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Education and Work Experience hinder employment for Older and Bolder

I am an older and bolder who plans to take an early retirement this next year to work in the national parks. I noticed a blog about advanced degrees causing some problems for getting jobs in the parks. I do not have an advanced degree, but do have extensive work experience in management positions. I would like to know if others, especially those who have retired or taken an early retirement, have found any problems finding jobs in entry level positions due to their past work experience. apppreciate any feedback... thanks CJ

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We have not seen "overqualified" as a problem working seasonally in the parks. HR people tend to lean toward people with experience. The only problem we have seen is actually the opposite: At some places the only one that will ever see your resume is the HR person who hires you, and we have had a few managers who couldn't care less what our experience was. However, there are also good places who really value the experience that we bring to the table.
I have a Masters Degree in Social Work and have not found this a hinderance to finding entry level jobs.

On the other hand I am a very people oriented person, 77 years old with a 60 year old body and an 18 year old attitude. It is not something that is verbalized but there is a lot of discrimination against the elderly. I suggest you just keep plugging away and the right job will present itself to you. Check with American Youth Hostels. Managing a Hostel is a great, positive, experience...just don't ever give up looking.

Thank you for feedback on the question about work experience. I am really looking forward to making this change in my lifestyle and work.

Can you tell me a little more about what it is like to be a Manager for a Youth Hostels? It is something that never even occured to me as a possible position.


I feel that being educated has not that much to play in seasonal work. I do think they think that with advanced degrees that you might be bored with what is offered as jobs. Most of these jobs do not require much more than a warm body. Now management positions are few and far between but gift shops, food areas and maintanance seem to be the norm. But after years of working in the business world I find that to wait on a tourist in a gift shop and enjoy the company of my fellow employees is a treat. I have never worked in the food and maintanance side so I can not give an account of those jobs. But if you feel this type of work is beneath you, then you will not enjoy seasonal work. Remember they do not pay enough to live on, you do have to have additional income. But for me the pay is not the issue here. To be able to work in some of the best tourist area in our great country, to live in those area and really see the area during the time you are working there. To live amoung the locals and hear what they have to say about their neck of the woods. That is why I work seasonal work. Not to make a living wage but to experience the area. Yes it has it's good side and it's drawback but I can take anything for a few months. I was married to the devil for 9 years before he died so I know if I can survivie him I can survive seasonal work and enjoy it. It all boils down to what you want out of this type of work.
I retired this year in April after 38 years with the railroad. I can tell you if you look, you can get a job. Forget about your past and look to the future. Retire and get a seasonal job. Don't try and rest on your laurels, the people will not care. They need a body on the job. Watch about long hours these people are in this business to make money, not pay it out. Just have fun with the time you have left. Just remember what you ask for you are liable to get it.
Ray S. has "hit the nail right on the head"! Don't over analyze things. Past laurels aren't going to mean much, and in fact may not work in your favor at all.

The abilities to work as team player, to budget your time well, and to realize that your "real career" is over will probably be the best things you can bring to the table.

Remember, if you find out its not for you, next year do something different!

Cordially yours,

I think it has more to do with the attitude you have during the interview process and your willingness to be a "blank slate" so to speak on the job. If an employer gets the feeling that when you come in to the entry level job you will be second guessing them on everything because of your "experience", it will be hard for you. The important thing is to come in with and open mind, a team spirit and be willing to learn "their way" to do things. Once that is mastered and you gain respect, then it will be okay to provide feedback and suggestions for improvement. I believe that this is a big point, especially when your manager is new and/or younger than you are. I'm speaking from experience because I'm on my second year in Denali as a waiter and I was an insurance agent and business owner for 16 years before that. What a life change! But seasonal life can be and has been very rewarding. I've met so many wonderful people from all over the world, seen so many beautiful things and have managed to save a little money along the way. Good luck, and remember, attitude is everything!
It sounds like you think you might have a problem being "over qualified". This is not going to be a problem for us oldies. The most important thing an employer is looking for is someone who is responsible and can show up and do the job and get along with others. If an older, retired person is not hired for a seasonal job, using the excuse that "I'm over qualified" won't work. The reason the person was not hired most likely had to do with other issues.
i have decided to retire early and think the only thing right now that might be a hinderance for seasonal employment is there are a lot more college grads applying for these positions because of the economy. i was going to retire 5 years ago and applied for a lot of seasonal jobs (probably 20) and everyone of the them called me for an interview. about that time i was offered a high paying real job i couldn't refuse. the 5 extra years i worked in the real world add 20 years to me.
i tend to think that these resorts would love to higher people that are older. first when i go on vacation, sometimes i am frustrated with these young kids who have no experience.
Jon, Seasonal jobs are real jobs. The pay may be awful, but when you accept one, you still have to do the job to the best of your abilities. I'm sensing that you are not transitioning well into being an older person who's not met his financial goals in life. Join the crowd. If you have your health, be glad that there are so many opportunities for us oldies. Seasonal work goes year round. Resorts hire us. You know that. Please don't be a know-it-all, super serious person on your seasonal job. Relax. Have fun.
yeah jim, i understand that. i think you need to relax. i quess what i should have said is that i am giving up my working my 92 hour a week job that is going to put me in a early grave. i understand that you have to work to the best of your abilities at any job and i always have and always will. maybe you should scold some of these hr people that put the phrase real job in their employment ads. all i am saying is that there is more compitition for the good jobs this year.
jon, I apologize if I sounded scolding. You mentioned that HR people say "real job" in their employment ads. I'm wondering what jobs you're talking about; probably "manager" jobs, which I would steer way clear of because you are typically paid very little, salary not hourly, but have a huge amount of responsibility. The best thing to do is take an hourly job for whatever company, then decide later if being a manager is for you. The upside of being a manager for DNC or other such large company is that you won't have a roommate. This is a HUGE perk! lol


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