UNEMPLOYED: 50 AND OLDER

Being unemployed, having no job, and not being able to find a job can be emotionally stressful and devastating, particularly for those who are fifty years old and older. Since I am in that age bracket, it seems to me that employers are not interested in hiring baby boomers. If a person is not a millennial, a baby boomer has a tough row to hoe in today’s economy and job market.

In October 2015, I, along with 70 other people, was laid off from my job because the company lost a multi-million dollar contract. Although I had a small savings, I was confident that I would be able to find part-time or full time work or even temporary work by the spring of 2016.

Before I was laid off, I assisted in writing procurements for solicitation for housing construction contracts. In addition, I meticulously managed a five million dollar contract budget, prepared financial reports, processed approximately 7,000 invoices per year for accounts payable and accounts receivable, trained new contractors in LCP Tracker software application in order to certify payroll, and accurately entered all construction contracts into Yardi Yoyager. Of the voluminous amount of paperwork that I had to process each day, by the grace of God, I was able to exceed my manager’s expectations.

In February 2016, I actively started looking for work. In March 2016, I had my first interview with a temporary agency, who called me. I went to the job interview with samples of my work from my previous employment. After completing the job application in the waiting area and after waiting thirty minutes to be interviewed, the interviewer entered the waiting area. She did not stop to extend a welcome; she did not stop to shake my hand; and she did not stop to ensure that I was well taken care of. She nonchalantly walked passed me and said, “Follow me.” From observation of her non-verbal behavior, I immediately knew that this interviewer was not interested in me. During the interview, my initial assessment was confirmed. Despite the situation, I still sent the interviewer an email, thanking her for the interview, and I also sent her a very nice handwritten thank-you note.

When you have people in your life (like your husband, your wife, your children, your partner, your mama, your daddy) who depend on your income, there is no such thing as pride, at least for me. Even though I have a Master’s Degree, in May 2016, I resulted to applying for banquet work with two temporary agencies. Fifteen years ago, I worked in banquets (fine dining) as a part-time weekend gig. During my second interview, the interviewer asked me, “What year did you graduate college?” I refused to answer the question because the interviewer was fishing for my age. I politely responded, “If you need a copy of my highest degree, I can provide that for you.” I was so stunned, and upset, about that question, especially for a banquet server’s position, which does not even require a high school diploma.

During the spring and summer of 2016, I soon learned that the temporary agency landscape has tremendously changed in seven years. In large metropolitan areas, at least in Chicago, a person can no longer stop by a temporary agency to complete a job application. If you call a temporary agency about possible employment, they will screen you on the phone to determine if you are “appropriate” for their agency and it has nothing to do with your skillset. In my opinion, this is a form of discrimination. If your resume is posted to CareerBuilder or to Monster Jobs and if a temporary agency calls you, they are not interested in recruiting you. They want to screen you and vet you over the phone to see if you are “appropriate” for their agency. This has been my experience, and I think it is blatant discrimination, and there is no state law to prevent it.

Even though my background was in mental health, I no longer work in that field, although I still possess the skills. My passion now is helping people to deal and cope with the losses in their lives. When a person loses their job or loses their income, it is a significant loss.

Having lost my job and not having an income for almost two years, I do my best to stay in good spirits. The main thing that keeps my pieces together is my faith in God. I know that in all our lives, there will be both sunshine and rain. Despite the weather forecast in my life, I must hold on to the Good Lord, because I know that God is more than able to help me and you during troubled times in our lives. And, you know what? I have not stopped helping others as I survive off of little. I believe that if someone needs your help, you help them the best way you can, without asking anything in return.

My savings is all depleted. I am now selling my DVD and book collection on eBay to put food on the table. I don’t regret it one bit.

If you are unemployed and cannot find a job, especially if you are a baby boomer, I ask you to trust in the Good Lord and have faith in the Good Lord. God will provide, and be thankful to God for what He is doing in your life right now! One of these days, and hopefully soon, God will bless you with a job, and when He does, make sure you give Him all the praise.