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Forced Retirement: Has This Happened to You?

Updated on December 29, 2013

When a person who is under 50-yrs, usually, has been unemployed for over a year, one tends just to look at it as that. But, many are over 50 and through a variety of circumstances tend to view it as "forced retirement".

The problems for those 50 and older who have been unemployed for a long time is that they face a bad situation. They face age discrimination, the subtle technique used by managers in their 30's-40's. In some cases, the hiring manager could be the son or daughter. Age discrimination can even happen well before the interview simply by accessing the applicants social media accounts or googling their name. Many times, the manager is influenced by finding out the well skilled 55-year old might not be a good fit for a younger staff especially if the older is subordinate to the younger. Unless there is a "smoking gun", it is very impossible to cite age discrimination, but one senses it from what excuse is used when seeking feedback. Comments like, " we just didn't think it was a good fit", or, "our culture may not be the best for you".

Those into "forced retirement" find going back to school to learn new skills or improve existing ones difficult for monetary reasons because they are on a fixed income. Getting a loan is difficult if you cannot afford it. Getting a grant is the same. Going back to school can be a good or bad experience. A person who is 60, could be old enough to be the grandparent of a fellow 20-yr. old student. Just weird. Even the professor could be their offspring. Yes, all of these are psychological hurdles in reality, but they must be overcome to succeed. It is not easy when you have to retool, relearn, skills, and being on a limited income.

Another problem is simply even getting a low paying job, let alone, one that you have not done for a year. At the bottom are the low paying ones. Here, you have the skills and so much more, but the job goes to another. Is it because of your age? Not bilingual? Bad timing? Maybe, you can easily learn the job, yet, your resume reflects past work that is totally unrelated. That is frequent, like, an unemployed manager applying for a janitorial job. Of course, he can easily learn the few skills needed, yet, because there is no experience showing that on the resume, he is passed up. No amount of explanations will help if there are other applicants with such experience, even a little of it. Part of the problem is that the hiring person knows this applicant is capable and could do the job. But, because he is overskilled or educated, hiring them would seem like a waste because they will leave, while a person who has done it for awhile with less education\skills will more likely stay.

So, for the many who have been forced into retirement (in a sense), the older they are, the more the above problems happen. It is a real conundrum and keeps the unemployment rate high because of the millions of baby boomers from age 50 and beyond. As these people survive on their retirement funds and deplete them, they go on welfare to help. It would nice to have a government mandated program for those over 50-years that are in this situation. Work subsidy programs do not solve it because the employer must agree to do it.

For many, retirement will not be the "golden years", but one of trying to avoid falling through the safety net.


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