Dale Parch likes his job. As a sales representative for Dial One Windows in Santa Ana, Calif., he closes an average of about $1 million dollars in window sales a year. He is 70.
Parch doesn't need the job to pay bills.
The reason Parch keeps on selling is that it's a “generally pleasant thing to do.”
Seniors in the Workforce Expect to see more older Americans in the workforce. Sixty-four million Americans are poised to retire at the end of this decade. Many, however, will continue to work. An AARP survey of baby boomers found that, for a variety of reasons, 80% plan to continue working past retirement. Some have skills that companies will find difficult to replace.
Jeri Sedlar, co-author of Don't Retire, Rewire! points out that there are “a lot of industries that don't have enough fresh blood, that are reaching out to those that have the knowledge.” Companies, she says, will need to figure out ways to accommodate older workers, such as part-time work arrangements and flextime. Parch, for instance, is not quite full time, although he takes pride in servicing existing customers and does attend sales meetings. Repeat and referral business account for 70% of his sales.
Sedlar says that older workers, for their part, must be open to learning new skills such as technological facility. (For information, see www.dontretirerewire.com.)
Right Person Parch actually did retire once, 15 years ago from a job as CFO at a savings and loan. It didn't take him long to decide he wasn't the type of guy who wants to do nothing. So he and a friend started working for Dial One to learn the business, with an eye toward opening a branch office. Selling was interesting, Parch decided, and didn't have the risks involved in starting up a new business. He stayed on and grew with the company.
Key to his success, Parch says, is giving his customers the service he himself expects when he's a consumer. “Every customer knows I'm there working at their side. I go to bat for them — sometimes to the frustration of management.”
Parch may have cut back a bit on his workload, but he has no plans to retire from selling windows. “If it were no longer a pleasure or fun, I would quit,” he says. “I could do this until I'm 80.”