April 18

Job Loss After 50: Making Lemonade



I’m not going to sugarcoat this article.

Losing your job is always a difficult and challenging experience, but it can be even more trying for those of us over 50 years of age.

Ageism is a very real phenomenon that can make it harder for mature workers to find meaningful employment, especially when you’ve just lost a job. The combination of ageism and job loss can create a perfect storm that will likely feel insurmountable.

In this blog, I’ll will discuss the challenges facing mature workers in the job market and explore ways to stay positive and overcome the obstacles of ageism.

This topic is near and dear to my heart.

I was laid off from my job at the age of 57.

I had been in the fashion industry for 30+ years at that point. Launching and running multi-million dollar businesses. However at my age I thought it would be almost impossible to get a job. So I started my own business. It’s been 9 years and I have never looked back. In retrospect, I think I could have gotten a job, but it definitely is harder with age.

The Challenges

The first thing to acknowledge is that age discrimination is prevalent in many fields.

This can manifest itself in various ways: from being overlooked during hiring processes to being passed over for promotions or hours. When companies are looking for someone to fill positions, they often prefer younger candidates with less experience and lower salary expectations.

Another challenge is that technology changes rapidly, and outdated skills can make it difficult for mature workers to keep up with the younger generation. Not keeping up with the latest tech trends can also send a message of being outdated or not capable of learning new things.

Furthermore, some employers may view older employees as being more expensive in terms of healthcare benefits, higher salaries due to experience, and retirement plans. While these are important factors to consider when hiring someone, it’s definitely not a complete picture.

Experience can lead to meaningful productivity boosts that recruiters often overlook.

Why are mature workers vulnerable to job loss?

First, let us explore why mature workers might be more vulnerable to job loss. It is no secret that as people age, their energy levels and health may decline, and their skills may not be as relevant as they once were. Additionally, mature workers may require higher salaries, better benefits, or accommodations for disabilities, which can make them less appealing to employers looking to cut costs.

I think that ageism is a cultural illness; it’s not a personal illness.

Frances McDormand

The impact of ageism

Ageism is defined as discrimination based on age.

It can manifest in many ways. For example, employers may assume that mature workers are not as tech-savvy, energetic, or innovative as their younger counterparts. They may also believe that mature workers are not as open to learning new things, despite evidence showing that older adults can be as capable of learning new skills as younger people. Employers may also assume that an older worker will retire soon and not take the job seriously, or they may be hesitant to offer a higher salary, benefits, or accommodations for disabilities.

It’s important to remember that discrimination based on age is illegal under federal law, and there are resources available to help individuals fight against ageism in the workplace. Additionally, there are organizations that specifically focus on helping older adults find employment opportunities and navigate the job search process.

Age Discrimination in the Workplace

If you’re an older adult who has recently lost a job or is struggling to find employment due to age discrimination, it’s important to know that you have legal protection under federal law. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from discriminating against employees or job applicants who are over the age of 40 based on their age.

It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.


Take Time to Reflect

It’s no secret that losing your job can be a challenging experience, both professionally and personally. The sudden loss of income can create feelings of stress and anxiety that can be tough to overcome. However, taking the time to regroup and rethink your next steps can help ease some of the pressures you may be feeling.

Instead of rushing into the next available job opportunity, take a step back and reflect on what you really want out of your career. Use this time to reevaluate your goals, passions, and interests.

Perhaps this is an opportunity to explore new career paths or take on a new challenge?

Remember, it’s important to give yourself grace during this time. Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Connect with loved ones or seek help from a professional if needed. With time and patience, you will find your way back on track to a fulfilling career.

Tips for overcoming ageism

While ageism is a real challenge facing mature workers, there are ways to overcome it. Here are some tips for staying positive and focused during a job search:

  1. Upgrade your skills

Despite the perception that mature workers are resistant to change or new technologies, many are eager to learn new skills and stay relevant in their field. Consider upgrading your skills by taking courses or attending workshops, either online or in-person. This can help you stay competitive in the job market and demonstrate to potential employers that you are committed to ongoing learning and growth.

  1. Network

Networking is critical for anyone looking for a job, but it is especially important for mature workers. Attend industry events, join professional groups, and reach out to former colleagues and acquaintances to let them know you are looking for work. Networking can open doors and lead to job opportunities that might not be advertised publicly.

  1. Be flexible

Mature workers who are open to new experiences, new industries, or new positions may be more appealing to employers. Be willing to consider part-time work, contract work, or temporary work. This can help keep skills sharp and provide an income while continuing to search for the right job opportunity.

  1. Highlight your experience

Experience is a valuable commodity in the workplace, and mature workers often have years of experience in their field. Highlight your experience on your resume and in job interviews, showing how it can benefit the company and contribute to their success. Use specific examples and results from past work to demonstrate your expertise.

  1. Use a Recruiter

One of the main benefits of working with a recruiter is that they can offer valuable insights into the industry and specific companies that you may be interested in. They can also provide guidance on interview preparation, salary negotiations, and career advancement opportunities. Furthermore, they are privy to information on employment opportunities that are not accessible to the wider population.

  1. Self Employment

Women over 50 have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can be transformed into a successful business venture. Self-employment is a great option that provides economic independence and flexibility, and it’s easier than ever to start a business from home. Just make sure you do your due diligence to make sure your business has the potential to be successful. Make a business plan!!

One of the biggest perks of owning a business from home is the flexibility it offers. You can choose to work full-time or part-time based on your availability and other obligations. I find having my own business affords me the ability to work how I want, take on business I enjoy and have the freedom to organize my time as I see fit.

7. Providing Consulting Services

Another great business idea for women over 50 is consulting services. You likely have years of experience and knowledge in a particular area – whether it’s marketing, finance, human resources, or something else entirely – that could be incredibly valuable to other businesses. Consulting allows you to utilize that expertise and help others while working on your own schedule.

Consulting can be done remotely, making it an ideal option for those who want to work from home. You can choose to offer your services on a project basis or as an ongoing consultant. This allows you to have more control over your workload and schedule.

I have been a consultant in the fashion industry now for 9 years. My business has been profitable since I signed up my first client.

  1. Networking Events

Attending job fairs and networking events can also be an effective way to meet potential employers and make valuable connections. These events provide an opportunity to learn about different companies and industries while also showcasing your skills and experience.

  1. Take care of yourself

Being let go can be a stressful experience, and it’s essential to take care of yourself during this time. Make sure to exercise regularly, eat healthy, get enough sleep, and find ways to manage stress. Stay connected with friends and family, and reach out for support if you need it. Taking care of yourself will help you stay focused and positive as you navigate your job search.

Losing a job after the age of 50 can be a difficult experience, but it does not mean the end of a career.

The combination of ageism and job loss can create significant challenges for mature workers, but with the right attitude and resources, you can overcome these obstacles. Upgrading skills, networking, being flexible, highlighting experience, and staying positive are essential for success in any job search.

While ageism may be a reality in the job market, mature workers have much to offer and are valuable assets to any company.

About the author 

Maria Pesin

You may also like

When Parenting Never Ends: Fun and Creative Ways to Stay Connected with Your Grown-Up Kids

When Parenting Never Ends: Fun and Creative Ways to Stay Connected with Your Grown-Up Kids

Navigating Uncertain Times – What You Need to Know

Navigating Uncertain Times – What You Need to Know

Age is Just a Number: Here’s the Proof

Age is Just a Number: Here’s the Proof

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Subscribe to our newsletter now!