Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wanted for hire: Sixty-Two Year Old Woman. Ha!

Sixty-two year old woman seeks work. Oh, sixty-two year old woman has medical problems with her hands and knees. Oh, sixty-two year old woman has been laid off for various reasons beyond her control over the last nine years.

On paper I look great. I have done everything from front desk to public relations. From writing plays to producing them for 12 years in a school district. I can type 80 wpm. I have supervised a build-out for a new company, had killer turn outs are press conferences and have set up a public relations network throughout the world. Yet, when I walk into an interview, the sixty-two years shoots me down every time. Don’t get mislead. No one ever says a word about age, yet it is written all over the ‘good-bye’ at the door.

I was always recruited for jobs, always offered jobs at first interviews. I’m a hard worker who always hit the new job full force moving forward. I have a PR personality and never had a problem making new connections or finding my way through challenges, yet when I hit fifty, more and more I noted the surprise on the faces of those who called me in for an interview. I was not young and what they perceive as easier to train, I asked for a salary that was compatible with my experience, I was a strong woman who knew she could do the job, I was not a desirable commodity.

My life has been more downs then ups over the last few years. My boss suddenly died of a heart attack in 2001 collapsing the new company. My next boss was fired by the venture capital investor who wanted his own man in the position. The entire team was laid off. Next I was laid off due to company cut backs. Finally, I worked myself out of a job when the person I was replacing came back to work and didn’t recognize her job. I had moved the office into the new century, and she was still trying to figure out her computer. Periods of no employment plagued me, and the final axe fell when I had to sell my home.

Soon I will be struggling as my house money will be gone. I will be making decisions soon that will set the course for the next two years until I can retire. Life is not easy for a woman at sixty-two who is unemployable.

I know that I am not alone. There are so many of us, the baby boomers, who are struggling with lack of employment, high insurance premiums and no hope for a better existence. What we thought would be our retirement nest egg is eaten up by daily survival and medical bills.

I am not old. My body seems to be in need of a major overhaul, but I am not old. This human race is living to be 100 which means that I am just a middle-aged woman.

The time off has given me my writing. What I normally dabbled at has become my focus. An occasional greeting card with my verse, a few articles online or in a magazine, a daily blog have all given me a place to work with some success. Yet it does not pay the bills.

I am not whining. This situation that I am in is rampant here in the US. I am one of many. My belief is that all politicians should have the same insurance as me. They should have the same retirement as me. My insurance premium could go to a national insurance plan, instead of a policy that still eats me alive, giving me the security of always having coverage with no charge. I’ve seen firsthand the insurance in the UK and fail to understand why a country as progressive as ours can be so archaic. I don’t understand how we can have huge companies hold our politicians in their pockets so they are protected instead of the people of our land. I am angry.

I am a sixty-two year old woman. I am tired of being judged by my age. I’m tired of being rejected because of wrinkles and grey hair. I’m angry at insurance that mocks pre-existing conditions. I’m scared at a future that is uncertain. I am not alone.

I am a sixty-two year old woman.

3 comments:

  1. Wow. Very eloquent and moving post. And very true.

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  2. I am 58 and facing the same problem. It's frightening. I can work, but I don't seem to be able to handle pressure like I once did, and younger workers are catching on much quicker. The job I have now, won't even cover my basic expenses and that's just renting a room. The job won't give me more than 24 hours a week and I'm forced to clean rooms at a hotel for $4 a room. What can we do?

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  3. Thank you for writing. No, it isn't easy. In fact, it is frightening, lonely and difficult at best. I have no answers. I wish I did. I wish I could help you in your situation. I do know that there is help from government agencies. Don't be afraid to see what might be available for you. Don't give up. If you aren't involved at a church, find one. Seek a place where you can find friends and potential help. My prayers are with you.

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