February 6, 2007

The Retirement Test

Posted in Office Hijinks at 4:13 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

The FAA is re-thinking their mandatory retirement age for pilots. For those of you that missed this, starting some time in the 60s or 70s (hey, I’m not a news source, you want specifics watch CNN) a law was passed that a pilot had to retire when he reached his 60th birthday. Why? Well, they were afraid he would keel over mid-flight (please, I couldn’t make this up). At the time, life expectancy for men was only in the mid-60s.

But now, people are living a lot longer (well into their 70s on average) and it is generally agreed upon that with age comes experience. Wouldn’t you rather an older, experienced aviator than a young, vibrant pup out for his or her first time?

So now this organization and the union and soon, possibly, Congress are going to come up with a new and improved indicator for retirement. It may still be an arbitrary age; however there has been discussion about meeting physical testing requirements to continue flying the friendly skies.

This got me thinking that maybe our firm needs to create a system to determine when it’s time to put our employees out to pasture.

It would of course include a physical element or two. I think it is important to learn early on if a person is unable to combat the 16th Street wind tunnel. With no access from Suburban Station to our new building this battle has become a part of everyone’s everyday. I would hate to see any of my co-workers get hurt on their way into the office. Okay, there are a couple I can think of that I wouldn’t mind seeing get hurt, but I digress.

The guts of the exam would be on new technologies. I’m not suggesting everyone should be able to write HTML code. I am not sure our IT department would pass that. I’m simply stating that after three months with a new phone system if you are still dropping calls instead of transferring, it may be time to start collecting Social Security.

Other areas would include logging into the server when away from the office, printing to a different, faster printer, using a Blackberry and checking voicemail. There could also be a section on public policy and behavior. If, for instance, you still think it is appropriate to stare lewdly at members of the opposite sex and then follow that up with a “looking good.” or something similar, it may be time to start perfecting your golf game.

It could also be made job specific. For assistants there could be tests on maximizing word processing programs, worksheet programs, time entry, typing and even a how-to use the office scanner. For paralegals there could pop quizzes on current filing procedures and the most efficient ways to organize medical records.

All of the scores would then be weighed against the individual’s unique talents. If this is the only person that can always answer any question that starts with, “Do you remember where I put. . .” then keeping him or her around despite a total failure of my test would be considered. Other remarkable gifts would include thorough understanding of an archaic filing system or the ability to read and understand otherwise illegible handwriting.

Of course this skills test could come back to bite me in the behind as it would prove once and for all I have no business being in this business.



  1. Lowly first-year said,

    I think you meant illegible handwriting. Although ineligible could have a funny connotation as well.

  2. Poop. That is the second time I fixed that. I just hope an earlier draft (complete with names and contact information of who I am talking about) didn’t get posted by mistake. Good looking out, First Year.

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