Staying ‘young and crazy’ by staying on the job


Whether on the front or the back end of the baby boom generation, people who want to remain in the workplace desire to be engaged, according to a poll by Gallup.

They want to be around positive people, and keep working, in part, to stay active. According to Gallup, nearly half of baby boomers say they don’t expect to retire until they’re at least 66 – and 10 percent say they never want to call it quits.

But it takes the right kind of workplace to offer that engaged, positive work environment. By all indications, Bow Street Market in Freeport is such a place.

“It’s a very special market,” said Anne-Marie Lee, a manager at the high-end Freeport grocery, who enjoys working the checkout. “We are so community based. We see some people come in here two, three times a day. I don’t feel like I work at just a market. I work for a community.”

Lee, as young as you can get for a baby boomer at 52, said she has no plans to retire when she becomes eligible. Working in a busy job at a busy market not only keeps her in shape, it also ensures her good health care.

“We have benefits, and a 401-K here,” Lee said. “You don’t see that at many small markets. I love being on my feet. This is great – it keeps me moving. And I’m surrounded by healthy foods. There’s a certain sense of health here. We support a lot of running events in town.”

Lee gives much credit to store owner Adam Nappi for a healthy, friendly workplace.

“It’s nice to work for an owner who actually has a heart,” she said.

The Gallup study also found that the older boomers in the workforce comprise a large segment of those who remain after age 60. Those aged 60-68 are more engaged in their work and workplace than younger baby boomers.

Donor Dorr, at 68, is at the back end of the generation. And she, like Lee, finds Bow Street Market the right place for her.

Dorr, who grew up in West Cumberland the 10th of 11 children, has known hard times. She and her husband just purchased a mobile home in Brunswick,

“We’ve been close to homeless,” said Dorr, who does housekeeping at the market. “I raised three kids, and didn’t think about retirement. Then I went through that time when everybody was unemployed. I was unemployed for two years. It was that time when the president kept extending the benefits.”

Dorr said she has held several jobs since that time. At Bow Street Market, she puts in six five-hour days.

“That’s quite enough,” she said. “A lot of people my age are trying to keep walking and keep limber and do exercise classes and so on. This keeps me limber and it keeps me going.”

Nappi says his older workers are a treasure.

“They’re likeable, they’re honest,” he said. “The integrity is already there.”

Across town, Freeport Community Services also provides a good environment for people who want to work well into their 60s – and far beyond that. Debby Daggett, volunteer services coordinator for the social service agency, said she knows of several people in their 80s who still volunteer there, and even some in their 90s.

As for Daggett, retirement is not in her vocabulary.

“I want to work or volunteer until I die,” said Daggett, 61. “I want to wear out, not rust out – not my quote. I feel like I’m 19 even though I look 100. Why stop at 19?”

Daggett does have plans, however, to live part time in Tennessee when her husband retires in two years. She’ll find a job, and work and/or volunteer at her granddaughter’s school.

“I’ll sweep floors, I’ll do anything,” Daggett said. “I want to walk her to school every day. If I can’t keep working I’ll definitely be volunteering. It keeps you part of the community and it keeps you in touch with friends, and it keeps you young and crazy.”

Anne-Marie Lee, a manager at Bow Street Market in Freeport, checks out customers.Debbie Daggett works the phones as volunteer coordinator at Freeport Community Services.


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