Hi all! This is a post that is pretty difficult to write. And when I say difficult, I don’t mean it in a painful way. I mean it more of a “where-do-I-begin” post. I think I’ll start at the beginning and lead up to my new job. (Which I’m very happy to say, I am enjoying to the fullest!)
I also have to do this in two parts because I’ll be rambling on and don’t want to bore anyone!
Since January of 2015, (when I started this blog), I’ve been through Hell and back with the processes of being judged, being hounded with questions of which most were complete bullshit, being asked personal questions, literally being ignored, being patronized and being spoken to as though I were a complete moron. Yes. I’m an old person and I’ve been looking for a job!!And yet, I’ve managed to not give up. And I’ve managed to keep a sense of humor through it all.
A word to the older and wiser. When you see a job posting like this. It doesn’t mean they are looking for a Senior Citizen! They may seek a “Senior” AA, but they want someone straight outta college!
Oh. And all those articles that you read about in seeking employment as an older person— don’t read them. Not one of them gets to the true heart of the issue. AGEISM. The articles should be titled “Hey Man, You’re Too F*ckin’ Old!” And “Nobody Wants You, You Ragged, Shriveled, Old Person, You!!”
Sorry, I’m being snarky. I need to stop. I’ll just tell you about some of my job seeking experience during the past two years. I’ll also give you some incredibly unwanted advice…..
Since we are in a world of Cyberspace, the best places these days to look for a job are online. Many people swear by Linkedin. But those people are the under 35’ers. I’ve had lots of luck with Indeed, Monster and CareerBuilder.com. But it doesn’t stop there.
I think Monster has the right name. It can be a monstrous chore to apply online for a job….
In many instances when searching those sites you will also be redirected to corporate sites in which to apply. This takes time and patience. I also think you are better off if you decide to have a glass or three of wine while completing these online applications because no two online applications are alike.
Applying online for a career position? Better get the wine out! You will need it!
And even though you may “attach” a resume, you will still have to manually enter that same information while completing the online process. My guess is that most people give up due to frustration and “WTF-ness” and those few who actually complete the process stand a chance of being contacted.
And, may I ask, just WHY do these online applications want to know where I went to grammar school? So they want these nuns as personal references?
And even when you think you have successfully completed that annoying online application and you hit the “submit” button. You didn’t have success. A red warning will pop up at any random section instructing you to “correct” the error that you cannot seem to find. And when you correct that section and go to hit “submit” again, the same red warning pops up in another random section. When you figure it all out, you get a message that you’ve been “timed out” and need to start again.
Unless you are a rocket scientist, you WILL be confronted with many red warning signs!
Perhaps now is the time to move on to drinking shots rather than wine.
Now it’s time to bring the strong stuff out. And trust me, you’ll need this more than you will need the wine!
And trust me; this convoluted online process has nothing to do with age. I’ll bet that millennials can’t figure this stuff out either!
So you’ve finally figured out the 1,001 different ways to apply online for a job. Congratulations. Sit back and wait. And wait. And wait. Actually, don’t wait. Get out of the house. Find something to do or else you will go crazy waiting. Times are different now. People do not have the common courtesy to get back to you in a timely manner. And speaking of manners, you will find out just how lacking in manners HR people are. I’ll get to that in Part Two.
Seriously. Get outta the house. Go someplace instead of waiting around. Go to France!
Within a few days, or weeks, your phone will begin to ring. Your email’s inbox will make you feel like you are the most important and popular person on earth. You’ll get all sorts of phone calls and emails about jobs.
…from recruiters. Yes. Many recruiters need to make their commission. Kind of like “Retail Hell” only it’s “Resume Hell”. You will be inundated with calls that have absolutely nothing to do with the job you applied for. You’ll receive a ton of e-mails explaining about a great “opportunity”.
Beware the word “OPPORTUNITY”. If you receive a call telling you that a company or recruiter saw your resume and wants to speak to you about a great OPPORTUNITY, hang up! Receive an OPPORTUNITY email? Delete it!!! They are all come-ons!
The greatest advice Bonaparte ever gave me was to NEVER answer the phone. Let them leave a message then call back.
I’ll add a caveat here. You’ll also be contacted by agencies. Avoid them. The staffing is incredibly young and just cannot connect with a more mature person. I’m not kidding. They are clueless. And I’m not being nasty either. Some of the people I’ve worked with at agencies were really sweet and kind but they just have no idea how to deal with older people who are seeking employment. Especially those of us who have lost jobs due to corporate closures. More on that later.
Recruiters are very young. You, as an older person seeking employment do not want to get the young recruiters upset. They will become very angry and not find jobs for you. You are too old for them to understand.
So it has been a few weeks and you’re becoming a bit daunted, but you are still at that stage where hope overrides any negativity. After all, you mastered the online applications and you’ve had great career positions. You are older and dammit, you’ve been a GREAT employee. It isn’t fair…. I know this. And I hug you. Big hug.
And the phone rings and this time it is either the HR department, the TALENT department (which I find to be incredibly entertaining because what the hell is the talent of knowing how to type on a keyboard. Are we doing this while belting out a song or dancing on top of a desk?) of one of the corporations you applied to or it is a recruiter who works specifically for that corporation. They explain that your resume caught their eye and want to ask a few questions.
I’m guessing that the “TALENT” department of corporations is seeing more of this than how to use a keyboard and computer.
The questions are ridiculous. They will ask if you are currently working. They ask this after calling your home phone number in which you entered your home phone number on the application. If you are tempted, even slightly, to answer “If you called my home number, and I just called you back on that same home number do you think I’m working?”, the phone call will go no further. Just explain why you are home. Better to be honest. Sometimes.
I know, I KNOW you want to answer some of the dumber questions in this manner. Do not. On the other hand………………
They will also start to explain a bit about the company. While they ramble on, you will think “When did I apply for this job anyway?” And while she/he is still rambling on, you run to your computer and start to check files and still come up empty handed.
A pile of just SOME of the applications I’ve filled. And YES, I HAVE combed through this pile while a recruiter was on the phone rambling on and on and on….
By the time you run back to the phone, she’s asking what salary you are looking for. The answer will either have the call ending or you will make it through to the next process. If you are asking for too high a salary, or if you are asking the salary you used to make, the call will end. Period.
You need to take a bit of a spin. Answer the question with another question. Ask “What is the salary range you are looking for”. They will be so shocked at this challenging question that they will tell you. Now the ball is in your court. If you aren’t at the point of desperation yet, you can turn that lowball salary down. Or you can say that it isn’t what you expected, but you are willing to negotiate.
Hey. I speak the truth. This is usually where it ends…..But…sometimes it doesn’t and you will be asked to come in for a face-to-face interview.
This is where the fun and entertainment begins.
Remember, you cannot take these interviews too seriously because 99.9 percent of the positions you, as a person of advanced age, are seeking will be gifted to someone younger. Someone with better fake hair and a majestic fake tan, and—quite possibly, a killer set of fake boobs. You will NOT be hired. Don’t take it personally though. The train of thought on old people is:
- They will get really, really sick and die sooner than later.
- They will get dementia and forget they have a job to report to every morning
- They will burp and fart because they have no control over their bodies
- Old people aren’t willing to learn
- They don’t use Snapchat or other forms of Social Media
- They have no idea what Tinder is
- They have outdated cell phones
- Old people are a general pain-in-the-ass
- Old people dress yucky
- Old people smell like mothballs
- Old people will try to tell us how to do the job easier
- Old people are ugly
- They will tell us how great their grandchildren are
- They drive so damned slow and will be late for work every day
For the record, we old people DO NOT smell like mothballs….
And we are well-versed in Social Media. See that icon on the far left? It’s the NEW Instagram, I mean, IG Logo!
What they fail to realize is that old people
- Have a great work ethic
- Stay focused on their tasks for more than it takes for a younger person to Snap Chat
- Won’t call out sick on a Monday morning due to a weekend bender of drinking and partying
- Won’t call out to work because one of their kids is sick and they can’t get a sitter
- Won’t call out because their kids have a day off from work and they can’t get a sitter
- Are empty-nesters and work will give them a purpose.
- Want to work because it makes them feel good.
- Can be a tremendous help with their wisdom
- Can have a great sense of humor
- Some old people drive faster than a drag racer
- They actually know how to answer a phone in a professional manner
- They can hold a decent conversation for more than ten minutes
- They can refer to important clients by their title of Mr. or Ms.—not, dude.
So you are now ready to prepare. You go back on the internet and study everything about the company you will be interviewing. Dates. People. Places. Every little nuance is in your brain. You are feeling mighty empowered.
You are so knowledgeable about the company that you can date staff back to the 1700’s!
You’ve made up a list of questions to ask. The questions are well thought out, insightful and intelligent. Like “What can I do in this position that would make me the best employee you’ve ever hired?” Simple but good food for thought. Inquisitive but not obnoxious.
You’ve made sure your hair is looking good. Ladies, I find a classic pulled back style works best. You don’t need to keep having your hair fall in your face. Unfortunately, straight hair fares better than curly hair for an interview. I know—it sucks, but as a curly-haired princess I learned my lesson when I was younger. One day ain’t gonna hurt.
Better to wear your hair pulled back..but leave the Walmart hoops at home!
I’m not even going to broach the subject of gray hair. I’m not going there. OK? While I realize it should not be about looks. IT IS. We are in a youth-based society. And as much as we shouldn’t have to try to appear younger, sometimes you just have to put a little effort into presentation.
You also want to be comfortable when you are interviewing. I have seasonal ensembles for interviews. Sorry, but I’m not going to go into an interview only to sweat like a whore in church. I need to be cool—and I mean that temperature-wise.
During cool and cold weather interviews, my go-to ensembles are a blazer, crisp white blouse or a thin pullover sweater. I’ll also either wear a pencil skirt or pants. I’ll wear kitten-heeled pumps. I take my Walmart Hoops off and replace with my little pearl drops and sometimes I’ll wear a faux pearl necklace. That’s it.
I’ll wear a white shirt with this interview ensemble. I also make sure the pants fit perfectly. It’s my cool weather look!
During warm and hot weather interviews, my go to ensembles are a black dress with white piping or I’ll wear a simple navy sheath dress with a scarf. I call the second look my “Air France Flight Attendant” look.
One of my warm-weather interview looks. I actually wore this to the job interview of my present job. This dress is a few years old. I got it at J. Crew on sale!
I call this my “Air France Flight Attendant” look. I love this because the dress cost me seven bucks at Marshall’s and I wear it with an Herme’s scarf. Talk about high end-low end!!
An interview is also NOT the time to wear SPANX or any other body shaping underwear. You do NOT want to be seated during an interview and suddenly the top of the SPANX rides down past your navel, only to expose your middle-aged spread. Trust me, that spread will explode and eyes will pop out. I know this. It happened to me. I did NOT get the job!
During summer I refuse to wear panty hose. Sorry Charlie. Sweat + Panty hose+ lady parts = yeast infection. Please laydees, stick to cotton underwear in the summer. Your lady parts will thank you.
Now you are dressed and ready to impress.
You enter through the corporate doors. You look around and see beautiful furnishings. The lighting is perfect. The air is crisp and cool. Everything is clean and sparkly. The receptionist, who has been schooled in not having any phase of facial expression, blandly announces your arrival.
And now. The Interview process shall convene….
Stay Tuned for Part Two…
Love that lipstick color. Would you mind sharing the kind, name?
Hi Nelson. I usually wear more than one color but I was wearing iT cosmetics Vitality Lip Flush AND Gloss in “Je Ne Sais Quoi” It’s a nice true pink on me but I think it may be a slightly different color depending on the natural pigmentation of your lips. XOXOXOXO!!!
Thanks! It looks like the PERFECT pink for me. (Blue eyed blonde)
Check it out. I got them at Ulta. One of my girlfriends told me about the Vitality Lip Flush and I’ll be forever grateful to her. I love this so much!!! XOXOXO!!
Must be great stuff because Ulta is sold out online. However my local store seems to have it so I guess I know where I’m headed in the morning. 😜
I can’t wait to read Part Two! I’m 62 and love my job…I’d be terrified if I had to search for something else. I thoroughly enjoy your writing–both the happy and sad parts. Keep it up!
Hi Donna. I’ll tell you, it took me almost two years and I’m finally in an office environment that I’m incredibly comfortable in. I hope you never have to go through what so many older job seekers go through and I mean that! I’m glad you enjoy my writing–I hope to keep you in that enjoyable circle!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Ha, ha! This is hilarious yet true. Phew! What a hurdle to jump.
Hi Jacqueline! It is hilarious..and the greatest thing is that sometimes you can find a lot of humor in situations that just are so awful that you have to laugh!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Spot on Post, Catherine. Everything You Say is True. Love Your Choice of Interview Outfits. Just Beautiful…Smart and Sassy. Perfect. Can’t Wait to Hear How the Story Ends/Begins. You are a Gem. 🙂
Thanks doodle! Oh. I think my classic choice for interview ensembles comes from years and years of wearing uniforms to school. I don’t leave my comfort zone when it comes to office attire!! XOXOXOXO!!!
This is why I’m really hoping working for myself will pan out…can’t wait for Part 2!
Cynthia. I swear with all my heart, I honestly hope that working for yourself pans out. Damn woman, you can do photography!!! I thought at one point I would be able to market myself more to write but it didn’t happen. Gots to pay the mortgage!! I’m working on Part 2 now!! XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!
I read that whole thing to Drollery! He laughed. I don’t think he should have!
Lady Calen, YOU just gave me a big laugh at that! I wonder if he will laugh at Part 2!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Horrifying but hilarious at the same time. I can’t wait for part 2.
I was in my perfect job at age 55 working as School Secretary in a small primary school when my husband was made redundant at age 54 and we had to move areas. I applied for several jobs, with no luck and I came to dread interviews too. I felt like I was being interviewed by my children most of the time!
I thought I would never find another job I loved but after a year of so-so jobs I was so lucky to get another school position for 10 hours a week as Finance Officer.
I worked there for a few years before retiring and was grateful every day to be in the environment I loved. I would have liked more hours but it enabled me to carry on longer than I might have done as I had to care for my mother at the same time so it all worked out well in the end.
Hi Jenny! Ain’t it the truth, the older person’s job search journey IS horrifying and hilarious at the same time. You were very fortunate to have found a job–albeit 10 hours, but still. It’s amazing. I am truly fascinated by the future of the corporate world. I think pregnant moms better get the interview suits made as soon as their babies are born!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Great story. Ready for part deux.
Thanks Vadalia! I’m working on it! XOXOXOXO!!!
Really interesting post, where I work most people on my floor would be early/mid thirties maybe and up to mid 50s. I work in a non corporate field (information specialist and in the NHS) so this is like a window into a whole ‘nother world for me. Here I think the problem is a bit different – it is hard once you are in the workplace and the problem mainly revolves around people in their thirties (and sadly mainly women but not always), let me just say our office needs us ladies of a certain age – none of us go off sick, none of us get pregnant, we generally don’t sign up for courses that cost our employer a lot of money and dump our duties on others, we don’t bunch hours up so we can take as many Fridays as possible, we don’t hog the summer holidays, we don’t get pregnant/adopt, we don’t complain, we don’t wander around the office avoiding work, we don’t sit at our desks arranging curtains for our house, we don’t sit and cry as we are in the middle of selling/buying a new house… in fact we generally know how not to let our private lives intrude on the flow of work and basically if our organisation wants to function they need us.
I love your outfits and how effortless you make looking good appear – something to aspire to, although my colleagues might wonder if I was off to apply for another job…
Juliet. Booya!!! You hit the nail on the head when it comes to that young but not millenial (sp) crowd. One of my past jobs, which was NOT in finance, nor retail, hint, hint, had the most vile women on earth. Backstabbing and ready to “tattle” on anyone to make themselves look good whilst they smiled and avoided any phase of work that they could. I swear women are their own worst enemies. Especially white, middle-class women. Ugh.
It’s true, more women of a certain age ARE needed in the workforce!! I’m glad you like my outfits!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I love this post. It’s so good, it should be picked up by many media outlets! And, as I’m sometime going to be heading back into the work world after years of being a caregiver, it frightens the hell out of me. However, being a lady of a certain age, I’m going to deal with it, hopefully, as well as you!
Hi Lori! You sound like Bonaparte. He loved this post. A lot! And thought the same! I’ll give you pointers when that day comes my love!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Thanks for telling it like it is, I have my own business but have often thought about doing something simpler, a nine to five job. The problem is I forget how old I am! I can’t wait to hear part two…
You are quite welcome Cindy! If you have your own business then you are empowered!!! Trust me, working nine to five, is definitely my preferred kind of job, but the process to GET there was absolute ridiculousness! And some of that wasn’t in a fun way!! Stay tuned mon cherie!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
Right on sister.
Thank you darlin’ Margo!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
The last time I applied for jobs was at 50, about nine years ago…it took about 9 months to get one…I like the job, but really miss working with women…it was a new town to me, and I have really not met people here. I think I’d like to try somewhere different, but the job hunt is just too difficult at nearly 60!
Hi Julie! Even at a “young” 50 it takes a while to become hired. And what kills me is that the politicians say that unemployment is down. That’s because older people become disheartened and stop looking!!! I know this sounds so defeatist, but if you are making a decent salary, stay where you are–the job hunt IS just too difficult as you get older!! XOXOXOXO!!!
This makes me never ever want to apply for a job ever again! Personally, in many situations I would rather interact with an older person who understands customer service, who doesn’t think the world revolves around them, and who doesn’t stop assisting you to check their text messages. Oooh, and I love those outfits!
Thank You Painter! We older peeps do understand service and we don’t think the world revolves around us (well, ok..some of us do–but not when we are in the office)!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
You are preaching to the choir with me. Even though I have a secure position with the state of California, it is like pulling teeth trying to promote. I DO have an interview today and decided to wear a lovely short-sleeved button up collared Carole Little shirt with a black skirt and black kitten heels. Wish me luck!
Hi T! It’s a day later on my reply but how did the interview go? I’ll be you rocked!! Although you are lucky to have a secure position–these days nothing is secure in the workforce!!! Fingers crossed for you! XOXOXOXO!!!
Love this post, it is exactly the situation I am in right now, at age 62. My last interview (which are few and far between) was more than a month ago with a lady podiatrist…I could write a few paragraphs about that experience (she arrived 20 minutes late to her own venue, left me standing in the rain ringing the bell for that while), booked two of us for the same appointment time and asked me too many personal questions to name just a few. The only nice thing was she couldnt believe my age. I never heard from her again even though I sent her a message afterwards with additional references and thanked her for seeing me, and still do not know why!
Vivella. I’m sorry but your reply is giving my a chuckle because it is sooooooo very familiar. It’s such a crock—we’re supposed to be at the beck and call of rude and inconsiderate people. But ask yourself–after seeing what that woman was like, would you still want to work for her??? It’s amazing–itsn’t it????XOXOXOXO!!!
I’m trying to find another job, with no luck at all. Partly because since everything is online, you never, ever get to talk to a human at all. You can’t even call to say “Do you know if the position has been filled?”
At my current job, the HR people who hire are called “Talent Acquistion Specialists.” Makes me want to throw up! 🙂
Hi Bridget. I swear the day “Personnel” morphed into “HR”, corporate America became destroyed. Now to make it worse, HR is morphing into “Talent”–it takes PC into an entire different level. It’s disgusting!! XOXOXO!!!
I am 55 and it took me a long time to find this office job. In general, there is not a lot of administrative jobs and it is harder when you are 50+.
I can’t wait for part two.
Autumn–You are so right! There really are not a ton of admin jobs, and I think it’s because positions keep changing and titles keep changing. Like for instance, nobody wanted to be called a “secretary” so then we became administrative assistants. Then THAT became offensive to some and how AA’s are oftentimes called “project coordinators” or office coordinators. It’s ridiculous. I’m glad though, that you’ve found a job after a long search! XOXOXOXO!!!
I AGREE with YOU
Although, I haven’t been LOOKING for a JOB.MY BIG BEEF is NO ONE IS TRAINED ANYMORE……they DONOT CARE……….and they are constantly on their PHONES AT WORK!
YOUR MONEY is PERFECT!
WHY is the service NEVER PERFECT?
OFF TO find PART TWO!!!!!!!
Thank you Elizabeth for agreeing on this!! Oh forget training! I remember back in the day when I started as a secretary down on Wall Street, we went to the training room for a week! But then, that was in the days of “Personnel” and not “HR” HR has destroyed any phase of humanity in corporate America! XOXOXOXO!!!
Pingback: Take a stand against ageism around the world - Maddy at Home
Thank you for standing in for aged persons. very interesting.
Exactly! It really did make me lol. Thank you!