Giving a Voice to the Unheard

Over the past few weeks, in the process of gathering supporting information for an interview with the Wall Street Journal, I had put out several calls for individual stories.

I received many emails from many of you who had your histories to share. Some of the stories were fantastic — courageous, successful…50 plussers who had been able to take the bull by the horns and find employment: a Native American woman, who against all odds and escaping from a horribly abusive personal situation, went back to school and found a specialization in helping others; a corporate executive, leaving the corporate world to start a business in premium gift items at 50 plus; a businessman who left the corporate lifestyle in the ’80’s and continues to run a successful, entrepreneurial home-based business…and many others.

Others of you have shared your thoughts regarding foreign job outsourcing, having lost jobs as companies move operations out of the US. My personal opinion (I’ll post on this separately) is that, because everything is cyclical, the operations that can benefit from overseas ops will take advantage of the cost savings. However, running any remote operation is extremely challenging and the consumer will dictate what will and will not be serviced or run remotely. There will always be jobs here and from where I look at the jobscape, within five years, employers will be pursuing 50 plussers in droves — in all areas of business, but particularly in those that rely on the customer relationship.

At the same time, I also received submissions from many of you who are in dire straits — having been laid off, fired, counselled out, downsized — many due to unproveable age discrimination. The situations you shared with me were very tough and the fact that you chose to share your story, courageous. It is one thing to see that you are about to lose your home, having already used up what little retirement savings you had set aside, or to move back in with your children because you can no longer to afford to live on your own, or to be looking for work for over two years without a single prospect…yes, it is one thing to recognize those challenges in your lives. It is entirely another to write them down in an email or a blog comment, and to share and bare all with a complete stranger (me).

I want to take a moment to acknowledge those of you who have done that. I may not have had the time to get back to you yet this week, but I will. Your situations are very, very tough, and you are brave to put your fears into words and share your thoughts and frustrations with me. Sometimes, by giving yourself a voice, you can set a new path in motion.

Employers may not hiring you…yet…but you are definitely being heard.

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