Nice Work If You Can Get It

October 25th, 2011

Back in 2007, when I was last on the job market, day after day of turning over rocks yielded few good jobs. I wondered, ‘I’m damn good at what I do, so where are the jobs?’ One day I said to someone, “I think we’re in a recession and I don’t understand why no one is talking about it.” Next thing you know… financial meltdown.

So I’ve decided I’m an economic genius, and here’s my next prediction: Workplace ageism is growing so strong in our youth-obsessed culture that it will drive waves of financially unprepared Gen X- and Gen Y-ers into economic crisis, and we’ll have nowhere to turn but the American taxpayer. And we know there’s not a lot of fat on that lamb.

Uncle Sam tells me I can’t get social security when the Boomers did, but instead I need to work until I’m 67 or 70. On top of that, the pensions and retirement deals they got don’t exist anymore. Meanwhile, whether the high cost of living or living high on the hog is to blame, I don’t know anybody who has much retirement savings. We’re looking at a whole lot of folks who will NEED to stay in the workplace. But here’s the kicker: They’re not wanted. Like blacks and women before them, who wants to hire an old guy (or girl)?

I’m watching my 50-ish friends on the job market, and it isn’t pretty. These are talented, qualified people at the height of their powers. But too often an offer is not forthcoming, and I’m guessing the job goes to the 32-year-old.

I’m thinking we can just dispense with the search for a cure for cancer, because we’re going to need to find some way to rid the working world of all of us old folks.

Is there something you love to do that involves a skill you don’t currently use on the job? If you have the time and inclination try to start a side project that lets you show those talents or cultivate some new skills — it might be the beginning of a Plan B. And if you’re not saving for retirement, start now — or if you’re not saving enough, squeeze out a little more. There’s usually a way. Daily Worth has some good ideas for how to get started.



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