Hello, and welcome to The Brown Parachute Club. If this is your first time reading this blog, you may be thinking, “What’s up with the name of this website?” Well, when you reach retirement, it’s been said that you receive a “Golden Parachute”. It will enable you to land softly and hit the ground running in your “Golden Years”.
To those of us who are laid off before we reach retirement age, we receive the “Brown Parachute”. If the Golden Parachute is filled with Gold, I’ll let you figure out what the Brown Parachute is filled with.
If you have recently joined The Brown Parachute Club, this article is about your hidden nemesis, Age Discrimination. As I will show you, it comes in many forms, and it’s the main reason there are so many members of TBPC.
When I was laid off in February of 2014 I figured, “Well, this sucks, but I should be able to get another job eventually.” Uh, no. At least not in my field of Data Backup and Recovery, where I had over 30 years of experience. I also couldn’t find work in the Audio / Visual field, where I had 6 years of experience. I even applied for Technical Support jobs (which I hated) and I didn’t get any nibbles there either.
“What is wrong with me?” “Why am I not getting called for any interviews?” “I’m qualified for these jobs!” “What’s going on?” These are all questions I asked myself when I was unable to get a job during the first six months after being laid off.
At that time, I had no idea The Brown Parachute Club even existed. As of 2012, there were over 2.1 million people between the ages of 55 and 65 who had been laid off before they reached retirement. Given the state of the economy in recent years, do you think that number has increased or decreased? Had I known about this, I might have felt a little better about myself. After all, misery loves company.
It’s not that I didn’t try to find work. I was signed up with so many headhunters, I could have been cast in the fictitious movie, “Abbott and Costello Meet the Headhunters!” Where Bud and Lou get laid off ten years away from retirement and try in vain to find jobs! I did get calls from some of the headhunters from time to time. They would tell me that I was perfect for a job that just came across their desk! Only to never hear back from them again about the position.
Of course, if you have been unemployed for a while, and you are in the 55 – 65 age group, none of this is news to you. What you may not realize is that Age Discrimination is real, and it is the “Silent Killer” of your career.
Many companies are laying off people our age, simply because they are trying to cut costs. They go after people like us, with the most seniority, who are making the most money in their departments, because we’re easy targets.
That wouldn’t be so bad if most people our age had scaled back their debt and financial obligations. However, many of us still owe on our cars, house, and college debt for the kids. How are we supposed to keep up those payments with no job? “Not our problem”, says your former employer.
What you don’t realize when you apply for a job online is that in many cases, “Human Eyes” are never viewing your résumé. It’s not Age Discrimination if a computer is discriminating against you. There are certain “Key Words and Phrases” that a Résumé Database Scanner looks for. These word and phrase combinations can be positive, or in our case, negative. I’m sure I’ve been the victim of “Résumé Math” on more than one occasion. When a Résumé Database Scanner starts putting 2 + 2 together, the resulting answer is “OLD!”
What company is going to hire you at your old salary, when it can hire some kid fresh out of school for a third of what they were paying you? It’s simple economics, the type where you get the short end of the stick. Even if they were willing to pay you what they were going to pay the kid, why should they hire you? When you only have a handful of good years left. Taylor, fresh out of college, can work for them until he (or she) is your age. Then they can make him (or her) a member of The Brown Parachute Club as well!
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m sure there are plenty of fields where your age is irrelevant to your job prospects and may actually improve them. However, for the rest of us, being old sucks. And not just because of the wonderful new aches and pains that we discover each morning!
A recent article in Forbes illustrates how widespread the problem is. In a letter to a blogger, a letter-writer details an experience he had with a potential client. Without giving away too much of the article, at one point a young recruiter tells the letter-writer, “At your age, you’d better take what you can get!” The writer of this letter is a consultant with his own very successful business, and he STILL gets hit with this attitude! If he catches this kind of crap, what kind of hope do we have?
Age Discrimination is exceedingly hard to prove. How can you say that you were discriminated against if you never get called for an interview in the first place? If your résumé is never seen by “Human Eyes”, how can a “Human Reviewer” ever be called in for a deposition? It’s much easier to have the Résumé Database Scanner do the discriminating for you!
I’m sorry to paint such a rosy picture, but I don’t believe in sugarcoating the truth. And the truth is, unless you have experience in a job that’s in very high demand, you may be looking for work for a very, very, very long time.
However, all is not lost! That’s why I started this website. I wanted to help folks during this difficult time in their lives. There are many Side Hustle and Work From Home jobs listed here that might help you earn some extra cash, to help you dig out of a financial hole. There may also be some information that will help you to set some goals, become more disciplined, stop procrastinating, lose weight and much more. Just remember, giving up is not an option! See you next week.
If you like what you’re reading on TBPC, please leave a comment and share the website with your friends. Also, if you would like to be notified of new posts to this blog, please click on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner. Until next week, may your parachute fully deploy, and may you have a soft landing!