The Gazette, Colorado Springs


Dear Heloise: Officially, I’m retired. However, I want to work, and I want to stay busy. My biggest problem has been finding someone to hire me. After years of working as an electrician, I still have skills that are useful, and I’ve kept up with all of the latest innovations in my field. I worked my way through college as a carpenter and put an addition on my own home a few years back. Like so many other retirees, I’m in good health, and for a man of 70, I have no problem getting around or climbing stairs. Earning money is not my major concern, but the extra cash would be welcome. I’ve spoken to a number of other people who would like to start a second career, but no one wants to hire a person who is elderly, no matter how much experience they have or how sharp their mind is. Yes, there’s freelancing as an alternative, but it’s hitand-miss with jobs. I can be busy for a month, but then there wouldn’t be any jobs for the next six weeks. One of the main problems I’ve encountered is that when you do freelance work, everyone expects you’ll work for less than minimum wage. On one job, a woman asked me what I’d charge to build a bookcase and paint it. I quoted her a price, and she agreed to the amount. After I was finished (and I did a nice job), she was furious that I didn’t reduce my fee by a couple hundred dollars because, as she put it, I was retired and had nothing better to do. I’ve encountered that attitude far too often. Being over the age of 65 does not mean that seniors have become senile or incompetent. Many of us just want a job where we can earn a decent wage. — No Name, in Washington Dear Heloise: I was in the middle of making meatloaf when I realized that I was out of breadcrumbs. Instead of driving to the grocery store, I reached for a box of oatmeal, and the meatloaf turned out just fine. — Gloria, in Mississippi Gloria, you can also use instant mashed potatoes or crushed soda crackers in an emergency like that, and the results will still be very tasty. — Heloise