Looking for a Job at 50 – Workplace Advice

Getting a Grip - Personal workplace advice from Handshake 2.0Dear Getting a Grip:  How did this happen to me? I blinked and here I am at 50 with a mortgage, a bald spot, a beer gut, and a pink slip. I look in the mirror and think, “Who in the world would hire that guy?” The interviews are proving this out. I can get my foot in the door, but once they see the rest of me…

Dear That Guy:  Very little challenges our core belief in our personal value than getting laid off or fired. Once we pair our personal value with our value to our companies, a business decision by our companies becomes very personal indeed.

Believe it or not, a worse case than yours is created by the person who refuses to look in the mirror and to take a realistic inventory of assets and liabilities. With the median employee tenure at 4 years in the U.S., the more each of us sees ourselves as independent corporations partnering with a series of other corporations about every 4 years, the more likely we are to keep our assets maximized in anticipation of meeting our next client’s needs.

An unfortunately large number of people look in the mirror, eyes blinded by blaming the company, the economy, the government or their in-laws and can’t, or won’t, see personal liabilities that can present opportunities for transformation into assets. A frank look can be painful, but you’re to be commended for your courage to look yourself right in the eye.

Getting a Grip:  If you’re getting interviews but no jobs, the job market wants something you don’t have. In our technology-dependent economy, new skills are always required. It’s time for you to acquire a new skill. If what you can do can produce R.O.I. for your employer, the wise employer sees dollar signs, not bald heads. About the beer gut - you know what you have to do. You have to change. How auspicious that you’ll have to do that every four years or so anyway. You can start your change training now.


Need to start “Getting a Grip” on a personal problem at work?  Need workplace advice?  E-mail your question to [email protected].

Getting a Grip, a workplace advice column, is written by Anne Giles Clelland. Getting a Grip  regrets that not all questions can be answered, personal replies are not possible, and questions may be edited for brevity and clarity.

Anne's Giles Clelland's workplace advice column appears monthly in Valley Business FRONT.  A version of this column appeared in the May 2010 issue.

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  1. I agree! Change the things you can do something about. Lose that weight. Learn new skills. But please look at your strengths and play them up! Being over 50 you have a LOT of assets to bring to a company. And smile and be enthusiastic in job interviews. And as a wise friend says, if you got severance pay, for heavens sake don’t use it for a vacation. Invest in yourself! Classes, resume services etc.

  2. Thanks for the “value added,” Leslie!

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