They don’t call her “The Old Gray Lady” for nothing

It’s ironic that The New York Times ran a page 1 story today with the headline “For the Unemployed Over 50, Fears of Never Working Again.” The story is about as old news as the newspaper itself.

The article states: Of the 14.9 million unemployed, more than 2.2 million are 55 or older; the unemployment rate in the group is at a record 7.3 percent. Duh, since there were 76 million babies born between 1946 and 1964, and more of us are working after 50 than in previous generations, it stands to reason that more of us will be unemployed in times like this.

Anyway, the writer explains that older people who are out of work are afraid they won’t find work ever again. Wow, another revelation. But what about all the young people who can’t find work in the first place and are living off their old folk’s savings?  Now that’s a story.

Companies have been firing/laying off older people since the dawn of history.  At one end of the scale, highly paid, older executives are often given “buyouts” so companies can hire cheaper labor and save lots of money. At the other end, older folks with lower incomes are being fired in unprecedented numbers because companies are firing people in unprecedented numbers—and far more employees are older (I said that already, but it bears repeating.)

I left my secure editor and publisher job 12 years ago to start my own business (at 51), after 17 years at the same company. I wanted to be the only one to determine my future. A weak executive who was a few years younger than I was calling too many shots. Ironically, he was recently fired from the company, after spending his entire career there and calling one too many bad shots.

FOF women are starting their own businesses like never before. We are reinventing ourselves in exciting ways, whether we’ve lost our jobs or lost trust in our companies. No surprise there either.  Look who we are.

One Response to “They don’t call her “The Old Gray Lady” for nothing”

  1. Toby Wollin says:

    I’ve said it before and I’ll keep right on saying it: When no one will ‘give’ you a job (and they never really ‘give’ you a job), you’ve got to create one for yourself. What people who are older are really afraid of is not that they’ll never work again – it’s that no one will ever be willing to give them a decent paycheck ever again. Now, they aren’t alone – but the problem now is that companies, as you say, just…are…not…hiring (which makes today’s announcement from the National Bureau of Economic Research that the recession ended in June of 2009 a case of supreme irony). There are jobs which will never see the light of day ever again, which means that more and more, the only way a person will be able to have an income, hold their heads up, and move forward, is to create a business.

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