8 Choices Available To You If Laid Off At 50 or Older

Friday, August 5, 2011, 2:00 AM | Leave Comment

If you have been laid off at an older age – 50 and above – or still working but have been averting your eyes from the depressing headlines about the economy and high unemployment rate, it’s time to face reality. You could be next. With your 401(k) decimated, you are probably resigned to working longer than planned. But don’t kid yourself.

As companies continue slashing payrolls, you can’t depend on holding on to your job to a ripe retirement age.

Studies show that workers in their late fifties are nearly twice as likely to be laid off as colleagues in their late twenties.

Job after 50 is very tough

Recently, I read a survey done by Urban Institute. It said you cost your boss more – in benefits as well as pay.

According to the Institute, the median employer cost of private health insurance claims is

  • $1,177 for each worker 55 to 64 years old,
  • $715 for 45- to 54 years old and
  • $396 for 35- to 44 years old.

If you have been laid off or still working, here are a few things experts suggest you can do:

  1. Considerable assets

    First, remember that you have considerable assets and
    excellent experience:

    • a record of success,
    • a network of contacts,
    • maturity,
    • professionalism and
    • years of wisdom to share.
  2. Ask for promotion, training or new assignments

    If you are already in a job, tell your boss that you plan to be there for a long time and that you would like to be considered for promotion, job training and new assignments.

  3. Full-time job search

    If you have already been laid off, make job search full-time work – 8 hours a day, 40 hours a week. Apply the same professionalism, discipline and ingenuity to your job hunt that you demonstrated during your career.

  4. Be thorough and systematic

    Be thorough and systematic in your job search. Keep track of contacts, leads and the status of your applications.

  5. Avoid expensive career coaches

    You may be tempted to hire career coaches, but avoid them. They will charge somewhere between $5,000 to $10,000. Instead you have good experience, wisdom and all that. Keep the money in your pocket. You will definitely need it.

  6. Find affordable career coaches

    If you do need a career coach, then find a local chapter of the Five O’Clock Club. They have career coaches and will charge you something like $360 for 10 weekly sessions. That’s $36 a session. Their past performance shows that the average client finds a job in less than 3 months.


  7. Use Networking

    Experts say the vast majority of jobs – 70% – are filled through networking and less than 5% through ads or postings (recruiters do the remaining 25%). That’s why it’s especially important to find a contact within the company.

    Use sites like LinkedIn and Facebook and ask colleagues and friends for advice and expand your contacts.

  8. Join a networking group

    FENG if you are in finance or MENG if you are in marketing.

In a Nutshell
How you respond to the challenge of being an older worker is ultimately up to you. Only 17% of employers make “a conscious effort to attract workers 50 and over,” according to a survey by RetirementJobs.com.

However, demographic trends may cause employers to change their attitudes towards over 50 youngsters. In a few years, there may not be enough younger workers to take their place.

Age discrimination

I don’t believe I said that – will eventually fade away with the sunset and a new dawn will arise as employers realize that their own interests are best served by judging each individual by his or her skills and character rather than stereotypes.

And I have a dream. I may not be there with you…

Sure, older employees cost more, but the right one can boost the bottom line.

Read more on Retail Savings Guide for Baby Boomers.

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