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If You’re Over 50 and Unemployed, Don’t Miss This Site


If you find yourself among the ranks of older job hunters, one of the most valuable resources to emerge from the Great Recession is also among the most poignant: a website called Over 50 and Out of Work.

Started by Susan M. Sipprelle, a writer, journalist and photographer, the website documents the stories of the nation’s unemployed through 100 video interviews. Each is a compelling and wrenching portrait of older Americans grappling with the loss of jobs, identities and hope.

The mission of the project, which is privately funded, is to help individuals age 50-plus “get back into the labor force by improving the cultural perception of older workers and by influencing public policy changes that will make it easier for them to find re-employment.”

The website, though, offers much beyond personal stories. It also contains a number of invaluable interviews with experts in aging and employment – including academics, attorneys, economists, authors and elected officials, among others – which can help individuals with their job search.

Some examples:

– Laurie McCann, a senior litigation attorney at AARP, the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, addresses age discrimination, how to file a charge of age discrimination and offers tips for older job hunters.

– David Mathison, a media consultant and author of “Be the Media,” discusses how older adults seeking a job can take advantage of social media.

– David DeLong, a research fellow at MIT’s AgeLab and author of “Lost Knowledge: Confronting the Threat of an Aging Workforce,” explains, in a 32-minute video, how individuals can “maximize the success of their job search.”

– Marcie Pitt-Catsouphes, director of the Sloan Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, talks about the negative perceptions that employers often have about older workers and how job hunters can overcome such stereotypes.

– David Bank and Marci Alboher, both vice presidents at Civic Ventures, a San Francisco-based nonprofit focused on expanding the contributions of older Americans, discuss Civic Ventures’ efforts and offer advice about networking and volunteering for job seekers.

Up next for the website’s team: producing a documentary that focuses on the 100 stories featured online.


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    • I have recently started a website, the information you provide on this site has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.

    • I am one of the 100 interviewees. I was let go when my employer had a loss of business in December 2008. I received unemployment benefits and performed some consulting projects. I have now exhausted by unemployment benefits. My TOTAL income from these consulting assignments over the past two plus years is less than the salary that I earned in my prior job.

      I work in Public Relations and Marketing Communications. As a consequence of budget cuts that led to loss of my jobs many times (budget cuts either by my employer or by the client of my employer), I have been out of work for 25% of my career.

      Here’s what that 25% loss of employment and income means:

      It undermines salary growth, because employers won’t pay up for someone who is unemployed.

      The gap affects saving for retirement; when not working, it’s tough to put money away and there is no employer to match contributions.

      It inhibits professional development; the skills strengthened in job search are not the same as those honed in day-to-day job performance.

      It makes employers think that there is something amiss because the candidate has serial unemployment.

      Has a prospective employer ever asked a prior supervisor, “Why didn’t you try harder to keep Jane Doe at your company when she was so successful at helping your business grow?”

      These 3-7 minute vignettes are extremely moving and yet they barely scratch the surface of the story.

    • to continue…..having watched a small portion of Sen. Harkin’s performance…..that is all that it is-THEATER TO JUSTIFY THEIR PENSIONS. It our congresses down the line since 1976 and on, who have “caused” this “downturn(DEPRESSION). QUESTION….why wasn’t the SEC investigating Wall Street…because Wall Street, and the lobbyists, and our own government caused this Depression…giving loans to people who couldn’t afford them, pushing the “401′s” thereby “ginning up the stockmarket…….it’s been sweet for all of them, and now the Jenga Tower is collapsing. But don’t worry all…..they have pocketed their monies, get their fat government pensions, and OUR CHILDREN WILL BE FACED WITH A THIRD WORLD ECONOMY.

      So much for all those who died in the wars protecting this once great country. For what…to see it come to this>>> all of our major manufacturing shipped overseas. Much of this due to the UNIONS. Wonder how many of their dues-paying members know that their pensions are backed up by GATZ….We have all been “taken for a ride” by those we TRUSTED !!!!!!

    • I have been reading thru all of the stories, and have found this site to be profoundly eye-opening. This represents just the “tip of the iceberg” of this great recession. The devastation they all have endured is being ignored “in toto” by most of the large media. Their stories are truly tragic. I cannot stop thinking about how “blindsided” they all seem to be.

      I am a 63 yr old boomer, who fortunately, works in county government. Mine is the generation having its eyes brutally opened up to this depression. This situation has NOT GOTTEN THE COVERAGE it is due. This whole situation has been swept under the rug. A large segment of our economy has been wiped out, and will never return to what it was. The INFRACTURE OF IT HAS BEEN UNDERMINED

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  • Encore examines the changing nature of retirement, from new rules and guidelines for financial security to the shifting identities and priorities of today’s retirees. The blog also explores news that affects retirement, from the Wall Street Journal Digital Network and around the web. Lead bloggers are reporter Catey Hill and senior editor Jeremy Olshan. Other contributors include The Wall Street Journal’s retirement columnists Glenn Ruffenach and Anne Tergesen; the Director for the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, Alicia Munnell; and the Director of Research for Pinnacle Advisory Group, Michael Kitces, CFP.