Over 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?
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!
How are you going to find your next gig?
I sure hope you are not looking at 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 40s 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 50s 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, or 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?
Volunteer and other activities
When you are long-term unemployed you have to be involved in activities that:
- Build your self-esteem
- Build on your brand image
- Create a portfolio of your life work
- Improve your marketable skills
Volunteer for a Cause
Nothing will build self-esteem more than volunteering for a non-profit that delivers programs or services for a cause that you care about.
As part of Launch Pad Job Club, which I have served on the board of directors for over six years, we have created a program called Leap to Success. This program does short-term projects for non-profits.
You can do the same. If you are:
- A marketing person offers to do a marketing campaign for a non-profit.
- An operations person, check out the local food bank or Habitat for Humanity or…
- A financial person checks out a local microlender. (We have multiple of these in Central Texas, including PeopleFund and Accion, where they make micro-loans to typically minority-owned small businesses that cannot qualify for regular credit.)
There are lots and lots of options. All of these you can put on your resume and keep you current.
Write a Blog
If a recovering engineer, like myself, who could barely read coming out of high school can write a blog…… well…
Get some help in setting up the blog. There are lots of people in your community who will help you for free. When you start to blog write on a regular schedule. Promote your blog on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
Yes, you will have to learn how to promote on Social Media!
Social Media is here to stay. GET OVER IT!
There are a lot of free resources like the Hubspot Webinar and White-paper pages
What better skill to acquire when long-term unemployed than social media?
Jim Adcock, my good friend, and fellow Launch Pad Job Club board member did a series of guest posts on this blog last year on how his blog has made him a respected member of the Sharepoint community but more importantly has kept him employed!
Write a Book or an E-Book
In writing my book, Repurpose Your Career, I discovered the world of publishing has changed forever.
I got help. Gudjon Bergmann has a business called Communicator Blueprints and has a book called THE AUTHOR’S BLUEPRINT – THE EASY WAY TO WRITE NON-FICTION.
I followed Gudjon’s process in coming up with the title, chapter list, and other processes in writing my book. What I love about Gudjon is he is extremely practical. He says when writing your first book — write a book and not THE book.
If you write an e-book the cost is minimal. There are lots of low-cost and near-free resources for publishing an e-book. Think what a hiring manager might think when they google your name and you come up on Amazon.com!
Whether your next step is a full-time job, contract work, or an entrepreneur working for yourself, you will have created a name for yourself while you are Long Term Unemployed!
Do you want to stay Long Term Unemployed or do you want to feel valued, respected, and needed?
As the Nike slogan says Just do it!Marc Miller
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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.
white christian male says
shut the f*** up you micro managing whiners. especially emasculated men stepping in to support women in their respective whining. Life is war. work is life. If someone dosent like or want you because of your gender, age, race , religion…DEAL WITH IT. No amount of squeaky wheel get the grease legislation will change REALITY. A persons worth is ONLY to themselves. Deal with you situation, and react accordingly with your personal hires. F*** all your talentless whiners hiding behind this faux word that has been craftily injected into present day conversations….equality. NO ONE is EQUAL, and subsequently DOES NOT deserve consideration above and beyond their perceived worth PERIOD. So…go out there any try and get a job…and truly be extraordinary…OR… be unemployed. P E R I O D.
That’s not much of an apology. ( IF I offended you)
Not only the If but also you offended most I’m sure.
i seen this box it said speak your mind but i was seeking some tips about being unemployed at 50
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.
kevin corscadden says
T. Arthur Poudrier says
Your reading comprehension needs improvement.
Marc wrote, “Baby Boomers in general, BUT PARTICULARLY MEN [emphasis added] get their self identifies from their work.
I am a male who has derived a lot of my identity from my work in which I have been engaged for over 30 years.. Since I am writing this in the 21st Century, my self-perception is far from “outdated”, and I am certain that millions of fellow males share my experience. Of course since people, including women, are individuals, everyone’s self-perception and self-esteem are influenced differently from other people by many factors, including one’s efficacy in any given long-term occupation. The relationship of one’s work to one’s identity is not “sexist”, but a universal human psychological experience that both men and women can struggle with to one degree or another, when they lose a job, depending upon their own personal psychology and self-esteem.
While many may be regard it as “appropriate” in these mindlessly politically-correct times to proffer apologies when none is objectively necessary, it is a mistake to pander to that ridiculous expectation because that simply encourages it to continue. I hope that Marc will be more judicious and selective about proffering his apologies in the future.
I get the impression from your comment that you are a pretty difficult and spiteful person, quick to take offense, and tenacious about holding a grudge; therefore, your being divorced does not surprise me.
Now that you are single again–as you likely deserve to be–you can build yourself a safe room in which to escape all that so easily offends your sensibilities, and equip it with blankets, coloring books and crayons, and videos of frolicking puppies and rainbow-farting unicorns.
Sorry if I upset you. I am married for longer than you can imagine. This post was written almost 3 years ago when long term unemployment was still quite high and especially high for baby boomers.
I believe you are commenting to a reply written to Laura. So much for social networking lol. Anyway I wanted to add I have a friend who did all of the above suggested – he went back to school, wrote a blog, volunteered. In the end NONE of that helped. What helped was his old neighborhood friend. Who you know trumps any of the aforementioned IMHO. I beg the question why isnt the government assisting the long term unemployed in the same way they assist minorities, immigrants and political refugees? Perhaps the reason you are receiving commentary to an old article is that so many are STILL unemployed! : ( I am discouraged and gave up. Went on loads of interviews because I write a good resume. Some interviewers were honest enough to say they would not hire me because of my exoeriential level. Then I was denied one job because I was unemployed for so long! It is in my social security file that I am not retired, just long term unemployed and discouraged with no other option. I still consider myself unemployed not retired. I cant even remember when I got laid off it was so long ago. Maybe 2010. Not a creative bone in my body so starting a business is not an option. If one more person tells me to reinvent myself, I think I may reinvent their face. Violence is not the answer but it is sure fun to imagine at times. : ) I removed my LinkedIn profile – bunch of cow manure that.
Unemployment is upsetting to the point that many commit suicide after long term. My goal is to live to an old age to collect those pension and SS checks to make up for my loss.. I may live to a hundred and seven just on spite lol
Amen to that, KayCee. We are a part of a growing epidemic that continues to gain steam in 2019. Unfortunately we have been discarded by our narcissisticly sick society and many of us have lost all hope for realistic reasons. God help us.
Yes, we still have a lot of long term unemployed. It is down significantly but there are significant numbers who have either given up and retired into poverty, or are relying on family for their existence. Suicide is now a major factor in death as suicide rates have spiked. http://www.healthline.com/health-news/baby-boomer-suicide-rate-rising-031515#1
Let me know how I can help.