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Job Search Beyond Age 55

Updated on June 17, 2016

It's Time to Invent and Create My Own Job

Real Comments from Real People addressing Job Search Reality beyond Age 55

These comments were plucked fromBrutal Job Search Reality for Older Americans Out of Work for Six Months or More

  • The ugly truth is that midlife workers have been delivered a double blow. Not only have they lost their jobs—they’ve lost their employability.

It’s a national tragedy that’s getting worse by the minute. Millions of lives are falling apart because people who never dreamed they would find themselves in such circumstances can’t get hired. Savings are gone, homes are lost and hope is tenuous, at best.

Experienced, viable candidates (especially those aged 45-60) are often not even considered for open positions. Until companies start recognizing the value in hiring midlife workers, the unemployment crisis will continue.

I founded Operation Boomerang because I know what it's like to be out of work for several years. You can find us on Facebook - website in the work

  • a 56 year old colleague of mine (MBA in finance and dual doctorate in management and economics) from UCLA was laid off as a business professor from an HBCU (HIstorically Black College and University) two years ago where he worked for 15 years. Of the faculty let go by the college 95% were White and he was the only published PhD in the business-economics department. At one meeting, the president of the college was overheard to say "we have too many older White folks teaching at this HBCU. We need to get rid of the older White professors and replace them with younger Black professors."

When pressed in court (yep, they sued) about this blatant violation of age and race discrimination laws, the EEOC representative stated that "Historically Black colleges can do that." When asked if a "Historically White college could do the same to its Black faculty" the answer was "no because that would constitute discrimination based on race." Go figure!

This example demonstrates that the government hasn't a clue on how to address the issue of older, long-term, under-unemployed people especially when it comes to discrimination (and age discrimination is against the law. And people will keep doing this as long as they keep getting away with it.

Obviously this guy is highly qualified, but with his age, experience and education, the only work he has gotten was as a contract adjunct at the same college that laid him off teaching the same subjects, but with no benefits, no office, resources, or parking spot and at 20% of his normal salary. He was only making $66,000 per year, so it wasn't like he was making a big bucks. One laid off professor at the same college was so distraught, they had a heart attack 12 months later and died.

The unemployment numbers don't take into consideration those who are underemployed, or long-term unemployed. Also, the main panacea seems to be "retraining", so how much "retraining: should my colleague seek? Perhaps a third doctorate would do the trick!
An HR researcher at a leading university survey 1,000 HR managers and asked "which person would they hire based solely on the candidates photograph."

Every HR manager said they wouldnt hire one specific candidate because he was "too old." The candidate they turned down was Chesley Burnett Sullenberger, III, the pilot who landed US Airways Flight 1549 on the Hudson River on January 15, 2009.

Captain Sullenberger was born in 1952 which makes him 61. I wonder how well that accident would have turned out with a younger, less experienced pilot.
Hey I know, lets ask the passenger whose lives where saved!

Come to think about it . it's all about "Using People". Get them young and Cheap and run them like a sweat shop. Once they start making money via time and salary raises,,, get rid of them and start all over again. Funny though, the young HR personnel today will be the near future older worker. Guess what happens to them?

“No matter what happened to you in your past, you are not your past, you are the resources and the capabilities you glean from it. And that is the basis for all

The makings of greatness is not for the weak..gcw2014 Source:
The makings of greatness is not for the weak..gcw2014 Source: | Source

First and Lasting Impressions

For the many years as a potential hire, I have been interviewed by hiring agencies, companies, and staffing HR individuals and I have found these key observations of vital importance


Sitting across the desk is your nemesis. He or she has recently graduated from college with the degree that has been purchased by the blood, sweat, tears and trust fund savings of parents in your age bracket.

To fathom why you are in the job market at your age is beyond the core credits gained with their earned University degree.

You must be kidding! Seriously!!

The chance that you will get referred to the next best corporate referral is practically Zero.


Most companies and corporate organizations must adhere to laws of governance. It is a requirement to post vacancies and follow strict guidelines of equal opportunity legalese to avoid being sued by disgruntled employees, if there is a perceived loophole.

While there may be numerous posts for a position, it is not unusual that a candidate has already been selected from within.

There is also the candidate who has the inside referral from a higher up on lock down.

With eager enthusiasm you get the interview and Voila!, the documented interview quota is met.


After you have acquired years of career experience and have demonstrated the skills, knowledge and aptitude in every area of the position description you are applying for; you are screened and tested for college course level Math 101 and alphabetical filing competencies

Temp Agencies testing modules are designed to eliminate the people who are deemed to perform under a particular equation.

Why would a 25 year careerist, who has served in roles of Senior Consultant to Program Coordinator at professional organizations need to qualify with 60 wpm typing score to gain Temp employment? Uh Oh!! Houston we have a problem!!


Sometimes you have to maintain your civility even when the obvious reeks of classism, or not so subtle racism.

When the receptionist, the staffers, the copy machine operator and the Temp agency owner are all blond blue eyed and millennial, as a black female nearing 60, the odds are highly not in your favor, if immediate employment is your goal.

Thank you for interviewing me in your casual weekend wear.

As you meet with the hiring consultant and their theme of dress style is the look of Paris Hilton in a strapless maxi, with a voice tone of classic "Cali girl" ; you recognize you are already at a disadvantage.

Before you, is the person who has the power to determine whether you will be hired: and you graciously grin and bear.


Watch out! In his interview style, the arrogance of self importance plays off as assured confidence. What he is saying is his script for sales. He professes all of his great talents and competencies. He charms with his bravado.

His unique talent to bullshit is impressive. Because when he is called out to put his money where his mouth is, he deflates and cannot follow through.


After conducting the telephone interview; after you have expounded on why you have the matching talents for the position listed, after you have agreed to wait for the call back within 24 hour; you make the one mistake that sales people are schooled in, you initiate the callback.

Great salespeople are trained, that if you have succeeded in creating a need, and presenting a solution to the need, you close the sale. If however, you have to wait on a decision from the client, only when and if the client calls to finish the deal, on whatever the terms might be, worked out, only then is it a done deal.

If you are the first to call back the client, you are at the mercy of their shenanigans.

At the callback, when the prospective employer advises, you are not the fit, and sounds coquettishly mortified…as in did I just hear you suggest that my fit has to do with what? Age, Sex, Gender or Race? Why not pick one? You bow out gently and flee quickly from the conversation.


With a Resume that verifies and establishes a long term record of work history, you negotiate for the best market rate. All factors considered, you are the one seeking employment, you have no income, and you want to be employed.

The pressure of vulnerability is very chastening. Your potential employer makes a best offer.

Will you accept the going rate? We pay this to our 'desperately seeking a job' candidate. We are really doing you a favor. And the big number is $16 per hour, and it happens to have no benefits too. Well isn’t that just great!



The vacancy post reads:

We need someone who is business savvy, polished, has great communications skills, understands office administration and operations and is entrepreneurial and creative and must have at least a Bachelor’s degree.

Your position will be the Front Desk receptionist.

Are you mad?

But you are ineligible for hire because you have all the necessary requisite experience, proven work history, stellar references, except for the Degree.

Should the candidate with a Degree in Semantics, who has not yet garnered any life experience, have a greater chance for this post than you? You Betcha!!


After you get the hired post and have successfully migrated into the position and have trained up, the company terminates your contract. You are on the corporate Beach.

Until the experience that the utilization for one’s skills and talents is exhausted and the realization that one’s worth is measured only in the value of the bottom line, there is an awakening. By the way, there is no reward for credibility, loyalty, responsibility.

You discern. You are a volunteer worker and you are expendable.

Ways to "not" Successfully handle the Interview

The Exit


The Exit interview begins with the first interview. The job interview process is about engagement. For the seasoned and mature job seeker the challenges are conspicuously disparate. There are many realities that are part of the strategy of becoming gainfully employed.

Take inventory of the environment, the representation, and the social politics.

With each potential interview consider it as your personal evaluation of an exit interview. It is the best measure of value to oneself.

With each new experience, there is a new notch of exposure and knowledge.

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, the movie The Wolf of Wall Street depicts a man who is a glutton to his riches and to his successes. Among the many areas of his over indulgent life depicted on screen and in the amazing performance of Leonard Di Caprio, the message remains

“No matter what happened to you in your past, you are not your past, you are the resources and the capabilities you glean from it. And that is the basis for all change.”
Jordan Belfort


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