In the late 1960s, I worked with Gilda Radner in downtown Toronto. I first met Gilda in Ann Arbor Michigan, with my friend Jeff Rubinoff from London Ontario. They had staged a college production of The Fantasticks. When Gilda and Jeff got together and moved to Toronto, we all needed part-time jobs to support our artistic and creative endeavours. Most of us lived in boarding houses and we didn’t move into apartments until after we were married. I don’t think we aspired to purchase homes, buy cars or live in the suburbs. We were creative gypsies and that was our lifestyle choice.
Some unfortunate pharmacy manager thought it was a good idea to hire Gilda and I for the cosmetics counter at the Colonnade Drugstore.
We quickly developed our unique sales techniques and creative promotions not always appreciated by other staff and customers. And, of course, Gilda was super talented at working up new ideas for the many things that could go wrong with makeup application. Her energy was too large for that drugstore. Needless to say, we did not last long but we sure had a lot of fun. After that job, Gilda went on to perform in Godspell with Victor Garber, another Londoner, and then Second City and SNL.
Part-time work can support creative endeavours or serve as a bridge to a new career or an encore career in later life. Part-time work can provide older adults with a small change in income that makes a big impact on quality of life. Older workers have skills and a work ethic valued by employers seeking part-time employees.
As boomers age, more will have meaningful part time or seasonal work to enhance their retirement income. They too are deconstructing the idea of traditional retirement for future generations.
My recently retired friend says art had always been her true passion yet she didn’t create when her children lived at home. She’s always feared the judgement, criticism and ridicule of her family members. Her current part-time job at the gallery allowed her to surround herself with the colour and energy of the work. She now loves connecting with artists and customers. Through her part time job, she found the support and encouragement she needed to start painting.
Late blooming boomers rock!