The Reality of Being Too Old & Unemployed

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I’m a gal who has a bachelors in Accounting and for a short time I earned a living crunching numbers.  The other side of my personality is that I’m a “people person”.  I enjoy being in a role where I am helping others.  I used to think of myself as a perennial optimist but when my husband (age 47) almost became a “99er”,  people who have been unemployed for 99 weeks, the fight to stay positive became harder and harder.

“…As of September 2013, 4 million people have been unemployed for six months or more. The economy has been slow to regain the 8.7 million jobs lost during the Great Recession, making prospects grim for many of the long-term unemployed.” (November 16, 2013 report – Msnbc.com)

Additional Statistics:

  • Nearly 40 percent of unemployed workers are over the age of 45 — a 30 percent rise from the 1980s.
  • Unemployed people aged 45-54 were jobless for 45 weeks on average, and those 55 to 64 were jobless for 57 weeks.

So What Do You Do?

For starters, you need to understand the most basic concept – Change is inevitable and unpredictable.  It never comes when you want it.

My husband was out of work for 22 months.  He was part of a group called, “long-term unemployed”.  Ironically, I was working in a mental health agency as a vocational counselor at the same time.  I was an Employment Specialist and my goal was to get people back into the job market.  With the onset of the recession, the diagnosis of depression became like the common cold.  Trust me, I had a lot of clients!  I think it was divine intervention that I happened to be working in this capacity – being with client’s everyday was mutually beneficial to my own emotional well-being and mental health!

My husband is now back-to-work.  In the process of going through our employment “changes” ….I definitely acquired some fierce beliefs about what it takes to get back in the game of life!

MUST DO CHECK LIST FOr the unemployed

  1. Consult with someone who is up on the latest trends in the market, assess your resume and make necessary changes.  Optimize your resume for Applicant Tracking Systems!
  2. Get a LinkedIn profile – NOW!  If you have one – make sure it is up to snuff!  Use it to reach out to people and connect!  Use it to apply for jobs.
  3. Sign up with at least 3 major job boards.  Apply to at least 20 jobs a week.  It’s a numbers game.  There’s a rich pool of applicants on the market.  Competition is stiff and the ball in the employer’s court!
  4. Get out from behind that computer!  Go to job fairs…join your local chamber.  Meet people and start discussions.  DO NOT be a cougar and go in with an agenda….seek to make new connections and share information.
  5. Go after jobs that you are truly qualified for.  However, if you are over 45 with extensive experience, and are approaching 99 weeks of unemployment – have an alternative resume that will make you a viable candidate for lower level jobs.  At this point, it’s no longer about filling the shoes of your ego or matching your last salary…it’s about finding acceptance for a correction in the economy and finding a new purposefulness!   (I.e. WORK – It does the spirit, mind, and body good!)
  6. As time goes on – “Don’t Try to Get a Job.”  Consider starting a business. A tiny one.  Read up on Seth Godin’s philosophy of the New Connection Economy.  It will open your eyes to how business is being done today!

Change is never easy or convenient.  But when we recalibrate our expectations on what the future holds with a realistic plan of action….that’s when we can begin to enjoy life again.  What goes up must come down…and we are on the down swing of an over-blown economy.  Hang on….it’s gunna’ be a wild ride!

P.S. If you are in need of vocational counseling, I would welcome the opportunity to help you through the eye of the storm of change!  I believe in Seth Godin’s stance on generosity and am offering my services free of charge.  I can be reached at kbmangiafico(at)sbcglobal.net or 860-869-8468.

Photo Credit.

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