For some time now I’ve been intending to write more about what many Americans call the “Problem” of being over 50 and jobless.
Are You Sure Being Over 50 and Jobless is Really A Problem?
The only real problem I see in this situation is if you became jobless due to your employer cheating you out of a pension you have already partially earned.
To me, this is a despicable tactic used all too often in the USA, often with the agencies in the government turning a blind eye to the limited protections they are supposed to provide.
But this is a separate issue, along with the very real age discrimination which is allegedly “illegal” but which goes on day after day with impunity … often joked about in executive backroom meetings.
It’s bad, but there’s very little an employee in this situation can do about it.
Does It Really Matter?
Here’s the thing, injustice or not, even if you get a job after 50, you have little or no chance of getting the retirement benefits back you would have enjoyed any way … so you might as well accept that problem (unless a lawyer actually advises you differently).
It’s kind of like being a baseball pitcher working 9 innings into a no-hitter when an opposing slugger hits an inside the park home run. Disaster. But then upon review, the umpires call back the run and place the batsman on second base with a ground rule double.
Are you going to go to pieces over the loss of the no-hitter, or are you going to knuckle down and get the rest of the side out so you can enjoy having a complete game shutout on your record?
There’s no way you’re getting the hit removed from your record, but you still have a LOT to be thankful for.
Here’s the Piece That Got Me Thinking On This Recently
June 13, 2014 by Mark Miller
Nothing throws a financial plan off course like unplanned unemployment in the years leading up to retirement. Plenty of plans have been derailed in the aftermath of the Great Recession.
Nearly half of workers retire earlier than expected, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute’s annual Retirement Confidence Survey. The reasons include health problems or disability (61 percent); downsizing or closure (18 percent); and the need to care for a spouse or another family member (18 percent).
Near-retirement workers who are unemployed or underemployed have probably reduced, or eliminated, retirement plan contributions. Perhaps they’ve tapped savings accounts to meet living expenses.
What’s next? Is it reasonable to expect 50+ workers will be able to get back into the labor force? Or are they really retired for good, and just don’t know it yet? …
Are you Over 50 and Jobless?
The way I look at it, you have three real options.
OPTION ONE: Demean yourself and wear out your shoes, schlepping from personnel office to personnel office, handing out resume’s, filling out applications and listening to the perpetual lies of “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
My view is, you should think more of yourself than that, because …
- You’re too old for a company to take on the responsibility of re-training you and molding you into “their” brand of employee. (doesn’t matter what the law says, we’re talking reality here.)
- You’re over-qualified. (or, over-aged) … How are you going to react to being ordered around by a supervisor 20 years your junior, who actually might not know as much about the job as you do?
- You know a LOT about the job, but your knowledge may be quite dated. Think of the example of a telecom engineer who started work 30 years ago, when the telephone system was a monopoly and things like cell phones weren’t even know yet. Sure, of course, you CAN learn but why should they hire you to learn what every new college grad already knows?
- You will likely have to take less money. No matter how you think this doesn’t matter, it does. You will grow dissatisfied, watching people less senior and less qualified draw higher wages. It’s just a recipe for eventual anger and resentment.
So? What To Do?
My advice is, forget about this option from the “git-go”, because, in the end, it’s a pretty useless exercise anyway.
Why waste the time, the job hunting expense and your personal dignity?
OPTION TWO: You can do what a lot of Americans are doing. Sit on your ass, collect unemployment until it runs out, and wait for some useless organization like the AARP, a veteran’s lobby, or whichever political party you think is NOT to blame for your job loss to do something before the dole runs out and you then have to do what I feel you _should_ be doing from the moment you find out your job is going away … (here’s a news flash … Republican or Democrat, Conservative or Liberal, “the government” has plenty of problems all on its own.
They don’t give a shit about you … you’re old and used up.
The sooner you realize this and stop wasting your time bitching about the realities of life, over which you have no control, the happier and more prosperous you will be.
Is it wrong to discriminate and marginalize valuable workers just because they are older?
You damn well bet it is, and it’s illegal also, but it is reality, son … are you up to entering into years of lawsuits and protests just to try to right the wrong? I’m too damn old for that.
Re-read my baseball pitcher example. The chance of the perfect game is gone. Accept it.
You still have a major league shutout to finish up here. Fantasy doesn’t count. Only reality will go in the record books.
OPTION THREE: Consider this event one of the most fortunate things that ever happened to you and remake yourself into the twenty-first century. Become an entrepreneur. You have:
- A lifetime of experience. There is almost nothing you are skilled at which there is not a market for teaching, writing about or out and outright selling for profit in today’s world.
- You already have your “Social Security “in the bag. Just wait until the most profitable age to file, the amount you will draw is not based on how many years you have worked, but on how much you have earned … maximize it!
- But I’m Too Old. BS. Remember that Harlan Saunders was broke, 65 years old and on Social Security (his SS check was a whopping $100 a month!) when he started KFC … and all he really knew how to do well was cook fried chicken!
- You have the precious gift of time to learn new things … a gift you didn’t have when you were 30 or 40-something and raising kids, going to school, working overtime, etc. You now have 168 hours available every week (less what you need for sleeping). No commute to work, no hours spent in senseless executive meetings, and your kids are up and grown and out of the house.
DON”T WASTE THIS TIME!
Over 50 and Jobless? You’re now empowered!