Over 50 and long term unemployed – What do you do?

Long-Term-UnemployedOver 50 and Long Term Unemployed

What do you do if you are over 50 and long term unemployed?

At six months the moments of self doubt start to creep in.

Will I ever work again?

When will I feel useful again?

When will this end?

Baby Boomers in general, but particularly men get their self identifies from their work. I remember when I worked for IBM and many would identify themselves as IBMers. It was who they were. In 1993, when many of my older colleagues were told to go retire, it killed them. They lost their identity.

What I learned from my experience at IBM was I am not what I do. My job does not define me as a person.

Is this you?

(More: Baby Boomers and the Long Term Unemployed)

Are you looking for a full time job?

My first question to you is why?

If you have been unemployed for over six months you should start considering working for yourself. If you are over 60 this is a must.

Am I saying there is age discrimination?

YES! Get over it!

We are rapidly moving to a contractor based economy. Check on the article from Business Insider 40 Percent Of Americans Will Be Freelancers By 2020.

This change will no be easy!

I know, I know you have to have full time employment for the benefits. That is a myth.
My wife and I are both in our late 50’s, and we pay about $700 per month for high deductible health insurance. My wife’s coverage comes the State of Texas High Risk Pool. A state run health plan where she cannot be rejected.
I know, I know you need group coverage. Group coverage is the most expensive kind of health insurance and if you received a W2 from last year, you will see what you employer spent. It is a lot!
What we save in one year from having to pay COBRA covers the deductible. We just have to stay out of the hospital for a year.
Start thinking seriously about working for yourself.
Keep looking for a job but consider contracting, temp work and preparing to start a business.

How are you going to find your next gig?

I sure hope you are not looking on job boards and submitting your resume.

I am working with two clients right now. Both are product managers for large high tech employers.

  • Client A is in his early 40’s and started two years ago greatly expanding his network through his professional affiliations, his religious affiliations and work. He currently has well over 1,000 LinkedIn connections.
  • Client B is in his late 50’s and when I started working with him late last year he had about 200 connections on LinkedIn. He has a very small network of people he can turn to for help. Pretty typical of most baby boomers.

Both clients have MBAs and are well respected.

Client A put out the word quietly he was looking. He is being contacted every week by recruiters. Admittedly, most of these are for jobs out of town or in an industry he does not care for. He is being contacted and had an interview this last week.

Client B is periodically being contacted, but it is pretty quiet.

The difference is client A started two years ago. Building a network takes time.

We are in a referral economy. Your network will get you your next job, contract, customer,…….

This is an area where many baby boomers struggle. As a general rule, we are pretty private. This whole thing about putting ourselves out there on social media is pretty ……. uncomfortable.

I know, I know you think this social media business will pass. It is not going away!

What are you doing about it?

My next post will be on what else you should be doing when you are long term unemployed.


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  1. Laura Drake says:

    “Baby Boomers in general, but particularly men get their self identifies from their work. ” Why did you feel the need to include this unnecessary statement? Very sexist, outdated and not what so many of us boomer women who have had a professional career for 35 years needs to hear. Probably why so few understand me these days. My 25 year marriage ended a few months before losing my position in October 2008 (a week after the crash), lost most of my savings and retirement to attorneys and trying to survive. Marital assets evaporated and yet I moved on from the divorce and loss of my life savings. My extremely high energy level was always an asset. Losing my position and not being able to find anything has been devastating and crippling. I am however now extremely grateful for everything, an expert on survival jobs, downsizing,and surviving in general. Please open your mind. peace.

    • Marc Miller says:

      I am sorry if I offended you with the statement.

      • I agree with what you said. I’m a guy with a lot of women friends. Being in your/our position is equal. Equality raises it’s head in all ways.

      • That’s not much of an apology. ( IF I offended you)
        Not only the If but also you offended most I’m sure.

  2. i seen this box it said speak your mind but i was seeking some tips about being unemployed at 50

  3. I was unfairly sacked a few weeks ago . The employment market here looks dismal, my reputation is also damaged by what they said. It looks like my only options are self employment.

  4. kevin corscadden says:



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