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
- 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!
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