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People in Southeast Wisconsin are interested in 'unretiring' more than ever

We spoke with some of our TMJ4 News viewers who shared how they have re-imagined their golden years.
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Posted at 7:35 PM, Sep 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-09 20:38:36-04

MILWAUKEE -- A recent report hit a nerve for many of our viewers. It is about "The Great Unretirement," where people are ditching the golf course to get back to work.

We spoke with some of our TMJ4 News viewers who shared how they have re-imagined their golden years.

The report about Unretirement in July caught the attention of many mature workers.

Viewer Karen Zoller said, "I always watch WTMJ. It particularly interested me because I'm in the semi-retirement age."

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When viewer Billy Knight caught the headline, "I said hey, wait a minute, that's me. I had to put my two cents in and said, 'hey man this is what I'm all about I'm all in!'"

Knight hopes his unretirement story inspires others. At 61 years old, he never imagined he would be a school bus driver.

"I remember turning on those lights," said Knight, adding now, "You can't drag me off that thing."

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This is actually Knight's second unretirement. After 20 years in the Airforce, he went back to school to get his master's degree and became a college professor. He saw the challenges of trying to get back in the classroom first-hand.

"I think its a shame that a lot of the older teachers and older professors are being phased out, because we're taking everything up here with us."

He says trying something new and giving bus driving a try was a blessing in disguise.

"I've never felt more relevant to tell you the truth. I loved serving in the airforce, I loved being a teacher."

He hopes others know anything is possible.

So does Karen Zoller, who worked for years in human resources for a large Milwaukee-area company.

"I've experienced layoffs and I've experienced it several times," Zoller said.

The latest was during the pandemic when she was just shy of retiring, "And almost met it. COVID shut us down."

Now she is in the process of creating her own organization to help mature workers.

She plans to invite Richard Ross with ManpowerGroup, to speak with workers in the same boat in the near future with two networking groups she is part of. One of them is called the Professional Opportunities Networking Group. They meet Mondays at 8:30 a.m. More information can be found by clicking here. The other networking group she plans to have Ross speak is at the Milwaukee Area Transitional Human Resources Group (MATHR). You can click here to reach out to Zoller about this group. In addition, she pointed us to a great resource list for mature workers looking for specific groups called Ellie's List. Click here to check it out.

We featured Ross in our last report about how he works to remove the stigma of hiring workers over 50.

"The one I think will be most helpful is when he speaks to the networking groups," said Zoller.

"AARP studies have proven that if you lose your job over the age of 50, it can take 2 years to find another job, If you ever do. As well as the fact that you probably will never make the same amount of money as you did before."
Richard Ross, ManpowerGroup

Ross says the number one thing he plans to tell Zoller's networks is to be flexible.

"They're not going to be getting the same kind of job or the same compensation they had before."

Ross also encourages people to join ManpowerGroup's Facebook Page for mature workers.

For Billy Knight, he hopes his story will get someone thinking about unretiring to try something new.

"If you don't try, you'll never know!"

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By the way, people who are working for ManpowerGroup on assignment are eligible for a host of training to upskill:

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