In 2008, life was good. I had a job and salary that were great, had been there for 6 years, and planned to work there until retirement but they restructured and eliminated positions, one of which was mine. I easily found another job but during that time my health and surgery interfered and after two years, I left. Also during that time, the job market and job searching changed and to my dismay, all of the search was now done online and it was much harder to find a job. Unemployment was my safety net but it wouldn’t last forever! And, I was now in my 60’s. And this is when my husband of 30 years decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. Stand up guy, right?
So what did I do? I first trained to be a Behavior Assistant and got hired by the agency my son worked for. This is client based and fluctuates in schedule based on how many clients you are assigned so I couldn’t count on this income alone. So I also became a reading tutor. And then I created a Chair Exercise program for Seniors and partnered with a non -profit to work under their grant. And I became an ordained minister so that I could officiate at weddings but actually never did this because I realized how hard it would be to navigate while using a cane, trying to hold the prayer book, rings, etc. And, I became a writer!
I became a writer through interesting circumstances. I was in a knitting club and one of the members was talking about her ghost writing business and happened to mention Examiner.com. After asking her what seemed like a million questions, I decided to try it too. She helped me get started and I became the Atlantic City Area Child Development Examiner Writer. To my surprise, I was good at it and people actually read what I wrote! In my first year, I had about 1000 views of my articles, which isn’t very much but to me, it seemed like 10,000. In my second year, I added two titles, Frugal Living and Sewing and so far this year, have had 2200 views in my first 4 months. Again, this probably isn’t much but it’s exciting for me and I feel good about it.
Fast forward until 2014 and money is still a struggle but I’m hanging in there and brainstorming new ideas all the time. Things can only go up, right? I’m still writing for Examiner, still teaching chair exercise and tutoring, still working as a Behavior Assistant but have added a part time job in the transportation department of the area school system. I do that every afternoon and it has some stability that the other jobs lack. However, I’m still looking and actually have an interview for a 10 hour a week job as a Family Advocate. I’ll let you know how I do!
You’d think with all that, I’d have plenty of money but you’d be wrong. Southern NJ is not a great place for jobs or salaries unless you work in retail or food, and they don’t pay much. (Nor can you do them if you use a cane)
I’ve learned that job hunting in your 60’s is no joke. You can hide your age in a resume but get to that “year of graduation” question on that online application and you’re sunk. It won’t let you move forward if you don’t answer it and putting 00/00/0000 doesn’t work either. No getting around that unless you lie! I’ve changed my resume a dozen times, added “key words”, changed the format, use different resumes for different fields, personalize cover letters, etc. and almost every time, have gotten NO response or interview. Note: In the past, I got just about every job I interviewed for, always worked my way into a top position, and know that I interview well so that isn’t the problem.) And now, not only is age a factor but health is too. How many job descriptions now include “the ability to lift 25 pounds, stand, and walk” as a way to screen. For a desk job? Really?? And I can’t do any of those things,.
So, it hasn’t been easy but one thing I’m not is a quitter. It’s taking a little longer then I thought it would but I will succeed and have my life back. I will have freedom from money worries and have the ability to enjoy the rest of my life. I am determined!
Now I need a break and of course, you know that this means a cup of tea and a book! A great destressor!! We’ll talk again soon!