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Fifty is For Growth!

Libi Astaire

life expectancy in the United States was approximately fifty years of age. Today reaching fifty means reaching a new stage of life: marrying off the kids, confronting empty nest syndrome, and, sometimes, empty bank account syndrome. In other words, it’s a time of new challenges and, as Family First recently found out, new opportunities for growth.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Torah, doesn’t waste words. In Bamidbar (8:25) it tells us: “… and from the age of fifty the Levites stop doing the service in the Beis HaMikdash.” To put it another way, fifty was the age of retirement from active service. Yet it was not a total dismissal. As the Magen Avos points out, referring to Pirkei Avos 5:24, which states that fifty is the age to give counsel to others, the Levites still had a role to perform. Their new job was to give advice to the younger Levites, to share their knowledge and experience. Fast forward a few millennia and human resources personnel, looking at one of the biggest economic downturns in recent times, are echoing what the Torah has told us, albeit in their own — l’havdil — way: You’re over fifty and you lost your job? Forget about finding a new one. Why don’t you try volunteering or mentoring? Of course, the reality isn’t quite as bleak as that — if a person is willing to change how they view that reality. According to John McDorman — a managing of a Dallas-based outplacement firm called Transition Consulting, who was interviewed by Fortune about the job outlook for the over-fifty crowd — there is hope. His advice, in a nutshell, was that if a person has the requisite skills and financial resources, they should forget about trying to get a new corporate job and instead look into either starting their own business or buying someone else’s business. Fortune dubbed McDorman’s suggestion “involuntary entrepreneurship.” Although it’s not known how many the of the magazine’s readers took this advice, when Family First recently spoke to a few women who had entered the pentagenarian stage we discovered something both interesting and encouraging. Voluntary entrepreneurship, bolstered by a healthy dose of emunah and bitachon, is helping frum women not only meet the economic challenge but also discover new avenues for personal growth.


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