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It's a backstage pass to info on jobs and life at 50+. Gen Plus, headed by Janet Wendy Spiegel, is dedicated to baby boomers and the plus generation of age 50 and older. Read up and speak out on issues affecting your future: jobs, income, life and respect.

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Northridge, California, United States
Successful businesswoman, consultant, entrepreneur. I operate two businesses -- social media consulting, AND premium pet care services in the West San Fernando Valley. Love what I do, love life.

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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

56 and laid off...what do I do now?

Bad news this week for two of my friends...both in their mid-50's. One of them has been told to find another source of income...not enough money coming into the small business where he works to keep him paid up to date. Another one was laid off for large company downsizing, although the fact that he is 56 does, without a doubt, play into it.

Also, on an even more interesting note, they are both men. Although I get many emails from women, right now, men are going to feel the brunt of loss of job security more than
women. The sectors that are booming right now, education and healthcare, are predominantly staffed by women (77%) . Manufacturing and construction, for example, which are feeling the turndown very sharply, are predominantly staffed by men (88%).

Like so many of us, caught in that bizarre twilight zone of 50-ish to 60-ish, their biggest question is "So, what do I do now?" They are not naive enough to think that someone will snatch them up. They are both overqualified for anything they will be offered. They are going to have to get creative.For a detailed look at how the economy is affecting both men (high numbers of jobs lost) and women (stay more stagnant in their positions) this article on MSNBC has some interesting stats.


Rhea said...

Scary. Sometimes I think I want to leave my job without another job waiting, and then I hear stories like this.

Janet Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

I know of three corporate executives (plus me) who left jobs without another job waiting and it was the right decision for all of us. Sometimes it is impossible to make a really big change without giving yourself a chance to sit and think -- even if just for a bit -- about what you really, really want to do.

Kaizen Consulting Blog said...

The scary thing about this is how do you pay for health insurance? Who can afford COBRA? That is the biggest reason most people cannot retire.

Janet Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

The fact that we are tied to companies because of our need for health insurance is just so wrong. I'm a Canadian ex-pat, so I've lived both socialized and privatized health care. Socialized medicine, in my view, is the way to go, because it equalizes the health care playing field. Those with more affluence can opt in for secondary private policies to cover more options (such as private vs. shared hospital room). Our dependance on a very expensive private health care system in the US forces many would-be entrepreneurs to stay in unsatisfactory work environments for the company health plan.

Just as an FYI, for those out on their own, there are many industry associations one can join to take advantage of group medical plans -- generally pretty good (with HMO, POS or PPO options) and far less costly than individual plans.

Cynthia Samuels said...

Well it happened to me in early 50s and I started a little Web business. I make some money - nothing like I made earlier - but have the good luck of a two-income family - until now. My husband is about to enter law school (!) and I need to ramp things up. I'm more scared of doing it well and figuring out how to surrender some control than I am about anything else - which is kind of dumb since we really need my income to grow. Ah well, we've been blessed to be an adventurous generation... why change things now?

Janet Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Wow...that's kind of exciting Cindy! I prefer to think of what is dubbed as the mid-life crisis as a clear reevaluation of what really is important in life. Here's to this next great adventure!

thebaglady said...

Well, this happened to my mom recently. She's 54. Her small company where she worked for 10+ years closed down and she had to find a new job. She ended up finding a job at a state college that paid about half of her previous salary. She took it because a) the school offers a pension and healthcare after she retires b) she doesn't need that much money anymore. So if these men already saved enough then they don't have to worry that much, otherwise they could probably go look for a job in the industries that are booming. The worst thing is to say, "I'm old, I can't get a job".

Janet Wendy, founder, Gen Plus said...

Very good comment BagLady. It is all about resilience, creativity and a bit of patience. It can take a 50 plusser more than 18 months on average to find a new job...but typically they will find one. Glad to hear your mom was able to find a job with good benefits. It can be very damaging to the ego to move from a position that defined your days to a sea of uncertainty and the need to redefine.