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The Pink Slip Slump



After multiple layoffs, David had job hunting down to a science. He treated it as his “new job,” spending hours researching companies. He used Act! to track his contacts, calls and letters, and LinkedIn to network. His perseverance paid off, and he’s currently a worldwide director with a large tech company. “If I could give any advice, it would be this: Don’t lose your self-esteem,” he says. “You’re good at what you do. It wasn’t your fault. You’re a good person. That was very difficult for me.”

Colleen Stevenson, a 62-year-old accountant from San Francisco, learned she was being let go while lying in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery. After getting over the initial shock, Stevenson spoke with an attorney to see if what her employer had done was legal—and discovered it was. “I can’t describe how far down I felt the day I learned I lost my job. I was hysterical,” she says. “I thought, ‘I don’t know where to go next.’ I felt totally helpless.”

She tried the usual job search techniques, going on Craigslist and other online job sites, but she felt the competition from younger candidates was too much to handle. “Experience works for you in your 40s and maybe early 50s, but I felt that at 60, that wasn’t going to work for me,” she says. “I tested it out but knew I would have to figure out another way.”

Colleen knew that she had survived stage-four ovarian cancer twice—she was going to get through this. She sat down with her husband to examine her finances and realized she didn’t have to rush right into the job market. Although still on disability from her illness, she realized she could officially retire when her benefits ran out. This afforded Colleen the time she’d always wanted to pursue hobbies and activities. “We just finished a six-week road trip,” she says. “I taught myself how to make jewelry. I’m learning things about myself I never would have learned before.”

Though the first 30 days after a job loss can be a time of emotional upheaval, it can also be a defining moment—leading to introspection, growth and better alignment with one’s top interests, skills and passions.

* name(s) have been changed.

Posted: 12/21/07
doberman1958

Thanks for this article....being 50 and unemployed for the first time in my life, I am so scared of not ever being considered for a posting, but here's hoping that the comment from the lady who was laid off at 60 about experience when you are in your early 50's will still make me an attractive option for my future employer.

waynej01

good advice i lost my job of 31 years im 51 i feel obsolete ilfeel my world is falling apart icant find a job i fear im going to lose all i have ifeel nothing im doing is doing any good i pray every day GOD give me a job nothing happens its hard to keep trying sometimes i dont feel im doing any thing right when it comes to finding a job this is affecting my whole life l cant see the light at the end of the tunnel

brinkleys

Even when you know it's no fault of your own (company bankruptcy) and you have excellent references it can still devastate your self-esteem. Especially when others are finding jobs and you are still unemployed and running out of money. That has been my biggest struggle, trying not to let my self-esteem plummet and become depressed when nothing is materializing.

KMCEEP

A little helpful, but what about the "average" joe, that is a janitor? He certaintly doesn't have the finances to start a publishing business or to even think of doing such. What about the little guy?

  • By KMCEEP
  • on 4/20/08 7:38 AM EST
jobjuggler

Very good advice! Lynn Joseph and Patti Wilson are pros. Here's a great employability tool for hs on up. It's online and self-paced: Link.