More choose to rejoin work force after retirement
Jeff Moore • firstname.lastname@example.org
• December 26, 2008
S. Ducote, 74, of Lafayette, left, receives an award
from Experience Works Regional Director Becky Scott
recognizing her as the 2008 Outstanding Older Worker for
Louisiana. Ducote is one of a growing number of retirees
re-entering the work force. (Photos by Claudia B.
What began as a break from the routine of
retired life has turned into a new career for
74-year-old Jean S. Ducote.
Ducote, an employee at Acadiana Computer
Systems in Lafayette, was recently named Louisiana's
Outstanding Older Worker by Experience Works, a leading
provider of training and job services for older workers.
While many her age are enjoying their
departure from the work force, working comes naturally
to Ducote. "I'm a person who's always worked," she
said. "I don't think I can retire."
Statistics show Ducote is among a growing
number of retirement-aged workers who are still in the
work force. Employment of workers 65 and over
increased by 101 percent from 1977-2007, compared to a
much smaller increase of 59 percent for total
employment, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor
Ducote got her first job in high school,
pumping gas and handling charge accounts at a St. Landry
Parish grocery store. Marriage and family life
took her out of the workforce until 1965, when she
returned to the retail business.
Ducote spent more than 20 years working
at the medical office of Dr. Don Hines, who served more
than a decade as a state senator. She retired in
2001, but quickly grew restless with the lifestyle.
"I went on a vacation, and when I came back, I was
climbing the walls," she said.
Ducote found a job at Acadiana Computer
Systems, where her daughter works as human resources
director. She commuted to work from Bunkie,
working one or two days a week as a receptionist.
Ducote was soon promoted to
accounts receivable representative, working with
patients and insurance companies to collect medical
Company CEO Don Dupuis was so impressed
with Ducote's work that he recruited her to move to
"She's really a very easy-going person,"
Dupuis said. "She has to deal with people in a time of
stress, and she handles it very well." Ducote's
co-workers have adopted her as the "grandmother" of the
office, a title she cherishes.
Ducote said she hopes to continue working
for many years to come. "As long as my health
holds up," she said. "Because I'm not a person to stay
More older workers are expected to join
Ducote in the work force during the next decade as
members of the baby-boom generation - those born between
1946 and 1964 -reach retirement age. The effects
of a recent market collapse on investment portfolios
could also keep some older workers on the job. Our
field staffers are finding a lot of people who have
retired in the last six months to a year are needing
help to get back in the job market," said Stephanie
Gauthier, spokeswoman for Experience Works. Older
workers possess several qualities that make them ideal
job candidates, said Experience Works spokeswoman Sami
A recent study by the Bureau of Labor
Statistics showed older workers are more loyal to their
employers than their younger counterparts. "They
have a great work ethic," Lemoine said. "And they bring
a lifetime of knowledge to the work force."