Smarthome, Inc.

Older Workers Who Find Themselves Unemployed
Editor  plus50women
 
                        

Age discrimination is not a myth, or something written about in movies, newspapers and books for conversation or debate sake.  Age discrimination is very real and in these troubling economic times, the kiss of death for many older workers looking for employment.

When applying for a position, employment specialist recommend not stating your age to the interviewer ( it's illegal to ask a person's age), but honestly, how difficult is it for the interviewer to figure out how old an applicant is? During interviews they say it's helpful to mention your last rock climbing expedition in the Andes along with the sports you participate in regularly. Thereby demonstrating that you are physically fit with strong energy levels. But considering the majority of the US population is over weight or obese, how many of us can sell anyone on the idea we are avid rock climbers? 

Many older workers are resorting to face lifts, dying gray hair and revamping their wardrobes to appear younger then their years.  We live in a youth based society that rewards the younger generation, while discarding the older generation.  Women feel age discrimination more so then men.  Whereas the older man is thought of as distinguished, the older woman looses her power with the onset of age. 

At fifty, your life experiences are worth their weight in gold. What troubles employers are health issues, retirement issues, wage issues and quite frankly; workers who are older and smarter then they are.  You can't be thirty something and possess the knowledge of a worker fifty and over. Younger managers want to control their employees and they want their employees to look up to them and respect them.  The seasoned worker isn't as easily impressed or managed as the younger worker.  And because the older workers qualifications may surpass the younger manager, it's often difficult for the older worker to take instructions from someone not considered their equal.  Which is why the older worker is often told they are over qualified for the position they are seeking.

Which brings up another point regarding age discrimination.  When you are thirty years old, fifty sounds like you're knocking on deaths door.  How do you fight a preconceived image of old?  Being a parent of a thirty four year old, I can tell you from my experience at fifty six, that my son feels my days are numbered.  I felt the same way about my parents at his age.  My father retired at sixty (against my mother's wishes).  I remember my mother stating my father should work another five - eight years.  I was twenty nine at the time and thought my mother was being completely unreasonable.  Afterall, my father was sixty years old.  His work years were behind him, not in front of him.  I now see the foolishness of my thought process at twenty nine, but that thought process is what the older worker is up against.

An option to finding employment with an established company, is to start your own business.  The Internet is like the wild west, in that anyone can start an online business and succeed.  Age, weight or gender has no validity with an online company.  Instead customers visit your web site and purchase products or services you are offering, oblivious to who is managing the web site.  You could be selling DVDs in your pajamas and no one would know. Keep in mind, an important part of being self employed is motivation and drive.  If you are easily distracted and have trouble staying focused, being self employed may not work for you.  Whether your business is online or an actual brick and mortar store, being self employed is hard work, long hours and low pay to begin with.

Unless you are one of the fortunate people who inherit, win or marry great wealth, take comfort in knowing we are all in the same economic boat.  Frustration, anger and resentment run high during financial down turns.  All we can do, is to keep putting one foot in front of the other, hoping the economy and job market improve shortly.  


Displayed Workers Summary; Bureau Of Labor Statistics

Displaced workers are defined as persons 20 years of age and older who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished. The period covered in this study was 2007-09, the 3 calendar years prior to the January 2010 survey date. The following analysis focuses primarily on the 6.9 million persons who had worked for their employer for 3 or more years at the time of displacement (referred to as long-tenured). An additional 8.5 million were displaced from their jobs they had held for less than 3 years (referred to as short-tenured). Combining the short- and long-tenured groups, the number of displaced workers totaled 15.4 million from 2007-09, up from 8.3 million for the period covered by the prior survey (2005-07).

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Displayed Workers Summary; Bureau Of Labor Statistics

Displaced workers are defined as persons 20 years of age and older who lost or left jobs because their plant or company closed or moved, there was insufficient work for them to do, or their position or shift was abolished. The period covered in this study was 2007-09, the 3 calendar years prior to the January 2010 survey date. The following analysis focuses primarily on the 6.9 million persons who had worked for their employer for 3 or more years at the time of displacement (referred to as long-tenured). An additional 8.5 million were displaced from their jobs they had held for less than 3 years (referred to as short-tenured). Combining the short- and long-tenured groups, the number of displaced workers totaled 15.4 million from 2007-09, up from 8.3 million for the period covered by the prior survey (2005-07).

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