Mandatory Retirement Has to Go Traditionally, people retire from their jobs when they reach the age of sixty-five. In some jobs, this is not an option but a requirement. I object to mandatory retirement for capable workers because it violates personal choice, discriminates against senior citizens, and wastes valuable skills as well as money. First of all, I believe that mandatory retirement violates an individual’s personal choice of continuing to work or retiring. The older working person should have the right to choose his or her retirement age.
A person’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (as written in the Declaration of Independence) is a very special thing. Forced retirement takes away people’s livelihood, deprives them of their freedom to choose their line of work, and prevents them from pursuing happiness. Second, mandatory retirement is surely a form of age discrimination. A young person might wonder why an older worker should be kept on the payroll when the company could hire someone who is younger and more creative. However, a younger person will not necessarily be better or more creative worker.
Age does not indicate the quality of a person’s work. Many well-known artists, politicians, and writers developed their best works after the age of sixty. The common belief that a person’s mind slows down after a certain age is nothing but a misconception. In addition to the previous two points, there is the issue of quality of work. Older employees have knowledge and experience that can truly be beneficial. Unfortunately, many employers disregard this fact. Captain Al Haynes, aged fifty-eight, was able to land a DC-10 that was out of control so that 186 of the 296 people aboard survived when it crashed.
McDonald-Douglas, the maker of the DC-10, simulated the same problem forty- five times and not one time did they have a successful landing. Safety experts agree that the high survival rate among the passengers on the flight was due to Captain Haynes’s aviation skills. It is doubtful that a less experienced pilot could have accomplished this feat. However, a year later, Captain Haynes had to retire because he had reached the age of sixty, the mandatory retirement age for pilots in the United States. Many people, especially fresh college graduates, do not agree that retirement should be an option.
They are worried that if older workers are allowed to continue in their jobs, there will not be enough openings for younger people. However, is there really a danger that older people will take away job opportunities from younger people? This is unlikely because younger workers and older workers rarely compete for the same jobs. In fact, older workers rarely seek entry-level positions. This type of faulty logic was used in 1960s to oppose the passage of the civil rights laws that now protect women and minorities from employment discrimination.
More importantly, the US Department of Labor is concerned that labor shortages might occur when ‘baby boomers’ retire after the year 2000. Therefore, employers should start looking for ways to attract experienced workers, not retire them. In conclusion, the age of retirement should be decided by an individual’s economic need, health status, and work preference. Our lives are our own, and we should be allowed to live our lives to the fullest potential. Without a doubt, mandatory retirement goes against fulfilling this potential and should not be a part of modern society. Source: Folse K et al, 1999, Great Essays, Houghton Mifflin Company