Back in the day, I gave up a promising career on Wall Street. I did not sacrifice my career when I decided to leave. It was simply a decision that was made by me. I left to raise my children.
I swear to God. I had the same exact suit as the woman in the illustration. I have a photo somewhere and when I find it I’ll post it! I even wore one of those little bowed ties!! And the Sony Walkman. And I had that same Coach bag (which was better than the Coach bags now). And the Bean boots!!!!
It also helped that some 31 years ago, a two-income household was not a necessity. I was lucky that my husband had a career that allowed me to be home to raise our children. We gave up fancy vacations but really, not more than that.
And during my gig as a SAHM, I worked harder than I ever have in my life. It was fun. I loved being home because my life was centered around the kids, the two dogs and our home.
Yes. That is true!! Nap time was when ALL the housework was done!
Keeping busy is always a great thing.
Some days did seem like this but my home was always immaculate!
The kids got older and with life changes such as a divorce, I re-entered the workforce. It wasn’t easy but it was doable.
And when I moved to Pennsylvania, I started a job that I loved. But the economic downfall led to financial disaster and I lost my job five years later. The job market was never the same.
Add to that another job that ended up with a closure and, at 59 years old, I found myself in a position that I never imagined. Unemployed. Unemployed and not able to find a job as good as the ones I had in the past.
Nobody wants to hire an older person. It’s a rare occasion when they do. And in the two stints of unemployment I found out that it is much better to be employed than to be unemployed. And it’s worse when you are an unemployed, empty-nester with a mortgage and car payments and other bills to pay.
And trust me on this–there are TONS of older folks out there looking for jobs. I’ve met a great deal of them through support groups. It’s sad that the job market is faltering for the elders!
Don’t get me wrong. If I was in the glorious one percent, it wouldn’t be that bad to be without a job because I would be able to 1. Go to an expensive gym every day and work out 2. Go shopping all day for the expensive stuff 3. Go away on many trips and vacations.
Believe me. Life could be pretty darn cool if I were a princess!! I could get into the life of jet-setting leisure and perhaps own a kingdom!
Besides, the greatest thing about being home was that I could write posts for my blog—which I thoroughly enjoy and it has become my baby!
But—staying home without a job left me no sense of purpose. I’ll be the first to admit it. I miss having the kids around. Then the stress of looking for a job has an awful effect on me. I eat. And I eat some more. And I eat some more.
And I wasn’t eating the healthy stuff either. I made this for dinner after WORK last Friday! I’m improving!
And I become lazy—which is a very, very bad thing. And being lazy as you age is an even worse thing!
The lazier I get, the lazier I become!
The past few months, with a break at Christmas time, were a whirlwind of job interviews, a bad job that I stayed with for a couple of days, more interviews, having to be “on” during those phone interviews, and more face-to-face interviews. It’s taxing. One interviewer told me—and she was very nice about it that they had someone “in mind” who would be with their company for a long time. Shades of Grace and Frankie when they applied for a bank loan and were denied because of their age!
My girls Grace and Frankie–after they were rejected for a bank loan due to their age. Look at them–they look fabulous!!!!
Thank God I have Bonaparte. He’s always supportive and encouraging!
In all honesty, the day I came home after interviewing the job that I now have, I was discouraged. I told my husband that I didn’t have much hope because I’m sure I was too “old”. And a strange thing happened. A week later, I received an offer.
And here’s why I enjoy working while many of us are thinking about retirement.
Working keeps me busy. It makes me think. I’m using my brain to resolve issues and to learn new computer programs.
Hmmmm. I’m thinking. And it’s fun!
Working keeps me from eating. Yeah. I said it. I bring my little yogurt and fruit and sit at my desk during lunch time so that I can leave a bit earlier!
I ran out of blueberries so I’m bringing lemon curd to mix in with my yogurt for tomorrow’s lunch!
Work gives me the opportunity to meet new people. I’m not by any means a water cooler gal nor am I at work to make best friends. But—it’s always fun to work with nice people and to be a part of a team.
I’m social enough but not too much. Gotta get back to work!
Working keeps me young. And I don’t mean a throwback to my wild twenties. It keeps me mentally young!
Working gives me a new bit of self-respect. I get to spend time applying my makeup in the morning so that I look good.
Did I tell you about the makeup tip from Wayne Goss? Add a drop of oil to your foundation. It is life changing!!! See? I love doing my makeup!!!!
And I’m using more subtle eye looks too!
I also get to wear all my fun clothes all day. Yeah. I mean all day. When I was unemployed, I would get dressed to go to the store and to run errands. Once I came back home I changed into my sloppy clothing of either yoga pants or pj bottoms (but never out—especially to a restaurant) and a tee shirt. And when you become very comfortable in those clothes, it’s easy to become a slob!
This was my unemployment uniform. Funny thing is I’m wearing the same outfit now!!
Working gives me a routine. Some of us need a routine. I’m one of those who thrive on routines. It helps to keep my life organized. I’m writing a blog tonight. I’ll write another one on Thursday. I’ll film a couple of YouTube videos over the weekend and another blog post on Sunday. I’m very much into this time management!
I’m happiest when things are running like clockwork. I love a routine!
I foresee myself working well into my eighties if I’m lucky. And I’ll be a very youthful 80 some day!
The scary thing is twenty years ago I was 43 and twenty years from now I’ll be 83! I need to save up for a facelift! I better stay working!
In the meantime, have a look at what I wore last week to work. It’s fun to be back in the outfit planning and the office is very casual but I’ll still dress up a bit!
Last Tuesday was my first day at work. I wore my favorite leopard skirt. And lighter hair. And, BTW, my wigs are also very popular at the office!
Wednesday was gray day. I wore my Banana Republic blazer from many years back and Pixie pants. I wore my Carrie wig from Uniwigs LaVivid Collection!
On Thursday, I was mad for plaid in my favorite plaid blazer. Another pair of Pixie pants and old Tory Burch Reva flats added to the casual uniform. I wore my Justine wig and a red Tippi Sweater.
And on Friday, we are allowed to wear jeans. I ended up taking the sneakers off and wearing loafers because it rained and I didn’t want to get my sneakers dirty!
And I look forward to each day so that I can work to my best ability!
That would be me!
Anyone out there in the job market? Interviewing? Newly hired? Ready for retirement? Let’s tawk about it!!!! Comments please!
Here’s some Elvis Costello “Welcome to the Working Week” from the My Aim is True Album! A perfect Yuppie song!
Great post and congratulations!
Thanks Lola!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!
I love all the work outfits and the hair. I wish you great success at your new position.
Thank you so much Elly!!!!! XOXOXOXO
Good for you. You’re a very industrious person. They’re lucky to have you and you’re lucky to have them. What kind of work do you do? What new programs are you learning? I’m really happy for you. So glad they appreciate your wigs. You’re doing it!
Hi Sandy. I’m an administrative assistant and working for a company that advocates for people. I’m learning all sorts of database programs to make my day fly by!! Thanks so much!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
Congratulations on your new job! Three years ago I retired early from a very stressful job. The. Adjustment. Was . Hard. I went from everyone basically standing at attention when I entered the room to people asking what my husband did for a living before we retired…like I was some sort of accessory that never had a career of my own. Geez…Now I work about 15 hours a week. It gives me “brain time” and allows me time to do some things I love. It is a win for me.. Good for you that you have figured out what you need to fill your soul. Happy isn’t as easy as it sounds but once you figure it out it is grand! Good people are hard to find. Don’t forget that…they should be grateful to have found you!
Hi Teresa! Oh…I’m sure the adjustment was incredibly hard. Hey–when I was a Stay-at-home mom, it was during the time when Hillary made that remark about not staying home and baking cookies and women were not very kind to those who made the choice to stay home to nurture their kids. Anyway, my husband (at the time) and I were at a party and I was talking to a group of women my age who all had really great careers. One of them scoffed when finding out I stayed at home and had the balls to ask the question “What do you do all day”. I shut her and the entire group of women up when I answered ” I recline on the sofa naked and wait for the mail man to come. Then I f**k the $hit outta him” Nobody in that circle of friends never dared ask me again what I did all day. I swear we women are our worst enemies. Asking about a husband first before you is offensive. Look how I’m rambling!! LOL!! Finding happy IS not easy at times but you are right–once we find it it is grand!!! XXOXOXOXO!!!
Lol! You are my kinda gal Catherine!
I am so glad you found something that you like and that you have a chance to dress up. I fear I have gotten so lazy the thought of dressing up-except for church-gives me the vapors. I love hearing about your hair, clothes, and make up. Any good tips for helping my make up not cake in my marionette lines (don’t know if I spelled that right, or not)? I’ll notice it looks fine and then later on I’ll see how it is stuck in the lines…and oh my…how terrible it looks. It’s hell getting old…but I like it better than the alternative. Hope you are having a great week at work. XOXO Karen
Karen! OMG. You used one of my favorite sayings “gives me the vapors LOL!!! Thank you so much. Oh…I’m ready to post another blog post about that. Add a drop of oil to your foundation. IT IS LIFE CHANGING!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!
Congratulations on the job. I so admire your humour and perseverance – you deserve success. You’ll be good for the company.
I retired from a fairly important role a couple of years ago since when all my exciting plans for retirement have been thwarted by a sick husband and a daughter bringing her family to live with us whilst she renovated a house. I’m now a housekeeper, nurse and nanny.
A sense of humour helps!
Hi ceri!!! Thank you–hey, humor and perseverance–it’s what we need, right??? Look, I hope your husband gets better but isn’t it ironic that you are, once again, a mom in every sense of the word!!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!!
You are so right! It seems we spend a lot of time wishing we didn’t have to work but we’re missing out on all the mental stimulation you mentioned. Routines are good, using our brains is good, socializing is good,having a purpose is essential, and having a reason to get up and get dressed helps keep us healthy. Since I started working from home a month ago I have committed to making sure I am dressed and showered and have my make up on at least 3-4 days during the week. I’m trying to figure it out as I go but there are just some things that are essential to keep me ME!
Hi Kellyann. You have the right attitude. Many people in the company I work for do work from home and it has been mentioned that down the line I’ll be able to work at home a day or two during the week. Honestly, I don’t know if I would want to do that. I’m much better at leaving the house and going somewhere!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!
Salut! Great post – as always – and congratulations on your new job. I went from full time working, to part time (3 days a week) to being self employed to being retired. I sometimes wonder how I ever had time to work! The thing I miss most about working is interacting with my colleagues etc. I think I was very lucky to have had a gradual reduction in my career. Now I dance twice a week, volunteer from time to time and spend a lot of time in France. Of course, there is also my blog which helps to keep my brain active and enables me to interact with lovely people like you!!! Bon courage xoxo
Hi June. I think a gradual end to work is the best way. It’s funny but with a couple of the jobs I’ve had, I do miss my colleagues and still keep in touch with them. In others, I’m so happy not to have to see them every day! Hey–our blogs DO keep us active and engaging. And look at the friends we’ve made!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
I know your post wasn’t about this but I had to comment…
“And I had that same Coach bag (which was better than the Coach bags now).” Isn’t that the TRUTH?? They used to be made so much sturdier and lux, like a lot of things I guess.
Congratulations on the job 🙂
Oh. Puffy. You have no idea. I had two of those old-school Coach bags and one was in the most gorgeous olive green you have ever seen. I have NO idea why I got rid of either of them and it is one of my biggest bag regrets. Coach needs to go vintage!!!!!
Completely agree with all your thoughts on working Catherine. I’m 56, and because I have two failed marriages behind me, I have to support myself on diminished resources. I will therefore be working until I am at least 66 which, as retirement ages move on, will be the official age that I can retire. Work is good for me; it gets me out of bed, it gives me a purpose, it structures my day, I mix with other people (I don’t like them all but at least it is social interaction), and most importantly, I use my brain! The latter is SO important to me as my 84 year old father has Alzheimer’s and I am acutely aware of the need to put my brain under pressure and keep it functioning.
HI Wendy. We speak the same language honey! My mother passed away from Alzheimer’s and I make sure to keep my brain flowing!!! That’s why I don’t care if I’m working till I’m 80!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
Oh yeah. I can see clearly that they are not interested in someone our age. If only they would actually “see” us. Ugh.
Hi Bridget! So true!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!
Age is a funny thing. When I re-entered the workforce after my kids got to an age where I thought I could leave them, I went back and retrained as a librarian. I applied for a couple of jobs, the first one I applied for was an office in the city centre – they offered me the job but the interviewers halitosis and body odour meant I was pretty sure I couldn’t cope working with her (I am squeamish in the extreme), the next job was one I applied for then realised that other people on the course (older and younger) had applied for it too – so I figured no chance, especially as the younger ones were bright and eager and the older ones had loads of experience in medical libraries. Not only did I get an interview, I got the job – I had less to offer and I had pretty much decided I was lucky even interviewing so decided to chalk it up as a “practice” for a “real” job possibility. So on the first day in the actual job, I asked my new employers – why me? Basically they knew as soon as I walked in that I was “different” (um thanks) and within 5 minutes they knew I could learn and they knew I would be the one. The silly thing is that at the ripe old age of 36 – yes 36, I thought I was too old to be starting out against the young ones and too inexperienced to compete with the others. It taught me a valuable lesson – give people a chance, a real chance, we can’t help our age or the faces we were born with but we can help our attitude and they hired me on personality and approachability, it is such a shame that many employers don’t get that, their loss of course but still a real shame.
Loving your outfits
Hi Juliet. You hit home on so many facets of your comment. When I interviewed for this job, I was very honest about how I love to work–basically, I enjoy being part of a team, but I like being on my own. I figured I blew it but I think that honesty got me the job. You just never know. And 36!! OMG…that’s still so young.
I know there’s an underlying tone that older people are set in their ways and don’t want to learn but that’s garbage. I think in the right environment and with the right people, it makes you want to learn new things!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!
I work in a really tight industry, lots of potential employees, very few available jobs, last time I interviewed there were 13 jobs in my state, including the two international postings, in the entire calendar year, 13! Last year I think I saw 5, in total, in the year! And of course there are hundreds of people applying for those very few jobs! I thankfully love my job and have no intention of going anywhere. But if I was searching for a job in my industry I would be terrified!
I will soon be 51. I want to change jobs to move from Indiana to Arizona. You did not paint a rosey picture for us older job seekers. : (
Hi Hj! It may not be a rosy painted picture but it’s honest. I’m a realist. I’m not one of those people who tell you that you can do anything you want or Be anything you want to be (career-wise) because only those who pontificate those words are tremendously successful. That isn’t so for the majority. But I do believe in hope! The best of luck in your search—and don’t give up!!!XOXOXO!!!!
Thanks, Catherine! I am a realist as well, borderline pessimist. I realize it will be harder due to my age. I enjoy reading your stuff.
Mature workers are an untapped gold mine and it’s about time this country recognized that. I just finished running an event and most of my temp staff was quite young. 99% of the time they were at least an hour or more late or did not show up at all. Next time, I am requesting only mature workers. In general, they are more willing to step up the plate, have experience, don’t come in hungover and then ask to leave early so they can attend a concert, don’t complain about doing any task, and don’t ignore assign tasks to talk or play on their phone. I was raised to be a responsible and reliable young adult so I find that sort of behavior shocking.
Hang in there!!! There’s probably a temp agency out there dying to have someone like you work for them.
Hi L! It’s so true. While there are a number of “older” workers who can often be set in their ways and can be challenged to change, the same can be said for any younger personality in that frame of mind. Most older workers have a great work ethic and can grasp ideas quickly. We don’t come in hungover and we don’t have to worry about the kids being sick. We are definitely and untapped gold mine!! Thank you for your support!!!! XOXOXOXO
Such a great post! And its heartening to hear from all your readers. We are not alone out here! Your life experiences really resonated with me – having been home with kids and then go through a divorce and trying to get back into the work force.
I lost my full-time job as a manager of a plastic surgery medi-spa three years ago this past January. Even though I sent out tons of resumes (and I tried keeping them short so people wouldn’t figure out my age), most people didn’t even call me back! I think I got three or four phone interviews and one or two in person interviews.
I’ve always written freelance on the side, for local business journals, so I reached point where I said, “Screw it! I’ll do it on my own.”
That was 3 years ago and today, I do have a part-time job running a small office and spending the rest of my time writing for a growing list of clients. Even though I’m poor, I gotta say that I wouldn’t change what I do for a living. I just need to do more of it and get better-paying clients!
I totally agree that working keeps us young and vibrant, and I congratulate you for your persistence and your fantastic attitude!!
Hi Maureen and thank you so much for taking the time out to comment. It isn’t easy for women–especially after raising kids and divorcing and having to go back to work after many years. It is daunting and sad and frustrating and there are just so many emotions–and others don’t quite “get” it unless you’ve been through it. I get where you are coming from.
I’ve finally resigned myself to the fact that I’ll never be rich from writing as far as money goes. However, I’m wealthy from the wonderful women and men who read my blog and support me. Best of luck to you and thank you a million times for reading this blog!!! Don’t be a stranger! XOXOXOXO!!!