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may still desire to work in new organizations but may believe that their
age makes new employment unlikely. Financial incentive plans for early
retirement that seem lucrative may in fact offer a person less financial
security in the long run and reduce social security and pension benefits.
Work is important to most people because it offers status and a daily
schedule. When those two factors are taken away, many early retirees feel
unimportant and confused about how to spend their day.
A troubled economy and the loss of investments and equity in housing
suggest that the American workplace will see many older workers continue
to work well into their 70s and beyond. The fact that social security has a
benefit scale based on birth date will make it unlikely for many workers
currently in their forties and fifties to retire early. But a longer work-life
also has negative ramifications for workers who have worked at physically
and emotionally demanding jobs and have seen their bodies wear out.
In an analysis of the impact of paid work and formal volunteerism,
Zedlewski and Butrica (2007) found that numerous studies support the
finding that work and formal volunteering improve health, reduce the risk
of serious illness and emotional difficulties such as depression, and improve
strength and cognitive functioning, while full retirement without work and
early loss of jobs increased the probability of illness and emotional difficul-
ties. Having something of value to do after retirement helps keep older
adults healthy and emotionally engaged with the world around them.
Competency-Based Management Applied to a Poorly
Functioning Work Unit: Strategic Terminations and Fallout
Laura Levine is the supervisor of a unit of 15 workers, 3 students, and 2
volunteers providing services in a community mental health agency serv-
ing adults with varying degrees and forms of chronic mental illness. The
unit is a dysfunctional mess with workers failing to come to work on
time, missing work much too often, failing to do needed reports, provid-
ing services that are so poorly done that clients and their families have
complained, and the all too pervasive sense that everything in the unit is
in chaos. Whenever Laura gets tough with workers, they quit. She has
tried everything she can think of but nothing seems to work. In despera-
tion, she took a course on competency-based management from the
author and applied the following CBM practices.
1. She reviewed the research literature on management in a number of
different professions to find out ways of better understanding the pro-
blems she was having with the unit. She hadn't realized that research
on middle management was common in fields other than management
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