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Unemployed, Over 50: What Would You Do?

Written by Gary North on July 27, 2012

These people thought this could not happen to them. It did.

One man was VP of a firm. He has not worked for three years. He has $10,000 left. He faces bankruptcy.

Step one: build your network now. Make contacts.

Step two: make yourself too valuable to fire. Go here: www.fireproofjob.com.

Step three: get your job search resume up to date.

Step four: Get online with a blog that demonstrates your competence. Use www.WordPress.com. It’s free.

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40 thoughts on “Unemployed, Over 50: What Would You Do?

  1. This four step, five line 'article' is lame. On top of which, right alongside in big, blue URL are ads – one of which is for Luxury Cars. How many people almost bankrupt need that?
    Over my 40 year career, I have been laid off 4 times as a Financial Manager in an industry in decline – thanks Democrats. Production type jobs are safe because of an undersupply of qualified, technical and certified workers. So – HR, IT and Finance get more than their fair share. My point, 'networking'. 'update your resume' 'go online and blog' are sophomoric and ridiculous in a market where there is double digit unemployment and some professions and industries are flat out not hiring. And "making yourself fire-proof' is equally ridiculous. This advice might make sense to someone who was not a VP and out of work for 3 years. I am new to this 'site' but I hope you offer more depth in other articles.

  2. Do you think anyone in the higher-ups cares whether someone is indispensable? I've known persons who went over and above and when the company was "re-organized", it didn't matter even if the direct boss of that person tried to keep the person. The only ones dispensable are the ones in higher command who think they are "indispensable". So, I am in agreement with you.

  3. Nonnie_Ladybug says:

    I am 58 and have been unable to secure employment since the fall of 2009! I have 22 years office admin support experience and my online applications often get the brush off, saying I'm not "qualified?" I understand that there are so many out of work, but when they say they want "experienced," it seems they are not being truthful. I have continued to work only in seasonal and temporary assignments, to keep my skills current. What else can I do?

  4. therigel says:

    I went through the same thing as this man. My previous career was becoming obsolete, so I started a new career and I have achieved success at doing so. I am a valuable worker and I should not have to begin a third career. So I know exactly how this man feels

  5. JDon357 should think about putting the time and effort into his own site. Did he pay for the info he rec'd from The Tea Party Economist? He can get info about starting his own site on Garynorth.com.
    Is the '357' number in reference to handgun caliber? Here's a site that offers a comparison to calibers that he might choose to 'conceal-carry'. http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/node/7866

  6. jack dash says:

    My advice is buy peanuts, sit on side of busy street and sell them

  7. Texas Chris says:

    I've been laid off 7 times in the last 10 years. I admit I work in a high-turnover industry, petrochemical design, and it is very cyclical.

    But I have always found work. I've never been unemployed for an extended period. On my own I have used steps 1, 2, &3. I am considering 4, but… I'm not quite ready yet.

  8. I was laid off a great job in October 08. (Sound familiar?) I stayed on unemployment for 5 mos., then took a job at $10.00/hr. Plus commission, and later another one. Finally I got a secure (if loathesome) job as an office manager making less than my unemployment income after 3 1/2 years! I’ve been advised by hiring managers to lie about my are as I look very young, but that’s just nit in my nature… I raised 2 marines, and can’t see doing something like that. All I can say is, vote the bastards OUT!!!

  9. Texas Chris says:

    If you're not in Texas, then move here.

  10. Texas Chris says:

    Why shouldn't you "have to start a thrid career"? If the industry you've chosen declines or becomes obsolete, then change. Find a new job/career.

    That's Dr. North's point. Don't get stuck in the "I'm too old to do new things" mantra.

  11. 1/2 of 2. I don't understand how these people that have been VP's or better in the financial world, making much more money than I ever made, and worked longer in there respective fields, are not financially independent. I am 58 years old now, retired at age 50 as a Systems Administrator at one of the main hospitals in Colorado Springs, CO. I only worked there for 17 years, and in my best year I made $42K. The number one rule while working is to PAY YOURSELF FIRST. I did that by investing in stocks first, then mutual funds because my stock portfolio got too big to manage, and live beneath my means to this day. I still have a 19 year old in college and one 22 year old who graduated in 2011. They will both graduate debt free. The wife and I paid and are paying for their tuition out of our cash flow.

  12. 2/2 of 2. Since we are debt free and both of our homes are paid for, we are having no problem paying for college. My 19 year old will have no scholarship money for the upcoming school year. I do not feel sorry for people who have made very large salaries over many years, and have very little to show for their time and trouble. I sacrificed for many years so I would have a financially secure future. The reason these people are now in dire straights is not because I am smarter than they are, it is because they did not follow through or implement the knowledge that is all over the financial media. Please contact Dave Ramsey, or read his book to get a clue of what you will need to do to turn your ship around.

  13. Rob Porter says:

    I couldn't agree more. I was an airline captain for 21 years when a "merger" ocurred with another company. All of the pilots were laid off and our routes flown by their pilots. Finding a new job at 57 years old in the same position with out starting over at the bottom of the pay scale is impossible because of seniority lists. It's a complex problem in a complex economy made worse if you're over 50 and can't be remedied with a 4 step process, Networking is a joke because the people doing the hiring are over 50 and don't want the competition.

  14. Kitty Litter says:

    ~Become an entrepreneur, prep your home with food, water, generator, lead…and whatever else you will need in a collapse….Also, get some precious metals…even pre-1964 dimes… Keep creating community as a safety net… I am not a prepper…just a savvy lady…working part time as nanny, tutor ($20 per hour)…not in the school system (MA and credentials, plus 24 years in teaching..but fed up with programming these kids to be wage slaves for the banks)… If possible, Get yourself out of this system…it's not working…

  15. Uncle Bob says:

    The thing to remember, and no one ells you, NO job is below you. After that one must learn to play the game." It is a really experience learning how to get welfare, food stamps, etc. Be sure your "network" includes people experienced with them all. While working for a large tax preparer firm, I figured out that the average couple brings in about $87,000 equivalent, from government hand-outs. This includes earned income credit (passport to all sorts of freebees), welfare, food stamps, free food, medical, dental, etc. But you have to "work" about 20-24 hours a week to get this.

    One does NOT wear a suit and tie to work this system. AND you have to be "taught" how it all is at one's disposal.

    AND don't forget contract shops – a great sort of employment. BUT look at the work as "'position' is like being on commission." And you DO NOT have managerial control (just follow what is expected of you – no more, no less). AND the thing to remember, at any time the company can release (fire) you and at any time you can "fire" them. Did it for about 25 years and loved every minute of it. The hardest part is to explain to the "shop" how you plan to do what everyone else wants you to do, without YOU being the boss. There are two types of contracts – a "Road shopper" (usually 6 month contact, as they all are) then your off to another place. And a "Subway shopper" where you will get a 6 month contract but renewed every 6 months when you do what they want, or else your off to another place. Most of my jobs lasted 5+ years and I slept in my own bed every night.

    Its another world out there. Don't hide you light under a bushel. It does NOT pay. You may have to sacrifice some things on your wish list but don't worry. Show everyone you can change.

  16. Nonnie_Ladybug says:

    I'm in Utah, which has lower unemployment than Colorado, where I used to live!

  17. wiltedLilly says:

    Uncle Bob, maybe you should write a book on how to "USE THE SYSTEM". You must have tons of suggestions. Make iy available online and you don't have to get a publisher or a hard copy. Make it available cheaply enough for people to afford and you may be surprised at how many people will be willing to dish out $9.95 for it.

  18. Evermyrtle says:

    If you wipe out a chance at some help you have defeated your self. GOD has sent help to HIS people in much more obscure ways that this. I can guarantee that if you do nothing, it will not work but if it works for one person, it is not wasted.

  19. Evermyrtle says:

    GOD must be looking out for you. I know people who have answered every ad for employment, went every week to the unemployment for a three years and no job. There are about 20 people needing work for every job that comes available. I often hire one of these to work in my yard., but it not anything near full time.

  20. Evermyrtle says:

    Texas Chris, have you had to "start a third career?" I have not, not do I want to, I would if I had to but that is not one of my dreams.

  21. Evermyrtle says:

    You are experiencing what thousands are facing. You have my sympathy and prayers.

  22. Jdon357: Do you have some suggestions?

  23. I am a college graduate and passed the CPA exam and have held several executive positions. However, I was never unemployed for very long because I found there was always work to be done if you were willing to do it. If I didn't get hired I started a company my self. Four in all; and three were successful. The consulting business didn't work out. But the Janitor business earned more than any of my executive jobs. The Auto Parts retailing earned a good living. The best business was automobile repair where I had eight mechanics working full time. That one lasted 15 years and made more than all my other businesses and executive positions. I don't have much sympathy for those who sit around waiting for someone to pay them the wage and benefits they think they deserve for going to college. Anyone can clean a toilet and empty waste baskets and you can get all the work you want just by going from one business to another and asking. Won't be long until you hire a helper, then another, and another. Your job becomes training them and making sure they do a great job.

  24. Learn to wash windows. You can probably earn more on a Saturday washing windows for your neighbors than you do most days at your regular job. After you learn the shortcuts I bet you will quit your job, hire an employee to do 1/2 the work and go into it full time. Tip: pay your first employee cash or you will be spending too much of your time filling out government paperwork. If that hurts your sensitive conscience, get your help from a temporary agency and let them do the government work.

  25. JDon357, are you kidding. I worked most of my life in manufacturing. Production type jobs are DEFINITELY NOT safe. I have closed more plants than I care to number. No one is safe unless you work for the Federal Government.

  26. kalamawashinton says:

    I find this interesting. As someone else noted, "no job is below you". If you are unemployed, that means that you have to figure out how to get money coming into the house ANY money. There are jobs out there if you are willing into be something else besides a VP. In my own case, I have a double major/double minor from a major private university. I just retired two years ago. We are now comfortable in retirement. For that last five years of my working life I averaged just over $97,000, earning $106,000 my last year. What did I do? I drove a truck. Yes, I was an "over the road" or "long haul" trucker for a major snack food company. I was there for 31 years, and the last 20 years I was home every night. So, while my income was not that of a VP, it wasn't too bad, and I took it (and liked it), and it kept the "wolves" away from the door. "No job should be 'beneath' anyone".

  27. Do not vote for Romney or you'll be looking for work in some foreign country. Either that or you can stand and protest with the Tea Partiers.

  28. toosmarttovotegop says:

    "Lame" would have been a MAJOR improvement.

  29. toosmarttovotegop says:

    The headline reads, "Unemployed, Over 50: What Would You Do?" then offers suggestions on what to do to help keep your job, so the headline is more than a little misleading thus rendering an already lame article utterly worthless in the context of the headline.Thanks a pile, guys.

  30. LibertyLouis says:

    JDon357: You have to excuse Gary North who wrote this article. . He writes like he is very young and unexperienced. He should hang it up in his field. I like RON PAUL, (Gary North works for him) but Gary is an embarassement to Paul.

  31. LibertyLouis says:

    I'm an attractive 56 year old woman (so I'm told – and used to model part time) that had 2 careers, the first 22 years of office admin support and the 2nd in the Oil and Gas Industry for 12 years, making 6 digets but that one died when Obama won as president because he Killed 75% of the Oil and Gas Industry with 'Regulations' and EPA ATTACKS constantly.
    Been unemployed for 1 year and 4 months and see LESS Jobs since March in Louisiana then ever in my LIFE to apply for. Getting Ready to go to School (my 3rd Career) in the Medical field for a 5 week course and a 5 month course so I can make a Start pay of $13. per hour (maybe $14 or $15 per hour IF I'm lucky). I'm going backwards but it's the only fields I see hiring here in the Area. Disgusted…..

  32. LibertyLouis says:

    I can't stand Romney BUT if you Don't Vote for him, YOU ARE VOTING FOR OBAMA!
    I would Really like to Vote for Ron Paul but I can't for I know if I do, I'm ACTUALLY VOTING for OBAMA to WIN!

  33. Tanstaafl72555 says:

    I have had seven “careers.” Not jobs, CAREERS. I am 57 years old and am seriously considering selling my company and doing something else entirely. I have been: a pastor, a real estate salesman and developer, a contractor, a plant chemist, and environmental engineer, a market maker for futures and options on the floor of an exchange, and the owner of an insurance agency. At some I have done well, at others I have failed. I will say that the willingness to make something happen yourself and risk failure is THE one biggest factor that will insure a person is not a whiney victim. I am considering relocating to Myanmar and starting an business. I plan to invest less than $25,000 initially. I am 57 and do not speak the language, and yes, my grandchildren live here.

    There are certainly factors which intrude in our lives which make it very difficult to overcome. Sometimes they come in packs, one after another, and we feel like we are just beaten down by them. For a person who believes that all the bling and trappings are just show and frippery, and who believes that God honors all work done honestly and well, and this life is like a vapor, these setbacks have some of their sting removed.

    I wish you and everyone here true happiness and success by your own standards. “Screw their standards” is the first step in getting there, imo.

  34. I was laid off at age 57 from my job with United Technologies Hamilton Sundstrand Division. My job was shipped overseas. I survived without Government assistance or food stamps. Its a long story, but suffice to say that it can be done.

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