Let’s Get Small

Thoughts and notes from the editor-in-chief on how high-profile executives can land reduced-scope jobs as they scale back their emphasis on a 9 to 5.

Remember the “Let’s Get Small” routine from comedian Steve Martin’s first album? The mantra echoed in my head a few times while reading business writer Sean Gallagher’s piece on “downshifting” to reduced-scope jobs.

“Getting small” was a forbidden pleasure for Martin. By contrast, the decision to pursue a job with a smaller salary or title can be a painful one for seasoned executives, whether it’s in pursuit of a simpler life or driven by economic necessity.


In these tight times, employers have their pick of candidates, and it can be a stretch to convince them that you’re ready to squeeze into a smaller position.

But if you can make it work, the upside can be significant. “Many older workers are ready to give up the long-time grind and look for stimulating jobs with flexible schedules as they begin the process toward retirement,” Susan Reinhard, senior vice president of the AARP Public Policy Institute, told Gallagher.


“The current downturn presents a real bump in the road,” Reinhard added, “but, for the future, the findings are a welcome signal that workers 50 and over can really enjoy themselves while remaining productive in a vibrant economy.”