Job loss – even if you think you see it coming, you just can’t believe it when it actually does happen. It’s never easy to lose a job but when it happens at age 60 it can be many times harder to recover than in earlier years. In fact, it might be impossible to obtain another job at the same salary and benefit level.
At age 60 I found myself in exactly that position. After twelve years of employment, the owners of the company I worked for made the decision to close due to declining business. Even though I knew the business was struggling, I was stunned and overcome with fear and anxiety as they made the announcement that the company would close at the end of the week.
Job Loss, Age Does Matter
I was instrumental in the start up of this particular company. I was the first employee; I gave my heart, soul and many, many hours of hard work to help build the company from nothing into what was very quickly a very profitable company. What I didn’t know, I learned; what I knew, I shared.
I had finally reached a point in my life when I was able to start saving for retirement on a regular basis. I had a plan. I had a five year plan that would never be implemented. But it wasn’t just the loss of a comfortable position that was painful.
I knew I was no longer a viable candidate for employment at the level of salary and benefits I had achieved over the last twelve years. I did not do much job hunting while I was employed but I did keep an eye on the surrounding markets and the changes that were affecting the industry I worked in for the past twenty years.
Stupid Interview Questions:
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
Do you get along well with odd people?
Can you really do all those things on your resume?
Don’t you think you will be bored at this job?
A Resume For Every Job Description
I had my resume compiled in less than a day. At the end of three months of unemployment I had submitted more than five hundred resumes which resulted in three interviews and no job offers. My medical insurance was through COBRA coverage. It was the first time in almost twenty years I had to pay for my health insurance.
I lost the fire, the passion, the desire to embrace a new job, a new career or a new industry.
My emergency savings disappeared quickly. Only my three grandchildren received holiday gifts; we sent no greeting cards; we avoided all situations and gatherings that would cost money. I spent eight hours a day, every day looking at job sites, writing and re-writing my resume to match the job requirements. Most times there would be no response to my email or web site submission.
Real response to one of my online resume submissions:
Eventually, I dropped everything off my resume except for the last ten years – no difference. I stopped including a cover letter – no difference. I stressed my above average technology skills – no degree – no job. My past employer sent glowing recommendations – no difference.
Apparently I had achieved worthless job skills. I never applied for a job I was not qualified for or not capable of doing. Very early in the searching process, I removed my past salary from the resume and for those sites requiring previous salary I began to provide lower numbers.
A Few of My Job Skills:
- Computer Network Administration
- Database Management
- Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher
- Crystal Reports
- Web Site Creation and Management
- Corporate Blogging and Promotion
- Creation and Management of Marketing Materials
Since losing my job, I have sent out almost one thousand resumes – one thousand resumes tailored to the advertised job. I had a career in real estate technology and it dissolved like rice paper in water. My retirement plan went swirling down the drain with my career. I ask myself quite frequently what I should have done differently other than the obvious of saving more money earlier.
I was very good at my job and my job was good to me. I’m still sad, scared, and anxious. Other than a job that will allow me to get back on track with my imaginary retirement plan, I’d like to find something to ignite the fire in me again. I miss making the best use of my skills, my talents and my imagination.
I miss who I used to be.