Okay, Ol’ Codger. You’ve Lost Your Job. Now What?


unemployedTwo weeks ago today, on April 1st, I joined the ranks of the unemployed, due to a Budget Cut.

In years past, this would have been tough. Now, it is tougher. You see, I’m 55 years old.

Being a writer, and someone to whom performing research comes as naturally as breathing in and out, I immediately performed a Google Search, on “Being Unemployed Over 50”. I found an article on the subject , posted in 2012 on forbes.com, which included this hardly-inspiring little ray of sunshine:

For older workers who lose their jobs, the statistics are not very encouraging. Though the unemployment rate for people over 55 is just 5.9%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, several points lower than the overall rate of 8.1%, when older workers lose their jobs they are out of work for a long time, according to the AARP Public Policy Institute. In May, 54.9% of job seekers over 55 had been looking for 27 weeks or more. According to the Institute, on average, unemployed people over 55 have been out of work for more than a year—56 weeks. Also, as my colleague Ashlea Ebeling wrote in May, the Urban Institute released a report showing that median monthly earnings fell 23% after an unemployment spell for reemployed workers aged 50 to 61, compared with just 11% for workers aged 25 to 34.

Yeehaw. Okay, so what should I do? I mean, I can only watch “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “In The Heat of The Night” reruns so many times. Besides, I keep remembering the mug shots of the late Howard Rollins, from the time he was arrested for Substance Abuse while wearing women’s clothing. It was not a pretty sight.

But, I digress…

The Forbes Article goes on to feature stories from  Renée Rosenberg, a career counselor who specializes in over-50 job seekers. She is the author of Achieving the Good Life After 50, and a coach with the national career coaching organization.

According to Ms. Rosenberg, and the writer of the article, Susan Adams,

Often older workers need to adjust their expectations and consider jobs outside their area of expertise. Sometimes this means swallowing a pay cut, but it can also mean taking a job that is more low key and located closer to home. One of Rosenberg’s clients, at 68, lost his finance job in a downsizing. He realized he wanted to walk to work in his New York suburb. While poking around his neighborhood he saw a help wanted sign in a storefront. He inquired, and landed a job as a dispatcher for a limousine and car service. The job isn’t glamorous but it meets his financial needs and keeps him close to home.

In other words, grab whatever you can. If I was in my late 60s, I would probably follow those ladies’ advice.

However, I am not. I am only 55. I believe that I still have a lot to offer an employer.

The only problem is, will the employers see it that way?

I believe, as a “Marketing Guru”, that it is all a mater of how you package…or repackage yourself.

“Back in the day”, I was extremely proficient at what is now known as the “Old Technology” (“B.D.” : Before Digital).

I realized, at 50 years old, that I needed to “catch up” with Technology, in order to make myself more marketable, so, I accepted a job as a Computer Intern with Digital Opportunity Trust.

Digital Opportunity Trust was a Non-profit Organization which originated in Canada. When it came to America, it located in Picayune, Mississippi, as a part of AmeriCorps.  It’s mission was, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, to go into the public schools in Louisiana and Mississippi, and teach the Administrators, Teachers, and Students how to use the New Technology (Twitter, Facebook, Skype, blogging, etc.) as Educational Tools, in order to improve the educational process.

While DOT is no longer with us, due to their funding being eliminated by the Federal Government, the importance of their mission lives on, as many school districts now have their own New Technology Instructors,

By taking “one step back” and becoming an Intern at 50 years old, I was able to re-invent myself, making my job skills more marketable.

If you are my age, and you, too, are in search of a new job opportunity, my advice to you is…

If there is an opportunity to update your skills, take it. You are never to old to learn and to grow from the learning.

Never give up. Never surrender.