About Available Jones

The owner of Available Jones is me, Jo Manhart, and I was thrust into the world of unemployment at 10:30 a.m. one morning in February 1999.  The organization I led for 23 years was merged with two other states, and the headquarters was moved out of Missouri.  No longer needed, and being 64 years old, I thought “well, this is the end of life as I know it; I guess I’ll have to retire.”  Quickly I discovered I was ill-suited for retirement.

I was eligible for unemployment benefits if I contacted at least three potential employers a week, therefore the search began.  In my mind, I was qualified for every job for which I applied, but I got only two nibbles and no offer.  Could this be what age discrimination is?  It occurred to me that there must be others out there like me, and decided to start an agency which announces upfront that here at Available Jones, employers can source a special product; mature or retired people who want to work full time, part time, or on a project basis. 

The name of the agency was chosen when my friends rejected my first choice, “Geezers to Go.”  While trying to find a date for lunch, one friend said “Hey, I’m ‘Available Jones’ next Tuesday”.  Thinking her usual excellent English had deserted her, I asked what she meant; “Oh, you know, that character in the Li’l Abner comic strip – he was always available, so they called him Available Jones.”  I use this name by permission of Al Capp Enterprises, the headquarters for all things related to the owner of the strip.  To me, it’s better than “Golden and Able”, “Experienced Help” or other age-related title.

The character of Available Jones was introduced as the odd jobs tycoon of Dogpatch in 1942.  Here’s the first strip . . .

Li'l Abner Cartoon








Click cartoon to view larger image.

As it turned out, one of my former employers asked me to return to work for them, so now I share my ‘available’ time with them.  What’s better than a job?  Two jobs.

1000 West Nifong Blvd., Building 5
Columbia, Missouri 65203-5678
573.874.3138 • 573.441.2713 Fax


"Work helps preserve us from three evils - weariness, vice and want."