I was recently elected to a Director seat on the board of a local non-profit organization. Volunteer work is not new to me. In fact, this particular board seat is the third active volunteer position I currently hold. I am rarely without one and usually like to be involved in more than one group at the same time.
This particular group I had not held a board position with before although I have had extensive contact with the workings of the facility. I have also forged a good working relationship with the existing board and many key individuals associated with the group. Most of these contacts were developed while I owned and operated a local newspaper.
What really attracted me to this group (a museum society) is that I was certain I could start to get involved right away. In fact, within the first week of being elected to the board I found myself working on paperwork related to hiring a new facility manager. I assisted with developing a job description, writing the job contract and also playing a role on the hiring committee.
Today the job interviews were scheduled. Out of a number of applications the hiring committee of five chose the top three candidates to interview through a series of emails. I only recognized the name of one candidate. The other two were relatively new to the community and both had one thing in common, although they were not aware of it.
The final two candidates interviewed were my age. They were what I would have categorized as ‘mature workers’ and both were looking at a midlife career change. According to their resumes, each had extensive careers earlier in their lives. They both had taken time off of work to address different personal matters. Now, both were looking to re-enter the workforce.
The position we were interviewing for is part-time with a total of 20-hours of work per week. That seemed to fit perfectly in the plans for both of these individuals. What probably stood out the most for me was each of us on the hiring committee was in our 50s or 60s interviewing 50 and 60-year old candidates for this part-time job.
It confirmed so many things I have read about midlife career changes since I experienced my own. I was a little bit amazed and probably as intrigued about the situation as I was with the answers they were giving to our questions. They had tons of work experience and transferable skills. They were both looking for something interesting and different to do.
Plus, money was not an issue. These mature candidates have had business ventures of their own and went through the ups and downs of entrepreneurship. They just wanted to do something for work that had meaning and could potentially result in some kind of impact in the community and their lives. It was an interesting realization for me.
I didn’t even see it until hours later when I starting thinking about how well the interviews went and how well the hiring committee worked together. We had a goal and we achieved it. Before we left the building we had already chosen the person we were going to hire for the job. Our discussion was brief. We ranked them and all agreed.
I think what may have made it work out so well was that all of us – the hiring committee and the job candidates – were in the approximately same age group. There was no need to impress or show off. Both sides were evenly balanced from start to finish. I can only hope that all other tasks that come my way with this group work out as well.
My name is George Elliott. I have been in the Media Industry since 1978. I spent 23 years in Broadcasting and worked in a total of six different radio stations located in southern British Columbia Canada during my career. In 2000 I switched gears and moved into the Print Media Industry at a small town, local weekly newspaper. In 2004 I bought the paper and operated it with my wife, Brenda until July 2016 when we closed it. I launched a freelance web content and article writing business from my home in January 2014.