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Is It Forced Retirement Or Really Being Fired?

Is It Forced Retirement Or Really Being Fired?

By Susan Williams

I read a rather disturbing article in Forbes today. It was a post on how a Think Tank is projecting that 4 million people will be forced into retirement as a result of COVID-19.

It went further on to explain that for these older workers, their job opportunities will also be diminished due to employers fear of hiring older individuals due to their increased risks related to the coronavirus.

I couldn’t help but wonder, can we really consider this retirement if it’s forced?

If someone wants to keep working but are forced out the door is this not really just being laid off or even fired?

Retirement is supposed to be the time in someone’s life when they decide to leave the work that they are doing to pursue something else. Whether it be leisure activities, another type of job, volunteer work or whatever – it’s hopefully by choice and at the time when they want to.

When someone is forced out the door of where they work, no matter at what age, isn’t this really being fired or laid off?

I can’t help but wonder if given someone’s age, organizations may be pushing them into a retirement age box and then concealing the layoff as retirement so that it has a softer blow.┬áBut this thinking is not only ageist – it also has some major implications.

We know that working beyond the traditional age of retirement is a necessity for many people as they have not saved nearly enough for their retirement. Plus for those that do happen to find work, often it is at a much lower salary then their previous position which leaves their future financial security very exposed.

So in this forced retirement situation, are we just masking a problem by calling it something it’s not?

Now I’m not suggesting that the pandemic has not caused a great deal of challenge and grief for many companies as they deal with the economic impacts. But should we force organizations to pull away from using the possibly easy out of forcing older workers into retirement and have them review all layoffs and firings of individuals based on criteria that does not include age?

If companies were to offer an early retirement option and people selected it that would be fine. This would then be retirement by choice. But to call something retirement that is actually forced I think is an ageist response to a much larger problem.

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Susan Williams is the Founder of Booming Encore. Being a Boomer herself, Susan loves to discover and share ways to live life to the fullest. She shares her experiences, observations and opinions on living life after 50 and tries to embrace Booming Encore's philosophy of making sure every day matters.