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If You Are Over 50 and Get Fired, Do This Fast

Written by Gary North on June 12, 2012

There is a bias against older workers in the job market. This has come as a shock to older workerts who got laid off in 2008-9. They still have trouble finding work.

Why this comes as a shock is something of a mystery. Employers hire younger people because they can get them cheap.

An older worker is used to high pay and position. Then, one fine day, he gets fired. All of a sudden, he’s the equivalent of a kid again, but with none of the kid’s resiliency. The oldtsters pretend that they are not used goods — overpriced. They don’t adjust fast enough. They don’t cut their pay horizon. They don’t spend 8 hours a day in job searching. They don’t know how to use their contacts. They don’t have a fall-back position.

They thought they were invulnerable. They weren’t.

The New York Times reveals that a recent report issued by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found found that about a third of people ages 55 to 64 who lost their jobs from 2007 through 2008 had found full-time employment by early 2009. In contrast, about 40% of people asges 25 to 54 had.

Is that a great difference? No.

So, what’s the problem? Oldsters simply refuse to get out there and compete. They are shell-shocked. They just cannot believe that they just got fired.

A youngster knows that he is expendable. An oldster does not adjust fast enough. Then his skills get rusty. He gets less employable.

An oldster can cut his salary requests. He can use his years of experience as a sales tool. He can seek work as an independent contractor.

Instead, hundreds of thousands of them are going onto Social Secutity at age 62. They get low welfare payments. They could have worked for minimum wage at a fast food restaurant. Instead, they go on the dole.

At some wage, there is work. Oldsters refuse to cut their expectations. “This is beneath me,” they think.

Then the get rejected because they are overqualified. What does “overqualified” mean? It means thay will not fit in. It means they will feel discriminated against. It means they will be ready to go on the dole.

Better to hire a youngster who has no illusions.

If you get fired, waste no time. Let your contacts know immediately. Ask for help finding leads.

If you do not have a blog site, get one. Start posting articles. You should be doing this long before you get fired.

Continue Reading on www.nytimes.com

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40 thoughts on “If You Are Over 50 and Get Fired, Do This Fast

  1. In the old reality this may have been universally true.

    This is an exceedingly arrogant and out-of-touch generalization. Shame on you.

    This "emergency" has been perpetrated purposefully, and BOTH parties are corrupt and culpable. It's a new game, and millions of us are nowhere near where, in good faith, we worked very hard to be. Shame on you, NOT US.

    On one hand, yes, there is MOST definitely age discrimination, and yes, some folks fold early in resignation to victimization and manipulation. An employer can hire three or four younger, less expensive people to provide the services which I was exceedingly competent to provide. Strictly on the numbers upfront and quality considerations aside, if all but one of these new hires fail, the bloodless, ubiquitous, insufferable bean counters feel that it was a good investment.

    Notice – I didn't say that it was good management. Many – no, MOST – young people have unrealistic expectations and little in the way of marketable real-world skills, thanks to our insulated, arrogant but professionally inexperienced purveyors of higher education. Mere babies on the teat.

    On the other hand. if you still have kids at home, a mortgage, need for insurance, and heretofore marketable skills, it makes NO sense to throw in the towel and sling burgers for much less than your monthly nut. That will only delay the death spiral, unless this contrived economic "emergency" is reversed. Good luck with that. I'm 60-ish but I'm not lazy and I'm not a moron.

    Like it or not (I thank God for it), with the church mostly absent, the public safety net pays better (health and food), and takes less time away from seizing control over one's life to reconfigure one's career on better terms. I for one welcome the possibility (however remote,) that I can design and offer something of value as a self-employed producer, rather than a lowly, beaten-down service sector drone, inevitably stripped of my dignity and my assets.

    I'll also create jobs and wealth, and demonstrate to my suffering children the proper, temporary use of the "safety net", and the inherent resilience and utility of empowered, determined individuals in the free market system, however corrupt and dysfunctional the system might be.

  2. When I was forced out of my job in 2006–right after I became old enough for social security–I did fight it. I had the evidence, but unless one has the coins to pay for representation in court, you get nowhere. Age discrimination? It didn't just in 2008-2009; it has been around for years. If you do the research you would find that age discrimination begins when the person actually turns 55 (it becomes more difficult to find a position if you have lost your job or are trying to reenter the market). Can you call the little snots who turn you away? No–because that "equal opportunity" group doesn't have the best interests of the older worker in mind and the little snots have become rather clever in how they turn the older worker away. Do I want to work? Of course I do–I hate retirement. I would even work at home, but after being burned a couple of times, you become a bit 'gun-shy' of those work at home ads. If you have suggestions, email me.

  3. to gary i don,t know were you get you info,but older people go out ther and try to compete.because i was one of them,and i know a least a dozen other older american we go out every day and try to compete.so maybe thats true in fantasy land,but not were i live,and i have about 14 other older americans doing the same thing i,m doing.and the report by the new york times,about 1/3 of people 55-64 who lost there jobs,find jobs again.you and your facts are a lie,so go back and tell ovomit/devil his magic act doesn,t work,maybe in fantasy land were you and ovomit facts are.but not by me are my friends.so tell ovomit and the times.tell your story to someone who may believe it,we the people by me sure don,t.god bless ron paul,sheriff joe and cold case posse,chuck norris.and all american veterans/citizens.one nation under god

  4. You say to write a blog. Can you be more specific? About what? How do you go about doing that? Can you give some pointers on that? That would be helpful.

  5. Bill McCroskey says:

    I would add I have heard plenty of under the age of 35 say "I'm not working for that" and guess what ??? they are prophetic seers …they showed 'em by gawd….they aren't working for 'that' because they aren't working at ALL last I heard from them.

  6. Been thinkin'.

    I apologize to Mr. North for my indignant comments above. I disagree vehemently, but civility must reign. We're not enemies.

    And that's my point.

    We do not struggle with people, but with powers and principalities of darkness which we cannot see. Our battle should be seen through spiritual eyes. We must unify on universal core issues, spread abundant grace around (which we all receive in bucket loads every day), stop the personal blame, or fall.

    We've been distracted and divided against each other (the name "Satan" means, "Accuser.") The next time you observe an accusing, unloving bony finger pointed at a person rather than a behavior, discern the source, rebuke it, and RUN from the temptation to pile on. WWII would never have happened if Christians confronted by fascism had done so.

    Another thing: the terrorists have won when we fear, and cease to do the right, American, and loving thing. When we suspend rights, detach, dehumanize our countrymen, and band together in tribal and institutional lynch mobs against each other, terrorism has won.

    Know the Word. Satan, always legalistic, certainly does (Zechariah 3:1-7). Then listen to every check in your spirit, and always err on the side of loving rebuke of a behavior, with abundant grace. It's our only hope.

    Sorry, Mr. North. Raw nerves, in a very long valley.

  7. lilbear68 says:

    not me, aint workin and aint lookin lol
    all you others keep workin i needs my money. i got my ssi and thats all i need to live on

  8. Debbie G says:

    After reading the attached article, I find I am having a little difficulty mustering sympathy for Ms. Keany. While I agree there is discrimination against "oldsters," perhaps she should set her sights just a little bit lower. Okay, she had this incredible "multi-tasking" job making $64K a year, and now she doesn't qualify for ANYTHING? Even if she got a minimum-wage job (earning the allowable SS maximum of $14,640), her income would double. Perhaps she could have even stayed in her home instead of relocating.
    And you, Lazy OF, sound like you have an axe to grind. How dare you put down people who "sling burgers." Shame on YOU. It's comments like that, that make people think they are too high-and-mighty to work at a McDonald's. Work equals pay, regardless of what you are doing, and you should be proud of it. Mr. McCroskey's comment hit the nail on the head, and can be applied to oldsters too.

  9. Valkyrien says:

    My husband is 51 and would love to find a great job. He has been underemployed for the past year and has been trying to find another job for a while. He recently graduated with his Bachelor's Degree and is in his third Master's class. He would take anything that offered him a career opportunity and is not picky about the salary. He just wants a shot to show an employer what he can do, but he has found, as has my sister when she was out of work, that in many cases, the employers don't even bother to check the references on older workers. We even tried an experiment to see if someone was giving either of them a bad reference. We discovered that no one had bothered to check either of their references. I would imagine that other older Americans are being ignored in this way as well. Really disheartening when you work hard to better yourself and every door is slammed in your face in return.

  10. On a recent flight to Dallas from Mexico on American all the flight attendants were over 50, folks who knew how to give good service. Struck me as interesting considering the economic situation these days. I read that the trucking industry is looking for drivers because most drivers are over 50 and want to retire. Another option is to take retirement and work as a volunteer. I'm retired Army and am busier than ever working as a missionary in Mexico. Bottom line, don't be a statistic, be self reliant, trust in God, not in Uncle Sam.

  11. Isn't it funny? Back in the 70's I couldn't get a decent job as I didn't have enough experence(sp)Now can't get a good job because I am too old.

  12. .__Sorry! I had to split my comments in two to post it
    The point: I have been peddling backwards for the past twenty odd years and I am sure my situation is not unique. As employers cut their work force, pile ever more responsibility on their remaining workers and hire younger cheaper less experienced personnel I am once again faced with the prospect of selling myself short. It's a business transaction, I am selling my skills, I am trading days out of my life for money, should I devalue myself, settle for less?__ If you as an employer think you can get a better deal with a younger less experienced employee knock yourself out, but remember you are getting what you pay for. As for me I now have another option

  13. Dean Palmer says:

    I have no idea what Robert just said! People are way more "employable" when they can write and communicate well with proper use of the language.

  14. USA Born & Raised says:

    My husband too lost his job in 2010 and has yet to find another job…at ANY pay. He is picking up occasional self employed jobs. But a full or part time job? No chance. He was 52 then and is still unemployed. I lost my job in March of this year. I too am in my 50's, a college graduate and I can't even get an interview. We cashed in some of our retirement accounts, not that we had that much to begin with. Same month I lost my job, diagnosed with cancer and no insurance.

  15. Cliffystones says:

    I was wondering that as well. What, start a web site where I can narcissistic-ally blather on about my life? Like anyone who is going to hire me would give a rat's behind?

    Then notice at the bottom where it says "Continue reading on http://www.nytimes.com" New York Times. Liberals who would just as soon turn anyone over 50 into Soylent Green.

  16. Eventually the job market will be looking for oldsters, anyone, to fill jobs. Perhaps not for a while, but demographics are inevitable. The reason the "baby boom" is dated by demographers as ending in 1964 is because that's when our national birthrate went below the 2.1 babies per woman necessary for population replacement. The fact that we've been between 1.7 and 2.1 since then is only due to immigration. There won't be enough skilled workers to replace the retiring baby-boomers. Unless of course they import them from India and elsewhere.

  17. Erik Osbun says:


  18. now he is OVER QUALIFIED.

  19. wow soylent green Now my head is spinning with reality. Nice quote.

  20. I was laid off in 2005 when my employer moved the work offshore to India. The severance contract forbid any company contracting with that employer to hire any of us to do work for that company, until _6_months_ after the severance ran out.
    I finally found another job with a contracting house, doing similar work for another company. Sadly, it didn't last and that contract got pulled. After another year or so looking for almost anything and not finding it, I finally took early retirement.

    A side effect of that is that with me not working for most of 3 years before filing, my SS was not what I had expected it to be when I was doing my retirement planning several years before. Added to that is the problem that the employer can now reduce the full pension by the amount of your social security.

    The end result is that we have to work somewhere to afford to do anything, and nobody wants to hire us. I hate to think of how many times I heard "overqualified". It didn't matter what I said ablut the job, once they decided I was overqualified for it, that was the end of the discussion.

    The problem is that not only must older workers be willing to work, but emp;loyers must also be willing to _hire_ them.


  21. I have also noticed that some do hire older people because they are more reliable. I've also noticed that many of the younger people don't even show up for the first day of work or call off before he/she can get started.
    There are those who hire the older ones, one just has to find them.

  22. Incorrect. Social security is not an account you pay into while you're working, it's paid out of what's taken from current workers. The problems with social security come from the fact that as the baby boomers hit retirement, the number of workers supporting them is decreased. 30-40 years ago, the ratio of workers to retired was in the area of 17 to 1. 1 retired person on SSI supported by 17 workers. Now it's about 2.3 to 1, and possibly even less.

    The Social Security taxes I paid while working did not go into a account I was to draw from when I retired, but to people who were retired and drawing it already. If any other employer tried to fund a retirement account this way, they'd be convicted of running a ponzi scheme.


  23. Mitchina says:

    Hallelujah! Boy I am so glad you smack the crap out of this maroon. Thank you Lazy old fart victim.

    The entire time I am reading this article (with the bait and switch headline), I'm thinking to myself "How is the at all helpful or correct?" So the only "do this fast" part was make sure you feel like shit right away, oh… and start a blog site and post articles. Maybe I should do this while I still have my job and I will use THIS idiot's article with Lazy old fart victim's response. Yeah, I'll see where there goes… maybe put it on my Linkedin page to start with, and start this by DOING DO IT FAST!

  24. Ignernt lazy OF says:

    To paraphrase Larry the Cable Guy: 'at 'ere's f-u-n-n-y, ah don't keer whut country yer frum.

    Yessir, I dun got crap all OVER my onlyest pair of britches, but it sher wuz fun.

    Thankya. I thought I wuz spewin' and nobody got the dang point. I DO think we're alone, though, Mitchina. Purty dang quiet donchya think? Nary a word from Mr. North, neither. Bellywash.

    Hey, podner, let's us both blog and git rich FAST (and git us both put up on a fer-real SWAT list just fer shits 'n grins)!

  25. Same old fart says:

    You're damn right I have an axe to grind, Miss Priss. I'm pretty angry at the moment.

    How self-absorbed, hurtful and destructive you are!

    First: my comments went clean over your little head. Take remedial reading, dear. Or please quit voting.

    Second: as a youth, to PAY MY OWN WAY thru college (TWO currently useless degrees), I mowed yards, shoveled snow, slung burgers, drove trash trucks, was a dues-paying union member, tended bar, managed restaurants, sold cars, interned, etc.

    Got out and took what jobs I could get in the profession, gladly, with no demands or expectations. I paid some heavy dues to learn my craft, and brutalized my family to move every two or three years so I could get promoted. I EARNED my eventual high positions, excellent reputation and sought-after titles.

    As what you term an "oldster" (how dismissive, you pious creature), after spending 35 years as a manager and consultant/trainer in media, I consulted retail businesses, and invested my nest eggs in development of eight amazing patents-pending construction materials (now shelved until I generate my OWN underwriting). I concurrently owned and profitably operated three now-closed construction businesses in Florida (climbing 35-foot ladders with my guys in 90°+ heat and 90% humidity), drove old cars, raised five precious daughters, and stayed married and faithful to my disabled wife of 20 years.

    After the God-awful Bush/GOP establishment betrayal, preposterous sham of an election, and throughout the willful destruction of our once-blessed nation, I've worked diligently, for minimum wage as a part-time "scab" clerk in the County Clerk's offices (no benefits and eventually, mercifully laid off). I sold cars for three different dealers with big promises, who each had the same number of salespeople as they did pre-collapse with but 40% of the business they once had (in reality: for LESS than minimum wage). As I search for adequate full-time employment whilst developing a new business without capital, I volunteer for NO pay at several charities, and as fund raiser for my kids' band program (200+ events). All throughout, I've only gotten further and further behind on my debts and commitments, eventually shopping with my girls in thrift stores and thanking God for food stamps. Ever buy $1.00 worth of gasoline to get to work, Darlin'?

    Now gray, I'm "overqualified", and I can't even walk into a Circle K to apply face-to-face – everything's online and you N-E-V-E-R hear back. People like me AREN'T your problem, or THE problem, and I resent your "how dare you" narcissistic crap. Nobody that I know "on the beach" feels they are too high-and-mighty to work. Work these days is for many of us part-time, for much less than adequate pay. I think I just met someone, though, who's "high-and-mighty" (in her posts).

    Glad you can ignore reasoned logic and judge others so righteously from your lofty perch.

    Damn right I have an axe to grind. Out here in the unwashed masses, it's life and death and you're clueless. Go away.

    Better yet, this is a fruitless exercise. I'LL go away.

    Pray you don't go anywhere that I (and others like me,) have been. You wouldn't survive it, sweetheart.

    I'm onward and upward without your permission and in spite of y'all. Ugh. I'll pray for you.

    Now I feel all better. I needed to vent. Can't talk back to the TV, the politicians or the HR department. So I unloaded on lucky you and I'm outta here. Gotta get back to work building another business. Have a nice day.

    P.S. Mr. North: do you read or regard your readers' comments?

  26. Truck drivers are America's #1 patsies. Beside being exempt from every law that protects workers (includung minimum wage, overtime, workers compensation, etc.) they are subject to dozens of laws so inherently unconstitutional nobody who hears about it, but doesn't fall victim to the scam, believes it, let alone cares about it. The situation applies to a few other occupations as well, but those are itinerant workers, casual laborers, which highly-skilled truckers are anything but. How did this situation evolve? From the very beginning, lawmakers have always been for sale for bribes. Until the Watergate scandal, political payoffs were illegal, but commonplace. After Watergate, to reduce "crime," Congress and the state legislatures simply legalized the bribery, and the dumbed-down citizens today have all the finest public officials money can (and regularly does) buy!

  27. What is truly obscene about this inability to find work when your employer moves your job overseas is, through your taxes,, t you are paying, have been paying for him to do so. Get a search engine and plug in "Överseas Private Investment Act " and "Overseas Private Investment Corporation." At 50 years old, OPIC, a U.S. Government program, has been helping your boss move yoMeljob out of the country for half a century.

  28. valkyrien says:

    No kidding. You are darned if you do and darned if you don't.

  29. sean murry says:

    older workers do not miss work like the younger ones do.

  30. Did you know that if you reduce your salary in the last years of your working life, it also reduces you SS check when you retire?? You are better off taking early retirement. It really makes a big difference.

  31. There are lots of reasons to take early social security, number one, it will likely be reduced in the future, maybe the near future. It is 20% in the red now, so the government creates fiat dollars they put in your bank account but those dollars are worth less. Taking dollars today is better than future devalued dollars, their present value worth is much higher. Inflation is actually up near 8-10% if food and fuel and medicine were used by the government in the calculations, they don't use them so they can go on pretending everything is ok. Now as to older workers accepting reality and moving on, their are temp companies out there that you can work when you like and accept jobs that you like. Another fact that should be taking into account in drawing social security, if you are a high earner, making over the $110,000 for a number of years, at a certain point you will begin to see a drop in return on investment because there is a cap on social security benefits, I think it is around $2500 a month no matter what you have paid in, there is also a maximum couple's benefit.

  32. 1. Listen to TruNews with Rick Wiles.
    2. Listen to The PowerHour with Joyce Riley.
    3. Don't vote for ANY evil (greater or lesser).

  33. We voted for what we have right now. We continue to vote for representatives that destroy the sovereignty, economics and balance of this country. We allow the criminal and greedy to have control and then complain when they take what was yours. What did you think was going to happen when you elected them? Quit whining, quit just writing about it and do something before it is too late. There are more right wing organizations out there taking donations who do virtually nothing just feeding off the greed. I can't believe 1% people in this country of 300 million won't get together and fix this by marching on Washington and physically throwing out this corrupt political machine and resurrect a constitutionally based government. I've been trying for years to get people on board with that.


  34. mr. spock says:

    "At some wage there is work." Even my efforts to volunteer (work at zero wage) have come a cropper. "Naw, not interested." I also know of a school that needed an accountant. They turned down several experienced accountants who applied and gave the job to a parent whom they knew and liked. She didn't know anything about accounting. Another parent who did showed her what she needed to know.

    If we haven't done so already, we should find a church to join: a large, active church, its members hopefully well-connected. We sit in the pews for a year, every Sunday. We join one of the church committees. We go to Bible study. If and when asked, we help out at coffee hour. We are reserved but friendly .We'll soon know who belongs to the inner circle or clique and we don't approach them but wait for them to approach us (eventually one of them might). Naturally, people will inquire, "What do you do?" (for work). We say we do… whatever we do. (We don't say we're unemployed). Or we say we're an "independent consultant" and briefly say what we consult about ("management training.") Now we've got a tag. They know we're not bums and freeloaders.

    About a year into our church membership, we quietly let it be known that we're open to taking on work. It happens that John, who thinks we're okay, in that we sort of fit in and haven't alienated anyone, knows that Joe, a friend of his, needs somebody to work in his business or agency doing something or other. He tells Joe, "I know a guy," and he tells you to go see Joe. Joe passes on the offer but thinks of Jake who, at that very moment, needs somebody in his business or agency and, instead of having to go through the hassle of looking for somebody, Jake would prefer that the "right person," who is now you, turn up on his doorstep. Not to worry if you haven't done what Jake needs. He or his people will show you, train you, give you a shot. You could be seventy. Jake won't care. If the younger staff won't welcome you, not a problem. You're they're for the paycheck. If you're affable and accepting, they'll eventually warm to you. You may be let go without notice one day, that's now the way of the world, but meanwhile you've been working your contacts against that possibility. Are you being two-faced? A little bit. But you're not out to hurt anyone and you need a job.

    I've belonged to several church communities in my travels. The secret to success in those endeavors, I discovered, was never to talk religion or politics.

  35. About 20 years ago, I was a salaried employee with a consulting company, which was headquarted in Canada. My employment was with one of several branches in the United States. After several years of employment, the branch management made some poor business choices (some bordering on illegal) and the branch could not get sufficient work for all employees. Most of us were laid-off. One thing I did first off was use my skills by becoming a contract programmer and working through brokers of my particular skill. Thus I used my skills to remain employed. I later learned, in talking with on particular broker, that she had worked in HR some years back with the branch from which I had been laid-off. She related that one responsibility she had in HR was to disqualify United States citizens for openings with the branch in order to justify bringing in Canadians to fill the positions. The parent company even paid the legal fees to assist the Canadians in gaining employment with the branch. I am now 67 years-of-age and yes, I have experienced age descrimination as well, beginning when I was 40.

  36. brushmouth says:

    "It means they will feel discriminated against. It means they will be ready to go on the dole.
    Better to hire a youngster who has no illusions"

    I am one of those on the "dole" that was earned
    Unemployment straight to social security at 62.
    Consider myself one of the lucky ones
    Don't appreciate your position nor your reference


  37. Old Fart Also says:

    Dear lazy old fart, My sentiments EXACTLY. You hit the nail on the head. The NYT rag said we "go on the dole".
    That's bulls__t. I have worked 47 years to get where I am, and if I want to get my SS payments at 62, that's my business!
    I've paid into it since I started working at 15 years old. It's not an "entitlement". It's my money, and if I could have invested that money instead of the government taking it (taxation without representation at 15 to 21), it would have been woth millions.

  38. You forgot Clint Eastwood

  39. Please don't use the phrase " How dre you", I can't take anyone seriously who uses that phrase. It sounds like your in , "Gone With The Wind" .

  40. Supposed to be " how dare you'.