I’m just not the retiring type

THE Prime Minister is urging people to remain in the workforce as long as possible, but some have been following that advice for years.
They may be at, or beyond, the age of retirement but work for them brings purpose, self-esteem and balance to a well-rounded life.


WHEN Maggie Tabberer was wandering through the Melbourne office of Maggie T last week she overheard one of the younger members of staff repeat one of her most common sayings.
“I like to think I can hand something on and that seems to be some of my expressions,” Tabberer said.
“I heard one of the girls say ‘She’d frighten bulldogs’. It’s fantastic.”
In fact, the staff are in awe of the label’s namesake.
Marketing co-ordinator Kate Sorenson, 25, talks to Tabberer at least once a week.
“You can’t buy Maggie’s knowledge and experience,” Ms Sorenson said.
“She is a massive benefit to me and a lot of people in the office. She has such clarity in terms of ideas and she saves us so much time because she really understands the market, listens and is open to change.”
Tabberer, 75, has always said what she thinks, but those qualities have become even more defined with age.
Her decisiveness is appreciated by her staff.
“If an idea comes up that the business has tried previously, she lets us know if it hasn’t worked and that helps us move forward,” she said.
She prefers not to analyse why she finds it impossible to retire. She did retire last year but was so bored she was soon back arranging appointments.
Loving her work, enjoying company and yearning to be part of the cut and thrust helps explain her commitment. She also puts great store in having wonderful friends and writing lists.
“If you have lived a busy life, and, more than anything, have enjoyed your work. you miss it when it’s not there in the morning,” she said.
“But I also like having a bit of freedom. I’ve just come back from a month in Europe with friends and I adored it. I love entertaining. The day I can’t whip up a lunch for friends is the day they should bury me.”
Maggie T CEO Teri Naccarato, 46, said Tabberer was an inspiration.
Tabberer is in constant consultation with Ms Naccarato, whether it’s choosing fabrics and designs or being asked opinions.
“We talk every second day,” Ms Naccarato said.
“Her experience in building the brand is essential to my success and my team’s success. Maggie Tabberer knows Australian women, aged 40-plus, like no other. She’s an intelligent, well-rounded woman and it’s hard to find those qualities in younger people.”



THERE have been times when Heather Murphy has hoped her boss would slow up with age.
But Robert Wilson, 63, is as dynamic now as he was when she first joined plastics manufacturer Palm Products 17 years ago.
“He is very driven and there has been absolutely no change in his energy levels in 17 years,” Ms Murphy said.
“And every day there is a situation where Rob’s knowledge and experience still teaches me something.”
Mr Wilson admits he has always liked to work hard and there is no sign of that work ethic faltering.
He runs around The Tan five days a week, sails regularly, snow skis, plays tennis, travels annually with his partner and is a devoted family man.
“I don’t have any plans to retire,” Mr Wilson said.
“As long as I’m enjoying what I’m doing, I don’t see any reason to retire. I enjoy working. It gives me a strong purpose in life and the social aspect — interacting with my staff, customers and suppliers — is also important.
“I have a very fulfilling life.”
Most of his staff have worked for him for more than 10 years, including production manager Danny Dang, 40.
He started working with the company when he was 21 years old.
“All my skill and development has come from him,” Mr Dang said.
“I still look up to him and feel there is a lot more to learn from him. Because he is older, he is smarter.”


IN the 38 years that Sally-Anne Walton has been a Toorak institution, she has always sought change and employed young women.
Ms Walton is as excited and energetic about her work now as she was when she first stepped on to her career path.
“Change is not something many older people embrace but I love it and actually seek it out,” Ms Walton said.
“Plus, my work has always been my stability and it’s what I am. I have put my life into it and I eat, breathe and sleep my work. When I walk in here, it’s like my haven and I have no plans to retire.”
Ms Walton counts many of her loyal clients as friends.
She has a staff of five full-time beauty therapists and one part-time beauty therapist.
And she sees her role as nurturing her staff and her clients.
Ms Walton trains her staff when they join the salon to follow her methods and techniques. Her staff look up to her for the knowledge and experience she imparts.
Beauty therapist Mai Guillou, 30, has worked for Ms Walton for six years and said she has learnt as much about technique in using a wide array of products and machines as she has about the correct psychological approach to clients.
“Sally-Anne takes care of the complete person,” Ms Guillou said.
“Anyone can do facials but the reason she has clients who have been with her for 38 years is that she believes in her products and the clients believe and trust her. She has taught me so much and continues to be an inspiration.”
Fellow beauty therapist Stephanie Vincenti, 21, said she sees Ms Walton as a mentor.
“She looks amazing for a start, but she wants us to learn and she helps us to be the best we can be,” Ms Vincenti said.
“She has helped me to be more confident around people and she is always the one I would go to with questions. She has so much knowledge.”
Ms Walton attends trade fairs regularly and, as Melbourne’s top selling salon of Payot beauty products, she travels to Paris every year to attend the Payot seminar.
“I still get very excited about new products but I also keep a level head and my feet on the ground,” Ms Walton said.
“I believe very much in a healthy mind, healthy body.”

by: Catherine Lambert
From: Sunday Herald Sun June 17, 2012 12:00AM