Have you found yourself in a position where you were out of work and fifty-ish?
There seems to be a trend in the workplace these days not to hire people who are over fifty. Have you noticed?
When I was "Fired at Fifty" (title of my book), I discovered that there were some very prominent and questionable strategies being exercised in the workplace.
I sent out many resume's and had four interviews as a result. Out of those interviews, I had one job offer... for $10/hr. I politely told the HR Director that I would let them know my answer.
At this point, my whole life flashed before me. What was I going to do? I could not afford to spend eight hours a day for only ten dollars an hour. That would mean that I would have to work three jobs! When would I sleep?
Talk about being frustrated, exasperated, discouraged, and angry all at the same time!
Here is what I discovered:
1. There is a genuine concern about employee commitment to the company. Companies want to know that they are hiring dedicated employees, and people who will be with the company for a long time; people who will have a vested interest, who want to make a career of working with the company. When the HR Manager interviews someone with "grey" hair, they wonder if this person will work for a few months or a year and then leave the company to retire.
2. Can I afford you? This is the next question that the HR Manager will think when they are interviewing potential employees. Often corporations will opt into hiring much younger employees because they figure that they can train them up into the required position and the extra cost of mistakes and training will be worthwhile. Hence the familiar quote, "They feel they can hire two twenty-year-olds in place of one fifty-year-old.".
3. Will they use our extended health benefits more and drive our monthly premiums higher? The statistics show that the older employees tend to use the extended medical benefits more than their younger cohorts. So, corporations want to hire younger staff members and keep their extended medical premiums from climbing exponentially.
4. Employees in their fifties are being "side-slipped". Corporations design a new position in the company that the fifty year old does not qualify for. Then the corporation arranges for the existing position to disappear, thus eliminating the fifty-ish employee. I call is "expulsion by deletion".
5. It is less obvious that a company is eliminating employees to avoid paying retirement pensions when they pink-slip them in their fifties. If they wait and lay off an employee in their sixties, it is more obvious that the company is trying to avoid paying any retirement benefits, and the employees can have recourse against the company...especially if the employee is let go just before their sixty-fifth birthday.
What do we do when we find ourselves in this position in life?
Here is what I did: I sat down and listed all my strengths and how I could make use of them to earn an income. This has given me freedom to make my own decisions and also be happy with what I am doing, because it is more like fun than work.
Would you like to do "fun work". Try working for yourself in your strengths.
If you have found yourself in a similar position in life, you can get some help with this book: "Fired at Fifty: Stop looking for work and discover what you were meant to do." Order through my website or Amazon.ca or Amazon.com or Amazon.UK.