With Singapore’s life expectancy going up to nearly 80 years old, some retirees might decide that there is still time to reenter the workforce. However, the first day of work as an older worker can be a completely different ball game compared to a fresh grad. Being the new hire at a company as an older employee comes with its own set of challenges. Here are some tips to help you tackle the first day of work... again.
As a new hire, it is more important to listen and learn about the company’s processes instead of doing things your way based on experiences from a previous job. While it may seem more efficient to adopt practices that are familiar, each company is unique and insisting on a different way of doing things may be interpreted as not understanding the company or role. It is also important to listen to feedback and make adjustments to the feedback even if you are experienced in the position.
Being the oldest person in a room might make you the subject of unnecessary remarks and discrimination. Come prepared to introduce yourself as the right fit for the company. Let your colleagues know what skills you possess and that you are available to help. Take the time before you start your new job to polish or upgrade your skills that are relevant to your position.
Having multiple generations under a room will necessarily lead to miscommunication and misunderstanding. People from different life stages have different outlooks and perspectives. Stories of older workers with younger supervisor often raise issues of inappropriate texting during off-work hours and disregard of proper work-life balance. Apart from work texts late at night, the subjects and topics that are discussed may differ.
Understand that having different communication styles and different perspective is a bonus for the company. Learn to replace assumptions and withhold quick judgement. While you might have more experience, avoid being patronising and learn to see the strengths of your coworkers.
Getting hired as an older worker means the company see value in you. Whether it is experience or exceptional skill, leverage on this to add value to the company so that your supervisor can see the benefit of having you onboard as an employee.