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Erik Richardson

Teacher, Richardson Ideaworks, Inc.


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How will you spend your time and/or make a living between ages 60 and 100?

As improved medicine and machinery continue to expand our lifespans in the developed world, the current model in which we work until age 65 +/- and then "retire" seems sadly outdated. New questions begin to arise, though, when we reflect on how we will each make a living and how we will make a life. I am excited to see what kind of ideas you all come up with.

One particular question related to the model is this: if someone goes back to school to re-tool for a whole new career at, say, 50, will they get hired into career-track positions where they could work for 20 years?


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  • Jul 6 2012: I went back to school full time at age 68. I picked up a graduate certificate from Algonquin College in their Documentary Production Program. I graduated with honours and made the Dean's list.

    Why Documentary Production?

    I got an honours degree in Physics in 1965 - but could find no work in Physics in Canada. I was offered a job as a Systems Engineer in Northern Electric - which turned out to be their first programming group. IT was my career for the next quarter century. I was then "downsized" from a middle management position.

    I next discovered General Markup Languages and stayed in this domain as a career until 2000. I quit, formed my own company, and stayed there ever since.

    I started to get contracts to produce video productions - prompting me to seek formal training in this subject. Hence the return to school.

    Will I ever get hired into a whole new career? Never. I deduced that the notion of a "career" or a "permanent job" disappeared around 1993 and shows no sign of ever returning. In 1993 I even wrote a blog entry - http://cyberspace-industries-2000.com/Disappearance.html

    I intend to spend what is remaining of my time on this planet continuing my consulting in general markup languages and documentary production. My current major effort is a historical doc - http://DanielDaverne.com

    BTW - the name is "Hugh" - Facebook knows nothing about middle names.
    • Jul 15 2012: I wish I had got into a field/some fields where I was wanted- I've tried several different fields but been shut out of them over time by regulations, politics & economics. Now my age is the barrier- if I ever get job interviews, I always lose to a younger, less experienced applicant, even for jobs having only a 12 month contract. I thought being a good health researcher would keep me in work for the foreseeable future, but it hasn't. Perhaps I should take up some useful but slightly difficult programming language and specialise in it?? I believe I could learn anything if it had the possibility of an income attached ultimately.
      • Jul 15 2012: I have given up on learning a YAPL (yet another programming language) - especially if it is just to learn that particular language. Learn C++ and the next job wants something else... and multiple years experience at it as well. I have noted that I cannot afford the "expense" in time and $ to learn any language - unless there is a high probability of generating some revenue from it.... and of course an employer does not want to incur the expense of you learning on the job.

        Of course if it is just for my own enjoyment - with no expectation of revenues - then I might proceed.

        I always taken the attitude that I would hire a "good programmer" rather than someone who just knows language X . A good programmer can transfer his/her skills to any language.

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