In this blog post I interview David Ovens from Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. David was made redundant at the age of 59 and faced the many challenges experienced by mature age workers trying to find employment. He then decided to take the plunge and buy into a mobile coffee franchise, Cafe2U, and hasn’t looked back since.
Take it away, David!
1. You’ve been made redundant twice in your career – the first time from Unilever, for whom you’d worked for 30 years, and the second time from Woolworths, for whom you’d worked for 4 years. How did those affect you?
I’ve actually had 3 jobs disappear. The second one was from Golden Circle. I was working for them at the Woolworths State Office planning orders nationally. Woolworths decided that the person doing that job should be based in Sydney. I applied and was accepted for a position with Woolworths. With the Unilever position it was my decision to accept a redundancy; the writing was on the wall that their store work would be going to a brokerage so it was time to go. It took another 10 years before they went to a broker – didn’t think it would have taken so long. However, no regrets. The other 2 positions were just the nature of the industry – I did not take it personally. You simply accept it and get on with life.
2. Can you tell us about some of your experiences trying to find employment at the age of 59?
Found that I was over-qualified and under-educated – if I went for a management position I was told that were they looking for someone with a degree, if I applied for a sales rep position it was assumed that I would get bored. Applying for positions takes a great deal of time and effort to address the criteria listed in ads, most places do not acknowledge receipt of the application or advise that the position has been filled. Dealing with HR was difficult as the person you were talking to often had little first-hand knowledge of the position available, so could not talk specifics. I wanted to find out as much as possible about the position, the company, the culture etc.
3. What made you decide to buy into the Cafe2U franchise?
I had a look at numerous franchises. Cafe2u’s offer suited my requirements – they were very professional and very honest in their dealings with me.
4. What are the challenges you’ve faced, or are still facing, starting a new career at 59?
Nothing major, I’ve loved every minute of it.
5. What do you think are the advantages of starting a new business at this stage of your life?
I enjoy the work, customers are great and are glad to see you, the day passes very quickly.
In this business there is plenty of weekend work if you want it. You meet people from all walks of life and attend events that you wouldn’t normally consider going to.
No chance of the position being made redundant.
My choice how many hours I work.
You are able to measure your performance daily – high level of job satisfaction.
6. What was the reaction of your family and friends to your decision to buy into Cafe2U?
7. What plans do you have for the future?
The contract with Cafe2u has 3 years to run. If my health is okay I will probably renew the contract.
Then retirement, a little travel, spoil the grandkids and be involved in community work.
8. What advice would you give other people your age who are thinking of starting a new career?
Research thoroughly, get professional advice. If everything measures up, go for it.
I found it interesting that unlike two of the previous baby boomers I’ve interviewed, Becca Reed and Peter Busch, who forged new careers from their passions, David happened upon his new job as a result of being retrenched, and would probably never have considered running a mobile coffee franchise if that hadn’t happened.
Have you had a similar experience to David’s – where you’ve been retrenched or forced to change occupations and ended up doing something you never would have dreamed of doing before?
Please share it with us below.
Robin Storey is an Australian author from the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. She is a certified book nerd and has no weird hobbies or unusual pets.