Fighting Back When You’re 50+ and Unemployed

Are employers passing on you because you’re over 50? You bet. According to a recent survey by AARP, about two-thirds of older workers say they have seen or experienced age discrimination in the workplace.

How do you fight back? Here are some ideas:

Don’t start a blog about looking for work

You might as well slap a big red “L” on your forehead.

Blogging about your job hunt, no matter how funny, empathetic, or analytical you try to be, will eventually make you look like a martyr or a whiner. Or like somebody who can’t hold a job.

But do put in the time to cultivate your online presence. Check out the free Mac’s List course, How to Wow and Woo Employers Online, for a simple primer on using social media for your job search,

Don’t live like you’re on shore leave

If you stay up late, sleep in, and don’t get dressed until dinnertime, when you return to the working world you’ll feel like you just jumped into Fast and Furious.

Even if you have nothing to do tomorrow except walk the dog and clean the house, get up when people with actual jobs get up and walk the dog and clean the house. Being unemployed is like being adrift. A schedule will anchor you.

Don’t ever stop networking

You have nothing to do tomorrow? Volunteer! You’ll do some good for the world plus you can network with your group’s board.

(This idea is courtesy of Michelle Lantow, Chief Administrative Officer at New Seasons, who presented on networking as speed-dating at a recent Communicators Conference.)

Don’t hang with people like you

I’m not saying you should ditch your friends. I’m saying that sometimes you want to go where nobody knows your name.

Mac Prichard once told me that I should attend events sponsored by groups outside my field. He suggested groups like the City Club and Rotary. This has turned out to be a great way to meet people who are interested in meeting people like me because I’m not the usual person they hang with.

You never know – one of these strange new people might know of a job opening or might even have a job opening.

Some years, jobs rain down on us. Not this year. Keep your morale up. Keep trying new things. Keep learning.