For many of us in our 60s, the thought of retirement looming is both a blessing and dread.
They keep telling us baby boomers that we should keep working longer to secure a healthier retirement — but if we have left a full-time job for any reason and are attempting to find another, there seems to be a lot going on that some of us are only slowly admitting could be directly related to our age.
Speaking firsthand, I can tell you that this seems to be prevalent and daunting and I for one am at a loss as to how to ‘sell’ myself.
Oh, I have many good qualities, don’t get me wrong: I love a challenge, I’m professional, I work circles around workers half my age, and I have had a varied and exciting working career. On the bright side, I won’t be off on maternity leave, I seldom get sick, and I have a great deal of common sense that comes from life’s experiences, which those in their 20s and 30s are only starting to acquire.
After a 14-year career with BC Hydro, I left my planned life-long job when Accenture purchased the customer service part of Hydro, at the time we deregulated. I wasn’t prepared to transfer to Vancouver for a minimum of two years, only to find myself back in the throes of job turmoil and bumping rights once again — I had already experienced six years of Hydro downsizing at that point.
So I eventually left for the promise of a job in Alberta — worked in the wind turbine industry for three years, then the crane industry for three years, and then the Town of Pincher Creek.
Eventually I was coaxed back into the wind turbine business to work on two projects in Ontario — completed them, and then the promised job in Europe fell through, as often happens in this business, and I decided to return ‘home’ to the Island.
I was tired of living out of hotels; I had missed the Island, the ocean, the mountains, my family and friends. I had lived here for nearly 50 years, with few exceptions.
So here I am, after a year out of work, struggling to find meaningful employment, having exhausted all resources, finances, etc., and all I seem to get for my efforts are ‘well something has got to happen soon’ and ‘it can’t get any worse’ and ‘hang in there, something will turn up.’
Don’t get me wrong, I’m hanging in there. Sometimes when I’m interviewing for a job, I know I’m overqualified, but I’m willing to try anything.
Then there are the times employers ask for accounting/managerial experience, and everything in between, and offer close to minimum wage for the position. Educating the employers is a job in itself.
If I have everything the employer is looking for, have a great interview, but fail to get the job, I then have to look at my age — as a woman over 60, have I lost all possibility of being a productive and creative contributor to a businesses success?
I love people, I love working, and I’m not ready to retire! And I know I can’t be the only one out there experiencing this situation. Hire me and let me prove my worth.