Whoa, wait a minute, it’s only been a few weeks and the excitement about my “New Life” is already taking a back seat in the reality mobile?
Yes, I realize that life changes fast and time waits for no one, but c’mon, I had no idea!
If you’re following my blog, you know that I have recently exited the world of “self-employment”, got my “sexy” on with a new do and embraced the role of “job seeker”. Unfortunately, the “job seeker” category is where fantasy and truth collide.
I assumed that securing a decent paying job might take a little time, but wouldn't be that difficult. (And yes, I am well aware of what happens when one assumes). After all, I had years of experience, advanced skills and the added bonus of being part of a large network of business professionals. To say I was blind sighted or naive would be a gross understatement. I could not have prepared for this journey and I would soon discover that I wasn't alone.
With my goals set, my plan in place and my ducks in a row, I was ready to begin my search…. or so I thought.
My search began with visiting websites of area businesses where I thought my skills and experience would be a good fit. That made sense….right? I soon discovered that many business websites were not kept up to date, did not have a career link or simply did not have any posted openings.
No problem, I am Mama Tatuley and I am resourceful if I am nothing else. It was time to move on to the infamous Job Boards. Job Boards simply ask What and Where? Easy peasy….right?
BAM! – Hello reality!
What I viewed shocked me! This was unbelievable! Companies, some of them big, multi-million dollar companies, advertising for positions that required expert level skills in the areas of computer programs, communication and management with an annual salary of….wait for it…..$22,000 to $25,000, depending on experience. What? Did I really read that correctly? Are you kidding me? I just closed a business because of a lack in revenue and I'm supposed to accept a job working for someone else and STILL be lacking revenue? This was more than unacceptable, it was….detestable! As I searched the list of "openings", I soon realized that this seemed to be the going pay rate in my area.
Presenting a salary as annual income of $22,000 to $25,000 doesn’t disguise the fact that it equates to only $10 to $12 an hour? I made more than that in 1981 and, from what I have read, I could flip burgers for more than that. Despite the fact that the cost of EVERYTHING is more than it was in 1981, perfecting those skills required training, education, time, practice and experience to reach EXPERT level! Give me a royal break.
I was about to learn a lot…….fast! Unbeknownst to me, I soon discovered that many of my friends and colleagues were also pounding the proverbial employment search pavement only to find the path riddled with disappointment, false hopes and defeat.
These women were from different walks of life. Some were highly educated holding Advanced Degrees, others held Bachelor Degrees, Associate Degrees, or a few College Courses, but ALL had years of experience and a wide range of skills. Despite their achievements, past accolades and impeccable employment history, each had received the same unwelcome reception from the business community......nothing! With each application submission, they waited and hoped for an interview that rarely materialized.
As I spoke with each of them, I could see the look of sheer despair in their eyes. Their drive, motivation and ambition had literally been sucked out of them. As I listened to their stories, I could identify only one common denominator….. they were all women over 50, and then it hit me; yikes, so am I! My mind was racing. I thought to myself, there has to be something else? This cannot be true, can it? This was unfathomable; no, no, no, I kept telling myself, this cannot be real, not in this day and age.
So, I did what I do best. I began to research the data and to my surprise, the results were staggering and frightening. I discovered article after article reflecting the dismal hiring statistics for women over 50. One article even offered up a suggestion that women over 50 should consider starting a business! Whaaaat?
Apparently, this has been a serious issue for a long time; so why am I just hearing about this? Why wasn’t this information a topic of discussion during the political debates Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton? Why wasn’t this covered in the news? What’s up with that Bill O’Reilly or Anderson Cooper?
Let me put it this way, whoever penned the saying “50 is the new 30” must not have been an age 50+ female seeking employment. (Side note: Before any male readers get your big boy pants in a bunch, rest assured that I’m not saying it’s easy for men over 50 to find “make a living wage” employment, I am saying that from my vantage point, it appears to be easier.)
So……now what? What do we do? Obviously, the powers that be could care less, so do we cower and hide and say “oh well”! Hell no! It’s time we, women over 50, stand our ground, recognize we have value and refuse to settle! We have a tendency to accept less because we are afraid not too; and sadly, companies allow us to do just that. We fear the unknown and worry that another offer may not come along, so we settle.
Today, the only way to make change is to make some noise, and I intend to make some noise! If you’re over 50, I ask you to join me. If you’re younger than 50, I also ask you to join me, because what we accomplish today will change your world tomorrow!
So why hire women over 50? There are many great reasons, and here are just a few:
Last but not least, I want to address online applications. While the concept is good, the program application (pardon the pun) could use some serious evaluation. Online applications were initially designed to save time for both the applicant and the employer. An online application should be used as a discernment tool to assess and match the experience and skills of an applicant with the qualifications and job functions of a specific position; not as a means to "weed out" a candidate. Unfortunately, somewhere along the line, some technology "genius" decided that the online application should contain a persons life history. Below, I have listed a few suggestions that may benefit both employer and employee.
Simplify Online Applications
Any online application that requires more than an hour to complete is absurd
Stop Asking for Professional References
No one in their right mind is going to list someone who would give them a bad reference
Lifetime Employment History
This is irrelevant information considering the number of businesses that no longer even exist. Five years employment history should provide you with adequate information to make a determination. Consider this fact: According to Forbes.com, “91% of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years.” Baby Boomers plan to stay until they retire, age 67 and up, which is a minimum of four times longer than our younger counterparts.
Schedule an Interview
The only way to determine whether someone will be a good fit within your organization is to talk to them. Keep in mind, that sometimes things can go wrong with online applications. Remember that an application can only reveal information, not personality.
Qualifications not Age
As a country, we are about to elect someone to the highest office in our country and both leading candidates are over 70 years old. Therefore, if we can trust a Baby Boomer with our economy and national security, I am sure that your company would be in good hands as well.
In conclusion, I guess one could surmise that it's on. I’ve entered this arena and I will keep you posted on this adventure. I’m hoping, I will have good news to share; not just for me, but for all of the Baby Boomers who find themselves competing in a world of Millenials and Gen Xers.