The Public Relations Strategist

A Senior Moment: Over 50 and Looking for a New Job

April 26, 2016

[colorblind/corbis]
[colorblind/corbis]

Every year, at least 50 men and women who worked in corporations or PR agencies show up at my door, looking for work or advice on how to find a job. Most of these people are over the age of 50.

Many start off with hubris — who they know, what they have done, how fortunate their next employer will be.

But in the end, everyone is scared. They have come to the realization that they are no longer needed.

They don’t know what to do next, but they do know they need jobs. After all, studies show that 37 percent of near-retirees anticipate working for pay in retirement.

In fact, there are now more than 100 million men and women in the United States who are over 50 and thinking about what to do in the next stage of their lives. It became obvious to me that the 50-plus worker needs guidance, which is a major reason I wrote “50 Plus! Critical Career Decisions for the Rest of Your Life.”

Those who were fired never saw it coming, until I point out to them that the handwriting was on the wall. I ask them: “Was your boss on your case all the time? Were you asked to provide detailed reports on time sheets, or were your expenses unnecessarily scrutinized? Do you have a new boss, and is he or she much younger than you? Does the new boss go directly to your subordinates and intentionally leave you out of the loop? Is everyone heading off to a conference in Marrakech, but your presence is not required?” These are all signs that your days are numbered.

When I started The Dilenschneider Group 25 years ago, I put together a team of the best people I could find — many of them who were over the age of 50. I like working with experienced pros who don’t need a lot of direction, can work as a team, have contacts in the media and know how to run a business without minute-by-minute supervision.

My firm is very successful. Much of that success came after I turned 50.

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