Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Finding Work When Over 50 In A Changing Economy—Ice Delivery Did Not Last Forever

photo

Bud Korbee died recently in the Cincinnati area.

Mr. Korbee was one of the last people in Cincinnati employed in the job of delivering ice to people’s homes.

Above you see a picture of Mr. Korbee.

Here is a portion of Mr. Korbee’s obituary from the Cincinnati Enquirer—

“Bud Korbee, who was born to a butcher shop owner and homemaker in Norwood, joined his uncle’s ice delivery business while still in high school. His uncle died during Bud Korbee’s senior year, and the young man decided to keep the family business going instead of going to college. “It looked like a good business, like it would last forever,” said Harold G. “Hal” Korbee, his oldest son, a lawyer in Cincinnati for 45 years. In its best times, the little ice company employed seven workers, including family members like Hal Korbee, driving three ice trucks. They would stop, put a burlap sack on their shoulder and, using large tongs, pull off a 25- pound, 50-pound or 100-pound block of ice, which they’d carry to houses, businesses and apartments, sometimes up four or five stories.”

Mr. Korbee thought that maybe the ice delivery business “would last forever.” Imagine that.

You don’t have to be an advocate of ruthless competition and tearing the social safety net to shreds to realize that you have to be ready for what may come next in life.

The good news in this case is that Mr. Korbee did have another skill. And, in addition to this other skill, he was able to find an employer who would hire him.

From the obit—

“One of Bud Korbee’s hobbies became his next career as his ice business was dying. Bud Korbee loved gardening and kept a rose garden at home. He became a residential and commercial landscaper for Bud Jones & Sons Inc. from 1957 until he retired in 1980.”

I’m glad it worked out for Mr. Korbee.

The thing I wonder about today is will those who have lost jobs in the recession be able to find a decent job again?

While the obit does not give a birth date, based on his age Mr. Korbee must have been born in 1905 or 1906. He took the job with the gardening firm in 1957 just as he was turning 50.

Here is a recent New York Times story where people 50 and older who have lost their jobs voice concerns that they may not be able to find full time work ever again.

From this story—

“… older workers suspect their résumés often get shoved aside in favor of those from younger workers. Others discover that their job-seeking skills — as well as some technical skills sought by employers — are rusty after years of working for the same company. Many had in fact anticipated working past conventional retirement ages to gird themselves financially for longer life spans, expensive health care and reduced pension guarantees. The most recent recession has increased the need to extend working life. Home values, often a family’s most important asset, have been battered. Stock portfolios are only now starting to recover. According to a Gallup poll in April, more than a third of people not yet retired plan to work beyond age 65, compared with just 12 percent in 1995…. in the greater Seattle area, a fifth of those claiming extended unemployment benefits are 55 and older.

If average people think they won’t need help from government in the economy of the future, they are in for a rough surprise. You can talk about small government all you want, but people are going to need help.

One way people are being helped is with Health Care Reform. HCR reform means you can’t be kicked off a policy for getting sick and it eliminates  lifetime limits on polices. Already, and in the years, to come it will expand access to health insurance for millions of hard working Americans. Click here to read about how HCR will benefit working Americans.

Technology has been changing how people work for a long time. Mr. Korbee lost his job in ice delivery in the 1950’s because in-home refrigeration became accessible to almost all people.

I wonder how Mr. Korbee would have done if he lost a job today due to new technologies.  It seems that he might have had a tougher time than he did in 1957.

I know this—Reflexive bashing of government is not going help anybody get a job or get through hard times.

October 11, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , ,

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