The documentary - "Aging Out" - by Huffington Post presents the soul-wrenching plight of Andrew Altenburg.
Beyond young adulthood but, at 53, too young for government entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare, he is mired in financial difficulties. That's because he has been unemployed for a long period, despite his persistent job-hunting.
Usually the search ends abruptly at the interview stage when the "mood shifts." Employers seem to rule him out because of his age.
That experience of the "mood shifts" is palpable in the conference rooms of much of America when an older applicant enters.
Altenburg is based in New York City and, although his partner has a good job, he has to bring in income to pay his fair share of the high cost living there.
No surprise, Altenburg fears homelessness. According to the Center for Elders Independence, about 50% of the homeless are over-50.
Since the market crashed for lawyers in 2009, I have been coaching seasoned professionals on how to continue to bring in income. That has included lecturing at the New York State Bar Association to unemployed Baby Boomers.
Here are 6 recommendations that can be used collectively or a la carte. Regarding the latter, sometimes simply re-locating from an age-biased region like the New York Metro area to one less embedded with age discrimination, such as southwestern Arizona, can flip the switch on joblessness. Often, professionals in New York City can age out by the mid-40s.
Change mindset from continuing a career path to building /increasing marketability.
Immediately that removes the concern about "hurting" a resume through jobs not related to a career. The secret sauce there is the old truism: Nothing gets you a job like a job.
A 58-year-old client's specialty in communications had collapsed.
His first step out of that nightmare was to land a contract job as a security guard in retail. Within months that became a full-time job with benefits. He was invited to join the marketing department of the loss prevention firm.
That's not where he saw his future. But it gave him the confidence to try out how he could enhance his overall marketability through experience in the hospitality industry. He worked the front desk.
The next stop was to get an entry-level job at a call center. Quickly he became a supervisor. Currently he is part of middle management.
Re-do all job search materials to prevent the perception of being overqualified aka "too expensive."
Hyper competition has forced organizations to be brutally cost efficient. They will not pay for more experience than they need.
The two years experience of the email expert in generating results is enough. They will toss the application of those with 10 years, assuming their expectation for compensation will be too high and/or they will bolt when a more lucrative opportunity comes up.
Take charge of the interview.
For example, the aging sense that the interviewer has ruled them out.
That interview can be saved.
What has been effective is to shift from presenting the general to parachuting into the specifics. After all, the aging job searcher has nothing to lose.
A 53-year-old employee in land development had been looking for a better fit for a job for two years. After coaching, he decided to experiment with being direct. He said, "Here is what I can do for you." On the first try, he received a job offer.
Experimentation applies to all aspects of a job search. Those range from where to apply to testing out different cover letters and resumes.
Don't take labor market personally.
There are solid career guides such as "What Color Is Your Parachute? 2018" which explain how the demand for manpower has changed radically since The Great Recession and keeps changing because of digital technology.
Millennials have encountered their own dark night of the soul in their search for a living wage. In Youngstown, Ohio, for example, many have come to consider $9-something an hour okay.
That can take the form of becoming certified in a skill, such as Google AdWords, which is in demand. Unlike studying for a degree, certification is usually fast and affordable.
Another way to be where the opportunity is, as referenced above, to re-locate where age bias isn't intense and there are more survival jobs in which to apply for and work at in order to start over.
No one knows what can come from that experience. Working in an inbound call center in Tucson, Arizona can produce the ah-ha moment to launch an enterprise scripting for call centers.
A third way is to play around with side hustles. One or more can be the foundation for a business. The dog walker can spot the marketability of a mobile grooming service and then figure out how to be trained and get the funding for the van.
A fourth is to search for and apply for telecommuting jobs that can be done from home. There are more of them. And many do not require an in-person interview.
The entire hiring process is online and on phone (not SKYPE or with iPhone face time).
The trick is to provide the "right answers" to the online interview questions.
To do that, applicants have to balance the policies of the company with the unique needs of each customer or client.
Those evaluating the answers want to see evidence that applicants understand the importance of the organization's policies along with extreme commitment to excellence in customer service.
In a sense, everyone who needs to earn income starts over again every morning. There is no guarantee that the work will be there. The hunt is analogous to what the cave man had to get the hang of in order to survive. In primitive times there was no welfare or unemployment.
For one client, a former middle manager in human resources, there was shame in being "seen" working as a clerk in Home Depot (an employer whose mission is to hire the aging).
The solution, we decided, was a behind the scenes start-over in a telecommuting sales job. The training for the service was done online. After 90 days there were benefits and bonuses.
If Andrew Altenburg is reading this, he can contact me (email@example.com) for 90 days of pro bono coaching. Since I am originally from the BigApple, I get how his mind and value system operate.
Meanwhile, here, free to click on and download, is my book on finding an exit ramp from whatever is keeping the aging stuck - and without work Download Over50OutsmartingYourComfortZone.
And here is a backgrounder on my coaching for over-50 services Download BACKGROUNDERJaneGenovaCoaching.
Contact Jane Genova firstname.lastname@example.org.