Think of Dear Ellie as your very own kitchen table, where you can discuss the things that are on your mind. Now that the boomers are turning 60 and those in the Greatest Generation are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s—we are all blazing new trails in the third third of life. So, have a cup of coffee and let’s talk about life: the past, the present, and the future. [Editor's note: Dr. Greenberg no longer contributes to Silver Planet, but we have made her archived blog entries available as a service to our readers.]
I have recently been laid off from a job I had for almost 10 years. I never loved the job, but it provided me and my family with a living. Now the economy is a wreck, and unemployment is high. I’m applying for unemployment benefits, but I just must find a job, maybe any job. I am 61 years old, in good health, and must have health insurance for myself, my wife, and my two dependent high school–aged daughters.
What do you advise? Jerry
You have my sympathy. These are hard times for so many families. It is not easy to tell you what to do, but this much I can say: Get out every day, meet people, follow every lead, and try to keep your spirits up. You should also consider writing a plan for how you are going to go about finding employment. The first step in your plan should be to find out what your local community has to offer.
In most communities, there are job centers. Although you might have thought these centers were for others, lots of people are using them now. The centers are funded by the government, usually a combination of federal, state, and local money.
When you locate the center in your area, find out if they are sponsoring any groups or workshops about job hunting. Join those groups. There you will meet new people who are in the same boat as you are, and you are likely to learn from them. There will also be speakers with various kinds of expertise.
Many job centers administer various assessments. Take them. You will learn new things about yourself. Be sure to ask whether they have an outline for a plan for finding employment that you can use. If not, create an outline yourself.
Sign up for whatever looks interesting to you at the center. Go there often. Find a staff person with whom you feel comfortable. Develop a relationship with that person. If it is appropriate, seek counseling through the center.
We all learn in many ways: alone, in one-on-one relationships, and in small groups. Put yourself in all three situations, and view yourself as a learner. Then you will really become one! Make a plan (learn alone), seek assessment and counseling (learn one on one), and join a small group or workshop (learn in small groups).
This is only one set of suggestions. There are many others. Remember, it is important to be a learner and to stay active in your job search. Try it, and let us know how these things work. Good luck! Ellie
By Elinor Miller Greenberg, EdD
Dear Ellie Blog