Published On: Tue, Oct 10th, 2023

Been There, Done That

By Marci Shatzman

Headline: Help, help! But just for the holidays

This is the time of year retailers start posting signs asking for temporary holiday help.

Target has a superhero image online with this message: “Become our best guest advocate, merchandise or fulfillment expert.” The retailer cites a flexible schedule, competitive seasonal pay and a 10% discount.

Holiday gigs are a great way for bored retirees to stick their toe in a different labor market and make extra bucks for a few months work.

But the question is, will they?

A Wall Street banker I knew took a greeter gig at his local Walmart after stepping away. He loved it. I filled in at a curtain store in a mall over the holidays years ago for a family that was short staffed. I learned a lot and made over $1,000, much to my surprise.

I’m sure you read that Harvard professor Claudia Goldin just won the Nobel Prize in Economics for her research explaining the reasons for the gender gaps in the labor force. By the way, she’s 77.

But nobody to my knowledge tracks who answers the call for holiday employment and their ages. 

I discussed the issue with Encore Palm Beach County’s founder Rosemary Nixon. One of Encore’s main missions is to encourage employers to hire mature workers. Their mantra is: Connecting People  50+ to New Work and Volunteer Opportunities

We both speculated whether and why temporary holiday help is appealing or not to retired professionals.

In lieu of focus groups, I’ll survey retailers after the holidays and report back what I found.

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