Thursday, June 16, 2011

Looking For a Job



I think an important aspect of this new economy is the realization that we can no longer count on having a job beyond our fifties. Men and women over this age are one of the hardest hit in this new economy. They are less likely to lose their job, but once lost, less likely to find a new one. Companies are going long on lower pay and short on experience.

One of the saddest videos I've watched in some time was a man who felt his wife and children no longer loved him. Out of work for most of three years, he's lost his sense of pride, but more importantly he has lost his sense of what it means to be a man; the protector and support of his family.

I can't know what has gone on in this family to make him feel this way, I cannot say he didn't bring it on himself - has he spent too much time on the negative? Has he worn his family down with anger and self-pity?

But I think there is something important for men to know - they are so much more than their career or job! They are  husbands, fathers, brothers, sons, nephews, friends, the list goes on. They have so much worth that has nothing to do with money or what they do for a living.

Their family and friends need them to know that. This economy is not their fault. 

16 comments:

DJan said...

Amen, Nancy! I cannot imagine how it would feel to lose my job and not be able to find another. It happened to my downstairs neighbor, and he finally was evicted and declared bankruptcy. Just awful to watch and be powerless to do anything to help.

ellen abbott said...

so true. our gender roles really do not contribute to our mental health. just because he cannot contribute to the family income doesn't mean that he cannot contribute to the health and welfare of his family but he might consider 'women's work' to be beneath him.

karena said...

I've heard that there are groups for jobless men over fifty that get together to brain storm and reinvent themselves. They get together at local coffee shops and such. I hope this guy might find that support as well as any others that might not know that this is available to them. How you go about finding these groups I don't know...does anyone out in bloggyhood know?

Bruce Coltin said...

For me, this post hits a little to close to home. One day you find yourself on the outside, looking in, and you can't fathom how in the world it happened.

Brian Miller said...

i can empathize with the guy...i felt much the same about a year ago...having worked part time for the better part of 3 years, unable to move, you feel very alone and can overlook the overtures of those closest to you...

California Girl said...

My husband has been unable to work in his field of marketing non-profits for 5 years due to health issues. He has, however, re-discovered his incredible gift for photography and is pursuing that. I am the breadwinner and he is definitely bothered, from time to time, by the fact he no longer brings home a paycheck. He does contribute by planning & doing some of the renovations to his mother's farmhouse, now our farm house. He keeps the 2 acres of grass mowed & he gardens and the house & grounds are beginning to look pretty darn nice.

Our current life is possible because I have a good job and can support us. Were I to lose my job it would be a different story. I am ever mindful of our good fortune at present.

Whitney Lee said...

I guess it's time for a shift in the 'man of the house/breadwinner' mentality. The universe has found a way to bring that message home in a way the last 20 years haven't.
In the long run (the short run too to be honest) the businesses are the ones losing. To hire youth over experience every time simply slows the entire process. My dad has fallen victim to this as well. I just don't get it. Is it because experience commands a higher paycheck? Does it really all boil down to money?

A Year on the Grill said...

Men in their 50's have it rougher than any others now... Too young to consider retirement, too old to be considered as important cogs in the future of a company. Too set in our ways to reinvent.

A wonderful sentiment, but Karena above has the right sentiment... learning to adapt to a whole new world is vital for continued health and mental attitude

Pat said...

Not only does age play a factor in finding a job, but also pay. Companies are more willing to pay the younger, less experienced worker a lower income, leaving the older, MORE experienced person in the dust. It is a sad situation.

T said...

It's sad to see this happen and then to see the domino effect. The economy is also bad for new graduates....

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Men over 50 have a stigma they grew up with ...... expecting to be the breadwinner. Remember when men would work for one compant their entire work career? My own husband once owned his own company and now works in a service station for minimum wage, leaving me with the responsibility of running our campground. Never thought we would be doing this at our age. I am thankful that we have a home and food on the table, though. We encounter homeless people from time to time. We try to help by offering a place to stay in return for work in the campground. We have met wonderful people in this manner ...... and we have also been taken advantage of. But I am thankful to be able to help when I can.

thewildpomegranate said...

Oh, this poor family.

You're so right. Men and women - regardless of age - view being jobless is very different ways. I'll never forget when my husband was unemployed about 8 years ago.

It's like he was deflated and it impacted him severely. Thankfull, he was out of work only about 6 months or so...maybe a year. I just remember that he was rehired just as his severance was going to run out.

As a woman "of a certain age", I know first hand that there is agism in the workplace. Many of us aren't even utilizing our entire work history on our resumes...just so that we appear "younger". LOL

claudia said...

When I am really, really tired from my work day, I kind of kid about losing my job being a good thing. Down inside I know better. I have been laid off twice. The first time it was a little hard to find a job, but the second time I was starting to panic a little before I found the job I have now. I know my age had soenmthing to do with it. I feel so bad for those having a hard time of it. I can only pray and hope that things will start getting better!

Rob-bear said...

Right on, Nancy!

I was out of work for about six years because of my health. I survived. I was on disability, so we had income, plus my wife's pension.

But I felt fairly useless. I wanted to do things. I tried a couple of times. Those plans didn't work out.

Now, I've had a chance to rethink a lot of things. I still have things I can do, and enjoy doing. I can make a positive contribution to my community in a variety of ways. It's not a job, but it is very satisfying.

But then, I'm a bit of a strange Bear, I admit.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

well put! i'm the breadwinner in our family but ron's disability pay and retirement pay helps a lot. i'm actually expecting to lose my job this year and i can't decide if they'd be doing me a favor or if it would really upset me. some days i could go either way with that.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

So many men define themselves by their jobs - including mine. I have such diverse interests, I can't imagine loading it all into one basket. Of course, that took a lot of work to discover.