Why would or should seniors be looking for employment once you’re obviously over the hill? You’ve got to be kidding!
Unfortunately, this is not a joke to the many senior citizens that do not have enough income to survive. Employment is not necessarily a choice. For many, senior citizen job seeking and interviews turn into a lonely, disappointing, and stressful journey.
Although, a lot of seniors come to the interview table with much experience and many skills to offer, the young, energetic, and perky applicants vying for employment opportunities usually win. Unfair? Yes!
Many senior citizens find themselves forced to seek a job because the bread-winner might have incurred a physical disability, or because of family illness or financial loss. Divorce is not out of the question. Marriages fail no matter how long the union existed. Or, perhaps you find yourself responsible to raise grandchildren. Maybe your spouse has died and left no savings, property, or retirement income. Whatever the reason, the needs are real and pose exhausting physical and mental demands.
However, many older people seeking jobs may not possess skills, and are forced to settle for minimum wage (or below minimum wage) jobs, unsafe environments, and undesirable work schedules. Often times senior work can require more physical labor than they are able to endure. Sometimes, seniors have no choice but to accept and endure low paying janitorial, kitchen, maid jobs that can be subservient and physically demanding, or difficult, and embarrassing.
Imagine for a moment, that you are an intelligent and educated person that enjoyed continuous employment and career growth throughout most of your adult life. Then, suddenly, you find yourself divorced, laid-off and out of work. And, you are 60 years old! Or, perhaps, you worked most of your adult life, but did not have smooth sailing. Maybe you had several divorces, didn’t get a fair or any settlement, or was left waist-deep in debt. Suddenly, you were forced to survive living paycheck to paycheck. Living expenses, like mortgages, transportation, food, family responsibilities, or medical problems ate up what savings and reserves you tried to build.
So, now when you should be reaping the benefits of serving others you entire life, you find yourself spending your days in a restroom cleaning toilets, emptying trash, wiping sinks, moping floors, and accepting tips from restroom users to survive? This may not be typical, but it is real, and many elderly people are faced with this scenario day after day.
In today’s society, no matter what careers or positions you have, at any moment, for millions of reasons, you could suddenly be faced with no income, inadequate health insurance, depleted retirement funds, and no job!
Can’t happen to you, you say? You are entering the Golden Years, you say? If you have invested and saved wisely, and can be sure of reaping a continued income at or above the level you received while employed – kiss your lucky stars!
Substantial monetary reserves and upscale lifestyles are not the normal situations for the everyday person in the United States. Oh, but you’ll have social security, you say? Most likely, social security will provide less than half of the income you once earned. Ah, yes, the Golden Years are staring you in the face with evil, threatening yellow eyes.
Okay, so maybe you won’t have the luxurious carefree lifestyle you ‘thought’ you’d have once you begin that downward path to life’s end. Now you find you must supplement your income and work, maybe for the rest of your life. But, hey, no problem, you have skills, you’re educated, and you might even possess a college degree (or two)!
Okay, let’s just apply for one or two positions, because employers will probably snatch you up in a heartbeat. Employers will probably be more than happy to have you join them, perhaps they’re chomping at the bit just to get hold of you. Yes, that’s right, you with all your aspirations and qualifications! Look out job markets – here you come!
The first few weeks have go by and not you had just one interview. Apparently, the outcome was not in your favor, because you have not received a call or declination letter. But, no problem, you were probably over-qualified for that job anyway.
Two months go by, and no interview invitations or potential offers. What’s the problem? Oh, it’s probably just that there abundant applicants with your qualifications. It’ll just take a bit more time.
It’s been four months since your senior work venture began. Self-doubts start to creep into your subconscious, but it can’t possibly be your age! You have numerous abilities and certificates to back up your qualifications, and you numerous awards to your credit. Maybe the job market slowed down, or maybe your salary requirement is too high. Too high? You were earning considerably more when you were employed previously! And, your standard of living and related expenses demand a substantial income. You’ll get the next one for sure!
Six months have elapsed. You’re applying for jobs in person, by snail-mail and email, Diligently waiting by your phone and checking your computer email for a favorable response. Boy, this senior work hunting is tough, but you’ll get the next one for sure!
Eight months, and finally you get an interview opportunity. You rehearse specific words in preparation to have all the right responses to the interviewer’s questions. You pick out your interview apparel days ahead, making sure the suit is clean and pressed, and shoes are shined. You may even purchase new makeup (can’t hurt to look your best). You take a dry-run to check the travel time needed so you arrive precisely on time. Gathering your documentation and carefully placing it in your briefcase; you’re ready!
You arrive for the job interview as planned. You walk through the door, and proceed to the receptionist station and introduce yourself. A disinterested and impersonal greeting is returned, and you’re directed to take a seat over there.
As you sit on the hard-backed uncomfortable chair, you look around and notice the employees are wearing jeans, sneakers, low-cut tee-shirts, and sandals! What? Most everyone has a blue-flashing light coming from the side of their heads – oh, but, of course, everyone has a cell phone attached to their body in today’s world. Maybe you’re at the wrong address! Nope, you’ve got the right address – you’re just in the wrong generation! You were taught about business apparel and professional appearances; who changed the game? The young female receptionist is showing more cleavage than most magazines! Not one wrinkle or line in sight on that flawless, made-up, young face. Her bare legs in sandals with no less than four-inch killer high-heels, and she’s chewing and popping her bubble gum!
A girl (probably no more than 14 years old), wearing a sheer lace blouse and sporting a push-up bra, five-inched platform heels, a skirt hardly more than two inches below her butt,and exploiting a tattoo around her ankle and on her thigh, walks up to you and tells you to follow her. She escorts you to a conference room where you will meet your perspective employer. You walk in, sit down and as you look at unfamiliar faces, you realize you could be parent or grandparent to any of these individuals!
Each one in the room extends their hand, dutifully, and introduces themselves with just their first name. The leader of this young pack of heifers asks you to tell them about yourself. What should you tell them; should you tell them you were at Woodstock, or that you watched the first astronaut step onto the moon’s surface, or maybe how fast you once typed on a manual typewriter? Or, how about telling them about the first television set, or about soda that came in glass bottles, the initiation of the U.S. Interstate highways, or telephone party lines?
Of course, not, they are interested in bits, megabits, software, hardware (not Ace), components, spreadsheets, data feeds, RSS, and such. They have no clue or care about half the things you could report, and they have no interest in times past. These are “now” individuals!
As your mind struggles to offer something of interest and importance within the realm of their lifespan, you realize your career story is ancient history. But, here you are, and you press on and try condense your career, and focus on position requirements and your glowing abilities.
Then, one of them has the audacity to ask how long you plan to work, and what are your goals for the next 10 years! What! In ten years, you’ll be seventy years old, just how many years do I want to work and how many life attaining goals could I be planning? Okay, mostly, I’m planning to work until I die at my desk, and my goal is to wake up the next morning!
The interview takes all of 15 minutes, and just as quickly as it began, you find yourself walking down the hallway and out the entrance door. As you walk to your car, a feeling of despair chills your spine. Perhaps they felt threatened by your glowing job history, and past successes. That must be why the interview ended so quick. Or, could the job be targeted for a young, bouncy, busty, and hormone-exploding-volcano of a female? Or, to one of the boss’ friends or relatives? After all, you don’t have any control whether the company is run by egotistic idiots or not, right?
As you catch a glimpse of yourself in the rear view mirror, you notice that compared to the young faces you’ve just witnessed, you are an old and wretched creature! As you remove your suit jacket and place it over the passenger seat, the crepe-like skin covering your bones comes into view. The mirror dares you to take another look, and the age lines and drooping jaw stand out like neon lights.
This kind of thinking will get you nowhere. Still you wonder what happened? Wasn’t it just yesterday that you had all the time in the world? You were beautiful, self assured, energetic. You possessed knowledge and expertise that made you a valuable asset to employers.