What To Do If Unemployed After 50

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What To Do If Unemployed After 50.

(Updated 13 February 2019)

One of the really big stumbling blocks to the progress of 50-something workers on their road to retirement is losing their job.

It’s one thing to lose a job in your twenties or thirties.  It’s a bit more of a disaster if you are in your forties.

But if you are 50 or over and you get pink-slipped out the door?  Ouch!  Big time problems.

I’ve written about one possible solution here:

Over 50 and Jobless? Why Worry, You’re Now Enabled

But here’s a great article on the subject here with some totally different suggestions and techniques.

I suggest you read it (don’t worry, I’ll wait for you here), but do come back beauc=se I am going to take some of Dr. Civitelli’s points and amplify them .. or even dispute them at times.

What To Do If Unemployed After 50.

… However, the U.S. Dept. of Labor says that the average duration of unemployment for workers ages 55 to 64 was 11 months as of January of 2013, three months longer than the average for workers age 25-36. Even worse than these statistics, some unemployed people in their 50s say they feel permanently shut out from re-employment in a full-time salaried position…

This is so very, very true.  And it’s really sad because if you do a survey of websites that say they want to “help” with this problem, their advice is total crap for a 50-something-year-old.

Things NOT To Do Which So Many Still Advise Doing

Remember back in high school or undergrad university where they taught all sorts of techniques for developing a resume and cover letters and other “last century” job seeking tools?

Well if you are over 50, that just ain’t going to hack it any longer.

Likewise, making the rounds of personnel offices until you wear out a pair of shoes … hoping against hope that something will “click” for you and you’re going to get hired.

Ageism or Technically, Age Discrimination, Is Illegal … But We All Know It Happens.

… Ken was a technical architect who was laid off and he found himself jobless, in debt, and without a retirement plan. He says, “I was up the proverbial creek without a paddle.”

Ken describes his job hunting experience,

I spent a year networking, applying to every possible job, exploring jobs in a different country, and trying absolutely everything to land a job. I found myself applying for jobs that paid less than I was making in the late 1980s. I saw jobs for which I was highly qualified but they asked for credentials that were not available when I went to school. MBA in Business Intelligence and Data Mining? Didn’t exist then.

Concerned about retirement, Ken did some mathematical calculations and realized that given interest rates at the time, a family with a combined income of $150,000 would need a combined retirement fund of three million dollars to maintain their current lifestyle. Ken didn’t have three million dollars and he began to worry that retirement was never going to be an option. Ken recalls …

If You’re Over 50 They Don’t Want You!

Here are a few facts to consider before you continue going down that fruitless, thankless task of  wearing out yet another pair of shoes, pounding the pavement:

  • You’re often overqualified.  They often only want a compliant, “team player” who is basically qualified, not someone who may have more experience than the CEO.  This is a more common problem than you might think.
  • Your Experience May Be “Stale”.  Imagine for example a telecom engineer with 30 years experience.  He (or she) started learning the job before many people even had cell phones.  And the Internet?  Who the heck had Internet back then?  Surely none of those technologies were taught during his or her university courses.
  • No Matter How Experienced You May Be They Still Need To Train You.  If a new hire is in their 30’s or even 40’s, they figure on getting their training investment back over at least 20 years.  But if you’re over 50?  Heck, you might go out the door on disability in only a year or two … that’s “corporate thought” at work.
  • If you’re 50 plus and your boss is in her 30’s, there could be a big problem.  You may feel you won’t have a problem (although it might rub you wrong sooner than you think), but SHE may have a big problem giving orders to someone as old as her dad.
  • You’ll Probably Make Less Salary.  When you are desperate for a job you can easily tell yourself, “that won’t matter, a lower salary is better than no salary.”  You may even make yourself believe this.  For a while.  But take it from me, a guy who voluntarily took downgraded jobs twice in his career, it will hurt after a while.  It will sour you and spoil your spirit.  And don’t think those doing the hiring won’t think about this as well.

So If I Am Not Going To Find A Job, What Can I Do?

Well here’s a very good strategy.  One I personally have often counseled “over 50” types on myself.

… Ken used something he calls “micro-jobbing” or “job-chunking.” He describes job-chunking,

Instead of doing the whole job of whatever was required, I did the bits of work in my field that companies did not have the inclination, expertise, resources, or staff to do. Every manager has tasks on the back burner waiting to get done. I tapped that market.

To find micro-jobs, Ken built a digital online persona. He networked online with social media. He put content online and monetized it. He charged premium rates for the work he did for companies because he wasn’t costing them the expenses of having a permanent employee. I asked Ken for specific examples of job-chunking and he explained:

When I first started job-chunking, I did a lot of things that I would have been insulted to do if I didn’t suffer from career interruptis. For example, I designed a website for a golf course (which is way beneath my skill level). I did a programming job in Python, which is kiddie scripting as far as uber geeks are concerned. I had a few neat ones as well. I took a whole pile of medical data, and I wrote a program to put it into a database so that it could be searchable. Then they needed a filter for it to validate the data and I did that. I authored a response to an RFP for another company. I was hired to provide a strategy for a mobile app and to evaluate a bid for same. I was hired to update a forensic blood spatter program. It was an easy but dull job of finding all of the deprecated stuff and modernizing it because it was written for Windows 95. I wrote a library to allow a certain kind of cash register to be connected to an IP network for a small company. I did a lot of stuff like that — all uninspiring jobs but ones that I could charge decently for because they required a knowledge base. 

Here’s one of my articles on this subject from one of my other successful sites:

Here’s One Of The Reasons I Tell You To Think Bigger — You Are So Much More

If You Are Fifty Or Older You Have A LOT To Offer.

You didn’t stay alive and out of life imprisonment for 50 plus years by being stupid.  You didn’t raise a family, keep a roof over their heads, keep everyone fed and clothes, etc, for all those years because you know “nothing”.

Do you know what surprises me, time after time?

People Write And Ask For Help In Finding A Job And Say They Don’t Have Any Skills.

Folks, this is really bad for two reasons:


What employer in their right mind is going to hire someone with “no skills”.

A business exists to make a profit, not to provide unskilled people with a place to take coffee breaks and chat on Facebook while they are “on the clock”.

Once you start searching for a job with the attitude that you have “no skills” you might as well save yourself the effort, no matter what your age.


As I have noted already, it’s really, really, really difficult to reach 50 years of age or more and have “no skills”.  Now, this I will grant you (something which spoils a lot of people’s mindset and enthusiasm).  The skills you have from your last job or two may or may not seem highly marketable in today’s world, but you are so much more than whatever your last job was.

You are NOT your previous job.  Who are you, really?  Don’t limit yourself to the dry drivel in your schoolboy res’ume’.

Let Me Close With Two Examples I Have Witnessed With Our Sister Site

I run another website, known as PhilFAQS.com (Philippine Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)).  Because many older folks think about retiring overseas I get a lot of visits, questions and comments from old Americans there.

Since the majority of you have little or no retirement savings or income plan, a question I get all the time is “How can I find a job there”?

Well, first of all, you don’t want a job in the Philippines.

But secondly, you probably aren’t really qualified and won’t be able to keep up.

A Reader Wrote and Told Me He Wants a Job as a Truck Driver.

He had told me how many years experience he had. Great.  But to drive a truck here, commercially, he likely wouldn’t even get to step one.

And the salary here compared to truck driver jobs in the US would be like a joke.

What could me reader do?  Any guesses?

Instead of wearing out shoes schlepping from trucking company to trucking company, he went to a site in the USA who finds truck driver candidates and pays referral fees.  Up to $2600 USD per qualified applicant.

People buy from people they can tell are trustworthy.

If you had 30 years experience in the US trucking industry and knew the average number of folks the average 40-something person knows …how many candidates do you think you could refer in a month?

Another example Is A Blogging Colleague Who Is Named Pat Flynn.

Pat is a typical US college student type who went to college for a degree in architecture.  He got a great job in the industry right out of college.  In 2008.

What happened in 2008?  Yep, the Great Housing downturn.  Overnight, no more job for Pat.

Now, of course, Pat isn’t over 50, so all the normal job seeking techniques would work for him. but if the industry takes a downturn as it did in 2008, practically no one is getting a job … no matter what their age.

Did Pat Need a Job To Keep His Family Afloat?

Well, you might think so but during his architecture school training Pat had studied and qualified by exam for was called the LEED exam, a certification many architects want to have.  But the exam is tough.  It’s not easy.

Pat had a great set of study notes on the LEED.  He retyped them stuck on so yips, tricks and explanatory language and started selling the notes/exam guide off a very simple website he put up, GreenExamAcademy.com.

In a few months, he was selling thousands of dollars a month worth of his study guide.  He needed no job at all.

Pat never went back to architecture.

h\He now makes well over 2 million a year with his flagship site, Smart Passive Income.com.  He podcasts, produces videos and books and teaches how to earn way more than a job, while never haing a job.

But his original Green Exam site still cranks ot sales for him as well each and every month.

Not bad for a kid with a basic degree only who lost his job in his first year of employment, it it?

Put Your Energy And Years Of Expereice To Work For YOU, Not for someone else Who Wants To Get Rich Of Your Sweat.

You are so much more!

What To Do If Unemployed After 50.