Unemployed and Over 50 – Brace Yourself

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Corporate Ladder Syndrome

So, here I sit all broken hearted – wishing that I’d never started.  Started in Corporate America that is.  To me, my tale is heartbreaking – because I’m not the only one who fell for the lie of the “good life”.  You know…finish High School; go the College; get a job and climb that Corporate Ladder.  Someone forgot to tell us when we get to the top of the ladder it’s all down hill from there.  There are no more rungs on the ladder.  If you go higher, you fall off.  Or you do what most do…you go back down. Down, down, down – and your prospects and salary follows.  Or worse yet.  You find yourself unemployed and over 50.  No where to go but up, right?  Wrong.

alive-460918_1920Hey kids (those under 40), listen up.  You might be smirking now, but mark my words, you will be over 50 very soon.  It comes way faster than you could ever imagine.  Right now you think you’ve got it made…and you do.  For now.  Don’t get cocky – everyone gets a turn at the age game.  Us on the other side got caught blindsided and expendable.

Me?  My position and salary booted me out of my job.  A new corporate management and pay structure came in.  I was WAY over the pay scale for the new structure.  So far over, in fact, that they couldn’t (or wouldn’t) offer me a pay cut or demotion.  Not only after I stewed for a few days (still in my pajama’s at 8:00 in the morning) did I realize that my pay would have been cut in half!  Did they do me a favor letting me go?  Did they think I would have a better change of gainful employment and pay elsewhere?  Were they being noble? I think not!  Anything to save a few bucks, right?

I’m not bitter (yes…I’m being sarcastic).  I’ve been on both sides of the table.  I get it.  More work for less pay, it seems to be the new American way.  New management was coming in and taking a salary pennies on my dollar and grateful for it.  At least the job stayed here in the States, I guess.  At least on-site managers need to be “on site”.  Until that changes.

Snowball Effect from Unemployment

Snowball Effect from Unemployment

I don’t know, maybe it’s just me…but when the recession started in 2007, I’ve felt the “pinch and sting” of keeping myself employable.  Sure, I was nervous.  In 2007 I was 47 years old and future prospects of climbing the corporate ladder seemed dismal.  But I prospered, I promoted.  I was still employable.

But my husband was not convinced.

“Toots” he said.  “You’re not getting any younger.  I hope your job will hold out – what if you lose your job?  How will you get another one when you’re in your 50’s or older?”

He had ever right to be concerned.  He’s disabled and can’t work.  He can’t support us.  And he hates the predicament of it.  He use to own a family business and lost it because of family in-fighting and deaths.  When he found his self without a business AND disabled he was devastated.  He had worked his whole life at a family business, and had no formal education.

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That Dreaded Call to the Conference Room aka “The Long Green Mile”

So when I tell you, on that fateful day, I didn’t want to go home and tell hubby…”Well, you were right!  Here I am”.  Home.  Early.  I was home and the sun was still out for cripes sake (I wanted to use the F word – and I don’t mean Fifty).  We relocated for this job.  No friends here.  No family.  No job.  Ain’t that a shitter?

But…I have a degree.  Two of ’em!  Yes, indeed.  I’ll be just fine.  We’ll be just fine.  That’s what I was telling myself.

I dusted off my resume.  I did research to update it and make it marketable.  I made sure to use “new” words and not “dated” words.  I took off the summary statement.  I heard that was passé now.  I outlined “key abilities” and made sure all the % increases of growth were in there.  I highlighted my sales and metric focus.  I made sure they knew I LOVE P&L.  I can manage projects, people, paper…I shined light a bright star in all my phone interviews.  I got second phone interviews and third phone interviews.  Don’t people meet in person anymore?

The New Kids on the Block

THEN!  Then!  Face time!!  I shined in my personal interviews.  I have a cute haircut and I don’t look my age.  I’m fit!  My dress was sharp and stylish with a hint of trendy.  I’ve been told I have a bright and infectious smile – I used it perfectly!  But…nope.  I could cover up the gray, but I couldn’t cover up the old wrinkling hands, and sagging neck.  Crap!  They never tell you it’s your age…YOU JUST FEEL IT.  And it feels bad.  Was I being sold out?  The new mavericks are in town.  They’re younger, faster and stronger.  They’re fresh!  Remember when you were that?

Then a light flashed somewhere very near.  The lightbulb flickered, then stayed on.  I had an idea!  I’d recreate myself.  Yes, sir.  A new improved me.  The world loves “new and improved”, new packaging, new and fun slants on marketing.  The world loves “The Next New Thing”.

I dusted off the vintage me that was raised to “get a clerical job to have something to fall back on” to “I am woman, hear me roar”.  I’m gonna pick my gonads up, tuck ’em back in a start my own business.

There.  I’ve come just about full circle, but there is more to share.  Just not today.

I don’t mean to bore you with all my private, sordid details, but then again – I kind of do.  I want to make sure you don’t have blinders on about your future, or have your head buried in the sand.  I don’t want you to get caught off guard, like I was.  I figure it like this…right now you’re either going through the same thing I am – or you’re afraid that it could be right around the corner.  Either way, it you don’t have a plan…it’s time to get one.

Is the future dismal?  It doesn’t have to be.  But, be selfish.  Protect yourself and your dignity.  Can you dig it?  🙂

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4 Comments

  1. Thanks, Sheila!

    Working in the cleaning industry, at several patchwork jobs, some of my clients are in their late eighties!
    You’d think I’d’ve learned to plan for this changing soon, then, it will!
    But no, there’s a type of paralysis, which is the result of everything happening around us, 53-year-olds like me, falling out of life…….
    Its so bleak to think about, that the mind switches to another channel, or falls for a scam, and more money is lost……
    And every time the mind tries to focus on some planning out of this, resourcelessness and fear scare it away.

    So no planning gets done.

    I’ve seen only one positive development against this You’re Too Old trend.
    Its happening on the Internet, of all places!

    In areas of business involving the generating of one’s own income, an area almost entirely populated by scams, something is happening.
    The founders of such endeavors seem to slowly grasp ( some of them), that they will not survive if their customers and partners don’t survive.

    There are actually some to be found now, building a serious business by educating their signed-up partners without destroying their wallets. By showing them the ropes of business, because they see that if they can make people more successful, they themselves will stay in business and grow. Totally without cheating! And they don’t ask their partners how old they are!!!

    I sincerely hope this trend will continue….

    Kind Greetings
    Therese

    • Theresa! You sure said it. I never thought of it that way. I was paralyzed! Why oh why didn’t I plan for my future. I too fell out of life and just let life “happen” to me as I succumbed to the “status quo”. I’ve switched to so many channels, fell for so many scams…at one time I thought I was going to be the “import” “export” queen. I knew NOTHING about that field, but I got those darn (expensive) books and I was going to learn. Then I learned this: expensive licensing, tariffs, start up costs, operations, marketing and resources. That was a $450 mistake for just the books back in the 80’s. That was (and still is) a ton of money! You’ve of thought I learned my lesson, but I didn’t. I fell for it many more times.

      I too love this new era of business relationships. Instead of scams, there are actual true ways to LEARN how to start and grow an internet business. We may be a day late and a dollar short – but dang it, we’re not letting the devil steal our joy! Places like Wealthy Affiliate have been a Godsend. I actually feel good about what I learning and achieving, and can’t wait to help other’s do the same!

      Thank you SO MUCH for sharing with me today. Let’s stick together and do this thing!

  2. sheryl

    Wow!
    This could be a million member club. Been there, done that, got the shaft. I guess we all get used up and tossed out. I see my kids, and then remember myself at their age – boy I wish I had followed all that advise I had gotten from my elders.
    But, thinking more, I did the best I could under the circumstances. Of course, the problem is I didn’t have better circumstances. That’s where joining the club comes in. Change your circumstance, change your life.

    • Oh Sheryl! I couldn’t agree with you more on all accounts you’ve mentioned. The few bits of advise I did get, back in the day, of course I ignored because I thought I already had all the answers. Where in the world does that thinking come from? We did a dis-service to our selves without even realizing it. But, doing the best under our circumstances is what makes us strong and resilient.

      I’m so happy you’ve decided to give our community a look, and the training is amazing. I gotta tell you…this place has been amazing for me and has allowed me to put my head on straight and start doing what I want, instead of what everyone else thinks I should be doing. That’s a hard habit to break. My circumstances always seemed to end up in the “suck bucket”…but that’s okay because it’s made me who I am today.

      It’s so nice to meet you. I’ll be hooking up with you on the site soon, and I can’t wait to meet you. If you haven’t done so already, make sure you get your profile up and going – it will definitely get you going in the right direction to start engaging with all of the wonderful people there who will help you through this new adventure!

      Peace, and make it a great day!

      Sheila

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