The Stars Are Not In Alignment

Hello Boomers,

Yesterday I spoke to a friend who is still unemployed after many months of searching for a new position.  Our talk made me think about the friends, colleagues and acquaintances who are still searching after losing their jobs during the most recent economic contraction.

They were among the millions of employees affected by downsizing.  Many have already found new positions.  So why do these few continue to struggle?  They have been rewarded, awarded, and decorated for their past service, their efforts, and their achievements.   They were “Stars” in the industry.

Each is an accomplished sales person who drove market share for their companies.  Each had a long, very successful career with their former employers.  Each stayed on top of technology and continued to learn, polishing their skills and abilities while they continued to work hard to drive their business.  Each has received awards for stellar sales results. 

Some have been honored for their exemplary leadership skills.  Most have been promoted – some several times. Each is outgoing, an engaged listener, gregarious, and a skilled conversationalist.  So why haven’t they been able to use their  highly developed sales skills to convince prospective employers that their accomplishments, their knowledge, their experiences, their abilities, make them excellent candidates worthy of the positions to which they aspire? 

As I thought about their situations I realized that while they were the “Stars” of the company, they are also all “older” workers.   They passed the big 40.  Some passed the bigger 50.  Some look real good while others have a few more lines in their faces, perhaps a few more pounds around the middle.  But none present poorly.  They all are professional, and present professional personas, professional demeanors, and great personal brands.  They all “clean up real good.”  They are all energetic and engaged.  They all want to continue to work, most for many years to come.  

When you are a “Star”, it shouldn’t be so hard to compete against younger candidates in the same industry.  Many will lack the breadth and depth of experience that an older worker possesses.  Many will not yet have filled a teacher, mentor, or leadership role.  Many will have sold far fewer products to far fewer types of customers.  And many still seeking to build a career will jump ship as soon as a better opportunity presents itself.  So why are these older workers finding it so difficult to find new positions in an industry that continues to hire?

Perhaps they struggle because they have committed the greatest career blunder of all – getting “too old.”  Perhaps they are facing ageism which is illegal but very hard to prove.  Perhaps employers took notice when a recent Supreme Court ruling made it even harder.  I think this ugly trend has become highly visible in the industry that shed my friend, my colleagues, my acquaintances.    When NONE of the older employees that I knew, all “Stars”, have successfully landed positions but  ALL of the younger candidates that I knew, many not yet “Stars”  have found new positions, can it really be anything else?  


One Response to “The Stars Are Not In Alignment”

  1. vancilmAdvida Says:

    Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!


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