A little over a year ago, in anticipation
of the major lifestyle change of retirement, I posted on my blog a piece
titled, “Pre-retirement musings.”
I’m retired no one is going to ask my opinion. And if I offer one, unsolicited,
I’ll either be patronized or ignored. I mean, once you retire, you’re no longer
“in the game.” Who cares what the retired guy thinks? He’s no longer got a
I understood that point from observation
over the years. When someone retired
from my place of employment, typically he (or she) would call or email
periodically to update their work colleagues on whatever they were doing. The attitude of the work colleagues was,
again typically, a collective shrug of dismissal.
I determined that I would be
different. I would not show up at
the office and expect my working friends to drop what they were doing, welcome
me in, and chat for 30 minutes. I would
not phone them, and if I emailed them the focus would be on their lives
and jobs, not mine. And I wouldn’t
expect a reply. (Good thing! I rarely send any of them an email (usually a
copy of a comic strip that satirizes the working environment there – especially
some Dilbert strips!), and never get
But I’ve recently been seeing not-so-subtle
indications of how broad-based the stereotype of “old retired guy = irrelevant”
really is. How? Well, as anyone who has followed my blog
knows, I enjoy expressing my opinion. As an
outworking of that enjoyment I participate in a number of online forums
and opinion polling sites. I mean, why
not? I have the time, and some of those
sites offer rewards (like Amazon.com gift cards!) that I really use.
So, what’s the trouble? Well, many/most of the polls I complete ask “qualifying”
questions at the beginning to identify the demographic of the respondent. Often they’ll ask for zip code, annual income
range, marital status, home ownership vs. rental, and so on. But just about every poll also asks for
age/birth year. And many ask about
If I am honest – indicate my real age and
that I’m retired – I’m almost always re-directed to a “no thanks” screen and
told to “try again another time.”
But if I then go back, take ten years off
my real age and check the “employed full time” box, bingo! I’m in.
My opinion is then considered valid.
I know – that’s cheating! But the opinions I express are the same as
the ones I had 10 years ago! So am I really
cheating? Do most people’s opinions
change in 10 years, once they pass 45 or so?
I'm guessing that most of
the groups who write and sell these polls are people in their 20s and 30s. To them, anyone over 50 is a dinosaur. When I was 30 I probably felt the same
way. Okay, I DID feel the same way.
Add to that the fear of many younger
workers that we baby boomers will suck dry all of their Social Security as we
dodder off into oblivion. No wonder they
consider us irrelevant. Most probably
wish they could put us out on the ice floe and let us drift off to . . .
Maybe I should dye my gray hair a darker
color and lie about my age. At least
then I’d be considered relevant again!
That, or be considered even more senile
What a choice. No wonder many
old people seniors act bitter!