Subscriber’s Question about Ageism in Hiring

Judith Cushman Latest Topics, Transitions 0 Comments

running out of time ageism career transitions judith cushman associates seattle bellevueI’m about to turn 65 but still love working in corporate communications…How hard is it to find new positions at my age? I’ve been working for one company for ten-years but it is a tough time for our industry and there’s downsizing on the way.”

Answer:  The issue of ageism is real. There are many ways an organization can hire within a narrow range without being accused of discrimination. Realistically, companies are more inclined to contract with free-lance workers for the specific skill-sets they offer as they reach their late 50ties and 60ties. There are exceptions and one is hiring very senior consultants in Public Affairs work where relationships and contacts matter more than age.

Another direction offering some potential of full-time work is the non-profit route including educational institutions. Salaries tend to be much lower and it is not always an easy transition to the politics in these organizations. You would be entering an entirely different culture from what exists in a for-profit company.

If the downsizing you anticipated looks more and more probable, do not rush to job hunt or to leave the organization. There may be a variety of benefits you will be offered. Wait until the axe falls. At your age you are eligible for social security and whatever your employer contributes to the 401K along with a severance package. You may find there is enough financial security to look leisurely for one of several options that suits you best.

Take time to decide what the next move should be. Perhaps do volunteer work for an organization to “test the waters” about non-profit work. You may want to use your communications talents to support a charity you have served. If you are going to explore several directions, including taking a long vacation, give yourself permission to NOT make any decision until you have done your homework. Don’t rush the process and understand that if you are turned down for specific job opportunities, it is not personal. Be open, creative and flexible about new ideas to finding fulfilling work.

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