No Computer Skills? No Social Security Payments?

Recently I was on a radio show hosted by a 78-year-old woman. I was excited about talking to someone my age still rockin’ and rollin’ with a challenging  activity. However, as we talked it was clear she was “handicapped” because she didn’t know how to use a computer – not even email. She said she had taken computer classes but just could not “get it.”

When you retire without intending to continue to grow and learn new things you can get lost in the shuffle of life. For many, that’s the goal – to leave the real world. I understand – to an extent. But it’s not smart.

The retirement honeymoon doesn’t last much longer than a couple of years. Then, if still reasonably healthy, you start to reevaluate your lifestyle and begin to think there may be something more stimulating than hanging out at the senior center with other bored retirees or doing unfulfilling volunteer work. The common retiree mantra “I’ve earned my retirement” no longer makes sense.   You start to think about getting a part time job. In our disastrous economy, how realistic is that? It depends.

From a Science Daily article What Employers Look for of Those Re-Entering the Workforce :

“Finding a job in today’s economy is difficult in the best of circumstances, but many women are facing an even bigger challenge: returning to the workforce after a long absence. Researchers recently looked at the characteristics on older women’s resumes that received the most success in securing job interviews. The top characteristic that resulted in job interviews for middle-aged women seeking an entry level job was vocational or computer training, according to the study in the Journal of Career Development (JCD).”

It annoys me no end that senior centers and government programs do not focus more on re-training and preparing retirees for the job market. I’m beginning to think that having some basic computer skills should be a prerequisite for retirees to get Social Security payments. If Social Security totally tanks, recipients would be at least minimally prepared to reenter the workplace, assuming there are jobs. Yeah, I know, it’s a bad idea. Please don’t email and tell me what an ogre I am for suggesting healthy retirees should be prepared to work just in case the sky falls. Ooops – I just noticed – the sky IS falling.


  1. Lura Zerick says

    I agree; I would be very upset if my computer was not available! Not only as a writer of
    freelance articles and/or books, my computer gives me a continuing link to others. I can
    stay in touch with loved ones or friends through e-mail and Facebook or any of the other
    social sites. I can view photos of grandchildren and great-grandchildren that I don’t get to visit often. Besides, a lot of business can be conducted through my computer, saving trips, time and money. I can plan my book signings, speaking dates and/or other special events by contacting those who offer the opportunities.
    We learn by doing and, regardless of our age, we CAN learn new things! Don’t be overwhelmed; learn to enjoy the challenge of learning. I don’t want to think how dull life would be without my computer!

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