- Business and Employment
Looking For Work - Senior Job Search
The Dream - The Reality
At age twenty, we think of retirement as almost a joke. At age thirty, we think far more of feeding our family and sending our children to dance class or to school than of retirement. In our forties, if sensible and able, we enroll in our work retirement benefit. At age fifty we exchange dreams of promotion to dreams of the day when we do not have to get up and go to work.
For some the dream is to travel. My husband and I want to visit Roswell, NM. For some the dream is to have time to focus on a much loved hobby such as pottery. My own mother quilted with a group of quilters. My own personal dream is to write, seriously write. I have written nine novels - four WWI historical fiction, three paranormal suspense where Anna Tovar finds the missing, a stand alone drama of psychological suspense, Martin, Crook, & Bill, and a predictable run-of-the-mill story called Riding the Gate.
So I did fulfill my retirement dream. I did write. However, when the car needed repair, I had to use a credit card. When my husband needed dental attention, I used a credit card. We used our credit card to travel to a funeral. Our retirement budget included mortgage, utilities, and food. Suddenly we also had credit card payments.
At age 66, the time has come to find a job.
More Seniors Work Longer
Traditional Senior Jobs
America has a population of 45 million citizens over 65. Of these 45 million individuals, 17 percent continue in their jobs without interruption. The other 83 percent of us file for social security and quit our jobs. Ahhhh!
So what happens when we realize we do not have enough money to retire. We look for supplemental income. Many of us, especially if we worked clerical or customer service, check into working at home. (The commute looms large.) Hopefully we do not spend too much on work-at-home scams. I checked into this option, but could not grasp exactly what the work entailed. I was unwilling to spend $45.00 for a book on places to apply. I did go online and apply to be a psychic. I thought talking to people about their future would be fun. I was declined.
The traditional supplemental income for female senior citizens is such occupations as Home Health Care, Hospice Care, teacher-aid, and product demonstrator. A recent upsurge in phone center work is providing a productive option. I apply for a phone center - customer service job. I complete the online test which is not demanding. I am e-mailed for a phone interview. After the phone interview I am scheduled for a face-to-face. The commute is 45 miles one way in heavy traffic. The young lady who is to interview me was not impressed on her first sight of me. I suspect I am too old. I withdraw from the process because I can not drive 90 miles a day in heavy traffic.
My Retirement Work
The Physical Facts
Perhaps it is time to soul search. This job search is not the same as a job search 20 years ago. First, previous education, licenses, and experience only matters now in what you know you are able to do in some capacity. If you have a teaching certificate, you are probably still teaching. If you have a nursing license, you have a heads-up in home health care jobs. If you have an MBA, CPA, or forty years customer service experience you know what you are able to do. The point is we are not looking for a career. We are looking for supplemental income within our productive comfort zone.
In the soul search, I must decide what I am physically able 'to do. It is important not to lie to myself. Do I have the stamina to work full time. Yes, I am physically able. I prefer part time. I only require some money.
In the soul search, I must decide if I still have the mental acumen to learn a new job. The stereotype of older job seekers is that older applicants can't learn new things, at least not quickly. This impression especially applies to technology. Since I've worked on computer screens and data entry for forty years, I have no fear of learning new screens. I must admit to fear of social media and smart phones. I check with care the job requirements.
In the soul search, I must decide what I can offer an employer above other applicants to compensate for my age. Say all things are equal: same score on the test, fine background check, nothing negative in urine analysis. Then comes the interview. What conflict have you resolved in your current position? What have you done to provide exceptional service to a customer? As I am not currently employed, I answer from previous, old experience.
What can I provide this employer that the other candidates can't? I was told never to say I have no interest in advancement. So, I can say that I have fewer domestic demands, so I can balance work and home without missing work. I will require fewer unscheduled sick days. I will be at work everyday on time. (Unless it snows. I have a fear of driving on ice.) I do like to pick up my grandchildren from school, but my mortgage payment is late so I will wait to see the schedule.
My final soul search is to accept that time does pass. Age does matter. A fun, relaxing retirement does not happen without planning. Nothing is more futile than regret. Keep trying.