THE SILVER LINING CHRONICLES - CAN YOU FIND EMPLOYMENT AFTER 50?
A number of years ago, after a prolonged period of illness, I unintentionally found myself counted as one of the unemployed.
When I was ready to return to the workforce, I updated my work history, perused newspaper and online ads, wrote targeted, informative and well-articulated cover letters and sent out 150 or so resumes. Each time, I waited impatiently to hear back that my background, education and enumerated strengths were tailor-made for the opening.
Of the ridiculously few 4 or 5 interviews I was granted, I was offered no positions. It was a real eye-opener to discover that as I was rapidly approaching the age of 50, I was no longer in demand in the marketplace.
Fortunately, I discovered real estate as a career and it's been a perfect fit ever since. The flexibility of the workday suits my needs perfectly and the sky's the limit in terms of introducing creativity for getting the job done. Since science has supported that autonomy, mastery and making a contribution to society are people's main motivators at work, the real estate field certainly seems to fit the bill.
For anyone over "a certain age," finding employment, especially in this economy, can seem an awful lot like spinning your wheels. It can take a really long time and there's no guarantee of success at the end. The main problem seems to be prevalent biases against the older worker. Bosses may be afraid an older employee will be stuck in his ways and not quick to catch on to new ways of doing things, display little energy during the workday and have trouble taking orders from someone much younger. In a country, where youth and vitality are promoted as the ideal, an aging workforce sends the wrong message.
In fact, the very opposite of the stereotype portrayed above has emerged to be true. After the ago of 50, you're less likely to have distractions that can interfere with your career. If you're a woman, your pregnancy days are over and your children have likely reached adulthood. You won't miss any more work days because your child has a fever or a a talent show is being presented at school. Those are the years when you can really throw yourself into your job and give 110% to the development of your career. If anything, older workers have fewer sick days, and are more loyal to the company. Their enthusiasm, dedication and genuine desire to excel coupled with a real appreciation for the opportunity afforded them makes them the perfect candidates.
Innately introverted, during my unemployed tenure, I struggled with embarrassment and gravitated toward keeping my status under wraps. In hindsight, I was doing it all wrong."Do as I say and not as I do" would be the most obvious advice I could give you at this point in time.
You absolutely need to get the word out and, in this day and age, this means using social media to advertise your availability. Let everyone know on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Google plus etc. that you're looking for a job. Maybe, someone will recognize your talents, your uniqueness and what you can bring to the table and your job application days will be far behind you.
Suffolk County One-Stop Employment Center 631.853.6600
Job Fair picture courtesy of Senator Mark Warner's photostream via Flickr.com's Creative Commons License