50 Is the New 65: Older Americans Are Getting Booted from Their Jobs

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Bev D

Heretical Statistician
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just depressing - and it is really telling about how our culture still doesn't value wisdom, age or well, really anything that isn't 'instant gratification'. my organization hasn't taken this approach yet. in fact they are far more likely to hire the older more experienced person in the operations and R&D funcitons. But I see this trend in other companies in my local area...
On the other hand I also see teh older workers gettgin lucrative contracting jobs simply becuase tehy actually know stuff that the young and 'social media savvy' simply don't. My 'summer' neighbor is 85 and is still contracting on professional engineering jobs.

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
I don't know what it's like in other countries (I suspect much the same), but this is an interesting read especially for many people when planning their future. As for those of us who are older already... Have you planned well?

50 Is the New 65: Older Americans Are Getting Booted from Their Jobs
Sadly, this is a recurring theme I hear when I present pro bono job search seminars to various local associations.

The callousness of many employers is especially disheartening when we see the toll unemployment and, especially, underemployment, takes on the psyches of previously vibrant and alert individuals.

Remember this: the Walmart greeter isn't there because he loves greeting people and stacking carts - he or she is there BECAUSE THEY NEED THE MONEY! That smile is forced there because some 30-something manager is continually haranguing, "Smile, or I'll get someone who can."

Of course, I have some "tips and tricks" in the seminar to help offset this widespread prejudice, but even then, they don't get the older candidate onto a level playing field.

The worst effect I see is in those older individuals (ALL YOUNGER THAN I, BY THE WAY) who are so shell-shocked by the constant barrage of prejudice that they begin to believe they really are less valuable and that loss of self worth is reflected in the way they seek out employment at much lower levels than they are capable of and resort to tactics like dying hair and wearing bad wigs and toupees to appear younger.

The seminar I'd really like to give is to employers on the value of hiring older employees and the insanity of any prejudice based on a superficial attribute like age (old OR young), skin color, religion, ethnicity, salary at last job, etc. etc. Sadly, the various business associations and their program directors don't want to rock the boat and never seem to find space on the agenda for me or anyone else who proposes such a presentation.:(:(


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Over here, we see it frequently in the IT industry. Apparently, when one is above 40, they are expensive and many lagged behind the technology curve. Coincidentally, most of these organizations are US based.


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I think a lot depends on the type of position. I see it in IT were the older employee doesn't keep up in the technology curve, and in sales were there is a lot of face time with customers. However, I don't see it in many STEM fields where there is a shortage of qualified candidates.


I must disagree with you Miner. I have many friends who have bachelor and master degrees in engineering from one of the most noted engineering schools in the country who are unemployed, under-employed, or have been early-retired beginning at the age of 50. These are outstanding engineers, but they cannot find technical work anywhere as companies want 20 to 30 year-olds. Many have years of experience in lean and six sigma and they could make an impact at these companies immediately, but they are unwanted solely due to their age.


Super Moderator
That's why professionals need to be able to do more than one thing and start working on that early instead of late. If all else fails I can work out at the airport fixing flats on Cessna's and pumping fuel into Lear's (I have an A&P License).

Too many folks compartmentalize themselves in careers, and then cry about lack of opportunity.


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To some degree this may be true, but then again just because you *can* fix flats on Cessna's and pump fuel into Lear's doesn't mean there will be a job opening for you at your local airport which is the failure mode of that type of thought process. I bet you are also qualified to bag groceries or serve as a Walmart "greeter". That doesn't mean there's a job out there waiting for you. Many people can serve burgers - That doesn't mean they will be able to find a job serving burgers. I also know quite a few people who are quite qualified in several fields who can not find work even in positions they held years ago as they "moved up the ladder".

I posted the link to the article in part because it was a slow day, but the trigger was a friend who is out of work. He recently did find work but that was after almost 6 years. He's happy with it - He's a maintenance person working for a company which has government contracts to provide housing for people with severe disabilities. Then again, he's making US$15/hr (about 20% of what he was making not so many years ago.

There are a lot of caveats to some aspects the article linked to, but all in all it's pretty much right on. The article is general, as one would expect, in that it is stating a general trend. Jennifer mentioned an 85 year old neighbor still working. I also know quite a few people in their 70's and a couple who are in their 80's who are still in working in their profession. But that isn't the norm.

The biggest problem in all of this is whether the person or couple has saved money and is debt free. The World Braces For Retirement Crisis - Most 50 year olds are not financially ready for retirement. Many 70 year olds ls aren't either for that matter.

It's a tough world out there and it isn't getting any easier to survive in.

Wes Bucey

Prophet of Profit
I don't mean to add to the gloom. There are strategies to get work, even after long periods of unemployment. It does NOT mean being doomed to a McJob. The key, as always, is the candidate being able to demonstrate he/she has VALUE to bring to the job, not merely asking for a charitable handout. Work does NOT always mean being employed by someone else; many folks can and do make a living working as craftsmen, sales people, consultants, handymen, etc.

Sometimes, those "make do" money earners can turn into something bigger. Back in 2004, in the thread, Tips to get Past the Gatekeeper, I wrote about my neighbor:

Being methodical may be the right way to find a job but it does not help to make the house payment as it rapidly approaches due time.

Yep. This is a tough reality. It is difficult to be scintillating and charming on paper and in person during an interview when your stomach is rumbling because you are hungry and you worry if you can afford enough gas in your car to get back and forth to an interview. Sometimes you have to make compromises or expend extra energy to take care of yourself and family during a transition. It may mean taking a job as a night clerk in a gas station or convenience store so you can continue your job search and interviews during the day.

I live in what's laughingly called an "upscale" neighborhood, but one of my neighbors lost an executive job and turned to driving a limousine nights and weekends to stretch his savings while he searched for a new position.

He learned so much about this "make do" job, he changed his plans and now owns a fleet of four limousines and is negotiating to merge with another limo company. He is not embarrassed about what he does and most of us in the neighborhood find it convenient to hire one of his limos to go to and from the airport as we pursue our "upscale" careers. Sometimes, when life hands you lemons, you find some sugar and make lemonade.

The update, nine years later, is that he sold his corporation and its fleet of TWENTY limousines and splits his retirement between northern Illinois and the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Finally, just to put things in perspective, never think about putting down union membership again. The New York Times reports members of the New York Stagehands union can make upwards of $500,000/year. (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/28/a...l=1&adxnnlx=1388352287-kgGs87A3cnhRzN0V2PBmAw)
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