I've always had the attitude that age is just a number. Inside I clearly remember exactly what it feels like to be those milestone ages. Eighteen, twenty-one, thirty- they are not-so-distant memories. If only I knew then what my reality is now I would have done things differently or would I?
Living with regrets is no way to fully live and honestly I do not have many regrets. I always thought that if you worked hard you would benefit the rewards of that. Getting older is something that happens to us all and unless you are "there" you just don't get it.
Getting older sucks.
By the time the average person reaches the age of 40 they have acquired a certain amount of knowledge just from surviving that long. They are more secure in who they are and usually they are more grounded and settled. Trying to start over in the work world at age 40 or more is damn near impossible these days. Employers should consider the idea that unlike a more youthful employee, an older employee has more financial responsibilities and work ethics. They are more dependable than a "kid" who still enjoys going out on a Friday night. A woman whose children are near adult is not likely to have another child therefore no worries about maternity leave or childcare obligations.
There are dozens of reasons to hire an "older" worker but employers these days seem to frown upon it. Do they think they will not age?
Maybe many employers look at the above 40 worker as too experienced and not easily trainable as many could be "set" in their ways. This can be true up to a point but honestly the long-term unemployed over 40 worker is quite honestly desperate to earn a paycheck. They are ready to "suck it up" and put up with what they never would have put up with in their youth. Finding the opportunity to do so is most difficult.
As someone who entered the serious work force at age 40, I can honestly say a decade later that I have absolutely NEVER had a decent job. Part of it is due to the fact that as a single parent my child's needs came first. I am not sorry for that; I had/wanted to be their for my child. Another part of why I struggle in the work world is due to a lack of marketable skills. A high school graduate with a certification in massage therapy, I never had the time/money/direction to further my education.
What I am is someone who is willing, ready and pretty much able to do what it takes to keep a roof over my head. What I cannot seem to do is find an employer willing to give me the opportunity to actually earn an income that would take me out of the poverty I am in.
I literally begged to get the position I have now and my employer knows my desperation. That is something one should never do but I needed a paycheck and I was not getting hired without my pushing for the position. In the 6 months since I have been working I have applied for other positions but to no avail.
Meanwhile my husband is also out of work. This is a man who literally worked circles around guys half his age but now at age 54 he is looked at as old and washed up. He has been signed up with employment agencies and gone on interviews but so far has not received any offers of employment. It is downright depressing.
Many would say that when you are in this situation you should create your own job. How does one start their own business when they are not even supporting themselves? That is a question I wrestle with.
This country has a fear of getting older. We put youth up on a pedestal and worship it. Doesn't anyone realize that youth only lasts a short time? Everyone gets older. It is a fact. You can dress it up and try and disguise it but we all get older. Wisdom comes with age but the youth don't want to hear it. They are too busy enjoying their lives oblivious to the fact that one day it will all be gone. They too will find that they will become disposable no matter what they feel they have to give. No one cares.
Finding a job when you are white, over 40 and speak only English is like hoping to win the lottery. That is the reality of aging in America. My advice is if you are under 40 enjoy it while you can. It won't last.