but just curious: how much (as a percentage of puchase price plus additions) do you think you'll net from the sale of your New Orleans house when the time comes? Will that number affect your plans in any way?

We're probably down about 15%. We are planning on a specific downsize premium that we'd add to our retirement nest egg. The remainder will be available for whatever housing choices we make at that time. Nice thing is that the taxes, insurance, and upkeep on a smaller place will be like increasing our after-tax income by a nice amount. Just don't know how much.
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Old 03-09-2009, 08:45 AM   #47
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Proving your point with an exception?
Not really. Never made a blanket statement; in fact, having been laid off twice in the past decade, I've seen the difficulties of being an old guy, relatively speaking, first hand.

There's no reason to drum up a controversy.
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Old 03-09-2009, 09:19 AM   #48
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I recall that you have other assets and income to assure a comfortable retirement, but just curious: how much (as a percentage of puchase price plus additions) do you think you'll net from the sale of your New Orleans house when the time comes? Will that number affect your plans in any way?

We're probably down about 15%. We are planning on a specific downsize premium that we'd add to our retirement nest egg. The remainder will be available for whatever housing choices we make at that time. Nice thing is that the taxes, insurance, and upkeep on a smaller place will be like increasing our after-tax income by a nice amount. Just don't know how much.
I bought my house in 2002. Based on information from realtors as well as on a weekly analysis that I do (of asking and selling prices of homes in my suburb and in my immediate neighborhood), I should get about 15% (+/- 3%) more for my house than I paid for it. That is roughly equivalent to maybe 2%/year appreciation - - not a great return, but given the Katrina catastrophe it is better than it could have been.

Appreciation was a lot higher from 2002-2005, about 8%/year, but now the selling price that I would expect is slightly less than it was worth in 2005 just before Katrina (no matter what the national media says - - there are many factors involved).

Frankly, if today somebody offered me 7% more than I paid for it in 2002 I would jump at it as I still would be making quite a bit of money compared with renting all this time. I am not looking forward to the expenses of fixing it up to sell it. Re-carpeting the entire house looks like a necessity. Ugh. And then I still have some minor repairs left over from Katrina and Gustav damage that will require a plumber ($$) and an electrician ($$) and so on. And then two big trees had to be removed, one after Katrina and the really big one after Gustav, and so I need to get a landscaper in there to improve my now-barer back yard.

If I can't sell it, that would affect my ER plans and Frank and I would move to "Plan B", which is to stay put. But the lack of house appreciation won't affect my ability to move and buy another home at all, and I will not need to dip into my nestegg, either. This magic is due to the fact that I am moving to an area with housing prices that are very, very low (not entirely by accident, as you can probably surmise).

So, if I sell my house for purchase price plus 7%, and buy a house that I like in Springfield, and subtract out closing costs, 6% realtor costs when I sell, and selling improvements such as the new carpet, I will still make money on it. Enough money to pay for a new car, my moving expenses (by rental truck), new furniture, a start on some renovations of my ER house (at least paint and a brush, but perhaps a little more), and six months in an apartment while I look for it.

Insurance will be lots less up there (no hurricanes) but property taxes are higher. So, taxes + insurance will be about the same. Even though it gets cold there, energy/utilities are lower in rate than down here so those bills may not be much more. I will be upsizing a little instead of downsizing, most likely, but it all depends on what individual house appeals to me most.
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Old 03-09-2009, 04:15 PM   #49
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What he said...

I had to early-retire a good man a year ago at age 58. He was fantastic at what he did, but the world and the industry was moving on, and he wasn't. No matter how fantastic you are at what you do (or can do) its pretty worthless if the world doesn't want it that way anymore. I see that this is also a possibility for myself...being great at what I do, but the world wanting something new. Not being able to take a step back or a step down just because my resume has fancy titles on it is a problem, to be sure, but the reality is that it is no ones problem but my own, and its my responsibility to figure out how to deal with it.

That's the way I see it, anyway.

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For every heart-warming story about a happy healthy employed 80 year old, there are the untold stories of those whose minds and bodies start deteriorating in their 50s and 60s.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:46 PM   #50
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People age differently.

For every heart-warming story about a happy healthy employed 80 year old, there are the untold stories of those whose minds and bodies start deteriorating in their 50s and 60s.
Or, as in my case, those who in their 50s can no longer tolerate the modern American workplace. I still have nightmares about w*ork. Had a really bad one last night.
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Old 03-09-2009, 05:55 PM   #51
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I still have nightmares about w*ork. Had a really bad one last night.
Coincidence I'm sure, last night I dreamed nightmared I went back to work at my old mega corp. First time I've dreamed about work in over a year.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:06 PM   #52
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Or, as in my case, those who in their 50s can no longer tolerate the modern American workplace. I still have nightmares about w*ork. Had a really bad one last night.
Exactly. There's a part of me that envies people who truly and genuinely love their work and look forward to each new day of it. But that probably describes less than 5% of us overall, and maybe 2% would be closer.

Having said that, this economy and this market does have me thinking more about how to get out of it and going into business for myself, figuring out how to leverage something I enjoy. It's not easy. I'd love to find something profitable that I really enjoy, because it would make the tanking of my retirement portfolio a lot easier to take if I didn't WANT to retire.
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:21 PM   #53
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something I enjoy
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something profitable
Oxymoron...

I watched a program on HBO some years back about "the making of the SI swimsuit issue". There was a guy, and I'm not making this up, who had a large make-up brush, and was dusting the sand off the model's butts. Why can't I get THAT job..?
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:25 PM   #54
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There was a guy, and I'm not making this up, who had a large make-up brush, and was dusting the sand off the model's butts. Why can't I get THAT job..?
Maybe because you're not cracked up for it?
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Old 03-09-2009, 06:28 PM   #55
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Maybe because you're not cracked up for it?
I'd bet you had to be a eunuch unique fellow to get that job.
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Old 03-09-2009, 07:03 PM   #56
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Coincidence I'm sure, last night I dreamed nightmared I went back to work at my old mega corp. First time I've dreamed about work in over a year.
REWahoo, perhaps it wasn't a coincidence. Maybe, like me, you are feeling a bit insecure these days. I've had several disturbing dreams about work in the last few weeks and think it's due to my fears about the economy. I've re-worked the numbers and DH and I should be fine. But, dang, all this gloom and doom. Plus, being a 50-something, I fear if I had to go back to work the 20-somethings would laugh me out of the place.
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Old 03-09-2009, 11:06 PM   #57
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REWahoo, perhaps it wasn't a coincidence. Maybe, like me, you are feeling a bit insecure these days. I've had several disturbing dreams about work in the last few weeks and think it's due to my fears about the economy. I've re-worked the numbers and DH and I should be fine. But, dang, all this gloom and doom. Plus, being a 50-something, I fear if I had to go back to work the 20-somethings would laugh me out of the place.
I think it must be awful to be 50-something and work in the tech field. I had a brief encounter with a 20-something computer tech guy who was giving my laptop a tune up recently. Arrogant little snot. For no reason at all apparently except that he was impatient with customers. Fortunately, he did an excellent job, so I would likely put up with him again.
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Old 03-10-2009, 08:36 AM   #58
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What an interesting thread - I'm in a technical field and also fit on the cusp of ageism rearing its head. That 'arrogant little snot' may be very good at a specific task or tasks, but usually he/she doesn't understand the long term ramifications of what they are doing or how it might affect a bigger picture. Additionally, he/she may only know the specifics of the task at hand but ask them to apply it in a systematic black box functional way to another vendor's product or scenario and they are lost. Frankly, most of these kids aren't getting the fundamentals down - just a specific example.

I spent four hours a couple of weeks ago reading an EE's masters thesis from MIT as a consulting project - had an interesting hypothesis and some modeling constructs but the actual testing of the thesis was done with software only (stubs). My comment was that's nice but that can be 'fudged' to support the thesis. I then had another hour long discussion with my customer and he pointed out that from an object orientation standpoint, this young man failed in proving his thesis....and sure enough that was true. However, we had discovered that 'older' more experienced people industry who had been 'bitten 48,000 times' had a better object model that would meet our needs. The young man who had the thesis was bright, but he didn't have the experience needed to come up with a viable model that could become a product.

I find that a good understanding of set theory as well as some other very basic laws and their physical manifestations can help one understand most of the products available to us. Most people could have learned that in high school math classes. Additionally, something that looks so simple isn't - it's like the ballet dancer who makes it look so easy - that's years of practice with the body learning how to most efficiently and gracefully effect the movement to what is desired by the choreographer and dancer. If one see an elegant solution, rest assured there was probably a lot of time, experience and effort put into finding that elegance. Rarely is that solution discovered by a young inexperienced cadre.

My overall point? Younger people still need guidance from their elders so that they can become wise elders to re-propagate ad nauseum. It is sad to think that companies willingly forgo some wisdom for the sake of cheaper labor. I guess they will get what they pay for.

rant off :-)
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There have been recent studies in discrimination
Old 03-10-2009, 01:20 PM   #59
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There have been recent studies in discrimination

The largest and most ubiquitous was that against the old. It is both common and accepted. People will use anecdotes and stereotypes to maintain and reinforce it even though false. The truth is people don't like old people and don't want to work with them and so make up stories about why it must be the case, but they only do so to justify their discrimination.
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Old 03-10-2009, 01:38 PM   #60
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Oxymoron...

I watched a program on HBO some years back about "the making of the SI swimsuit issue". There was a guy, and I'm not making this up, who had a large make-up brush, and was dusting the sand off the model's butts. Why can't I get THAT job..?
Why waste money with a brush? I'll do with my bare hands
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