Job Hunting in 2019
Older people job hunting these days will find that the process is dramatically different from when they first entered the market. Long gone are the days of going to businesses and requesting an application or looking in the want ads of your local paper for a job. Online applications or job sites such as Indeed and Monster have moved the job search online.
Online job hunting can be more challenging. Weeding out the good positions from the bad, wondering if the reviews are accurate, and filling in the same forms over and over, can make it a daunting task. My daughter went through the process 2 years ago in her search for her first job. She told me that even though she uploaded her resume, she had to retype the same information into an online form for each job application. Some companies are using bots to review applicants and sort them before a person even looks at them.
Read more about online job sites in this article on CNBC.com.
Are job search platforms dehumanizing the process and making it easier for companies to discriminate? Many older workers or non-native English speakers find online platforms confusing and forms that are difficult to complete. There have been reports of some online job sites featuring drop-down menus to select dates that do not go back far enough. Although listing your age isn’t required, employers can do the math to figure out your approximate age based on years listed for education and jobs.
For older adults forced to make a change late in life, finding a new job can be a challenge. Two programs that may provide some assistance during the transition include AARP’s Back to Work 50+ and the National Council on Aging’s (NCOA) Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).
Senior Citizens Living in Poverty
The 2008 recession has had long-lasting, negative effects on many segments of our population, especially workers who were nearing retirement at the time of the crisis. Imagine being 60 years old and suddenly unemployed, your pension (if there was one) is gone and you find yourself looking for work in a job market filled with low paying jobs and no benefits. You are only 5 years from retirement and suddenly you find that you are draining your savings just to survive.
Reverse mortgages are heavily marketed to seniors as a way to be able to afford to stay in their homes longer. For many Americans there home is their largest asset and when the money runs out it can become a source of funds. Reverse mortgages are not new, they have been around since 1961 and can in some situations be an alternative to selling a home and downsizing.
In short, a reverse mortgage pays the homeowner a monthly sum in exchange for a repayment when the house is sold. The homeowner must be 62 or older and during the period of the reverse mortgage does not pay a mortgage payment. The amount of money a person can get is based on a percentage of their home equity. Noted financial guru Dave Ramsey is not in favor of these loans.
An article by Patricia Barnes on forbes.com examines a serious consequence of the reverse mortgage – homes are no longer inherited by the next generation. Failure to pay property taxes and maintain homeowners insurance can result in the foreclosure.
30 Years of Hard Work and Nothing in the Bank
How can it be that a person can work hard for 20-30 years and as they enter their “golden years” find all of their resources depleted? There are those who will say that these struggling seniors failed to plan or didn’t work hard enough. I wish it were that simple. Seniors face many challenges including rising housing, medical, and prescription drug costs. The burden can be especially high on retirees who relied on the income of a spouse and did not accumulate many individual benefits or savings. Greater numbers of older adults than ever are working well past 65. These senior workers often don’t have a choice in the matter, they must continue earning money to pay for essentials.
Take Off the Blinders
Horses wear leather or plastic shield called blinders, to prevent them from seeing beside or behind. This keeps them from becoming distracted or panicked. In our modern, unequal society, people wear metaphorical blinders that prevent them from seeing the great inequality that has developed in our country. There are 327.2 million people living in the U.S. and millions of them are living economically secure lives. 43 million Americans live at or below the federal poverty line.
In our mobile society, it is easy for people to avoid the areas of town where poverty is prevalent. Out of sight, out of mind. Generations of people have fled the cities and moved to the suburbs creating vast areas of urban sprawl. The sprawl continues to grow outward each year often leaving decay and poverty behind in the oldest and inner ring of the urban circle. Then the “hip” people come back and rebuild a neighborhood while forcing the long-time residents out by raising rents and taxes. The term for this has a nice ring to it – gentrification – unfortunately for many people, it means displacement.
We build invisible walls to keep poverty out of sight. High rents and property taxes ensure that people with limited means will not move into the neighborhood. Mass transit is restricted as this could bring the wrong type of people to the area. The message is clear – stay on your side of the tracks.
Together we can work to change our world for the better!