Let's Get Small | Ladders

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.

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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.

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“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.”