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One Job Where It Pays to Be in Your 60s

Nearly every week brings new stories and statistics about how tough the job market is for older Americans. (A headline earlier this year in the New York Times: "In Hard Economy for All Ages, Older Isn't Better ... It's Brutal."

But there's at least one profession that seems to turn the conventional wisdom on its head: Washington lobbyist.


"In Washington," Politico reports, "it actually pays to be in your 60s when you're starting a new business - at least on K Street."

K Street is the famous (or is it infamous?) lobbying corridor of the nation's capital - home, as Politico puts it, to "a veritable army of older lobbyists who maintain senior slots at trade associations, corporations, lobby shops and law firms."

Howard Marlowe, a veteran Washington lobbyist who for many years was president of the American League of Lobbyists, says that his decades of experience make him ever more valuable at age 70.

"Given that so much has changed in Congress since I came here when I was 29, it really isn't worth telling people how I helped to get things done 20 years ago," Marlowe says. "Of course, most of the Hill staff are in their 20s, so there is a generation gap, but it really isn't a factor."

Discussion: Temp and Part Time Jobs at Record Highs

Another veteran, 66-year-old Dom Ruscio of Cavarocchi-Ruscio-Dennis Associates, argues that his age gives him a competitive edge. "One of the upsides of being around that long is that like the old saying, history repeats itself," he says. "That gives me some insights that younger lobbyists might not see."

Plenty of Capitol Hill lawmakers, too, find second careers as Washington lobbyists, passing through the "revolving door" on their way to incomes much, much larger than they ever enjoyed as public servants. Legistorm, an online warehouse of information about Congress, reports that, since 2000, more than 400 lawmakers have also worked as registered lobbyists.

"I wasn't going to go out and be a brain surgeon or an airline pilot," former Louisiana Sen. John Breaux, 69, told Politico of his passage through the revolving door in 2005. "You tend to want to stay in the field that you have some knowledge of."


Photo: Ben Schumin via Wikipedia


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