Academic journal article Human Ecology Forum

The Changing Workplace and Volunteering

Academic journal article Human Ecology Forum

The Changing Workplace and Volunteering

Article excerpt

Between 1979 and 1995, 43 million jobs were lost to corporate downsizing. The result has been a leaner, and sometimes meaner, corporate culture where remaining employees work harder and longer, are increasingly concerned about job security, and have less free time.

This situation makes it more difficult for employees to take time off from work to volunteer, said Donna S. Anderson, president of the National Retiree Volunteer Coalition, a nonprofit consulting organization dedicated to creating a national movement of corporate retiree volunteer leadership and service.

In addition, those in the 40- to 60-year-old age group have family responsibilities that mid-lifers never had before, Anderson pointed out. "In 1940 only 13 percent of people 60 years old had at least one living parent. By the year 2000 that number will jump to 44 percent."

Today this age group is called the Sandwich Generation, whose members' free time is often occupied by parenting their children while caring for their parents. And more are, by virtue of circumstances beyond their control, also parenting their grandchildren.

To make matters tougher, mid-lifers also have financial worries, especially when contemplating the future. Anderson cited the research of Neal Cutler, professor of financial gerontology at Widner University, who, in asking baby boomers how they envision retirement, found that

* 48 percent expect to need more income in retirement than in their last years of working life.

* only 20 percent expect that adults now age 35 to 60 will fare better than current retirees, whereas 43 percent expect themselves to be worse off.

* 35 percent of those surveyed who are 50 through 64 help to support financially a parent, grown child, or other relative.

* 46 percent expect to work part-time after retirement.

* 8 percent look ahead to full-time jobs in retirement. …

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