November 21, 2017

Shortcuts: Unemployed and Older, and Facing a Jobless Future

She wonders how to support him in his continued quest to find a job in his field of marketing and financial services while at the same time encouraging him to think about what his life would be like if he never worked in that field or had a full-time job again.

“I wanted to move to what I thought was a healthier place. I wanted to turn the page,” said my friend, who asked to be identified by her middle name, Shelley, since she didn’t want to publicize her family’s situation. “He saw it as vote of no confidence.”

For those over 50 and unemployed, the statistics are grim. While unemployment rates for Americans nearing retirement are lower than for young people who are recently out of school, once out of a job, older workers have a much harder time finding work. Over the last year, according to the Department of Labor, the average duration of unemployment for older people was 53 weeks, compared with 19 weeks for teenagers.

There are numerous reasons — older workers have been hit both by the recession and globalization. They’re more likely to have been laid off from industries that are downsizing, and since their salaries tend to be higher than those of younger workers, they’re attractive targets if layoffs are needed.

Even as they do all the things they’re told to do — network, improve those computer skills, find a new passion and turn it into a job — many struggle with the question of whether their working life as they once knew it is essentially over.

This is something professionals who work with and research the older unemployed say needs to be addressed better than it is now. Helping people figure out how to cope with a future that may not include work, while at the same time encouraging them in their job searches, is a difficult balance, said Nadya Fouad, a professor of educational psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Psychologists and others who counsel this cohort need to help them face the grief of losing a job, and also to understand that jobs and job-hunting are far different now from how they used to be.

“The contract used to be, ‘I am a loyal employee and you are a loyal employer. I promise to work for you my entire career and you train, promote, give benefits and a pension when I retire.’ Now you can’t count on any of that,” she said. “The onus is all on the employee to have a portfolio of skills that can be transferable.”

People in their 20s and 30s know that they need to market themselves and always be on the lookout for better opportunities, she said, something that may seem foreign to those in their 50s and 60s.

If a counselor or psychologist “doesn’t understand how the world of work has changed, they’re not helping at all,” she said. “You can’t just talk about how it feels.”

In response to this concern, Professor Fouad and her colleagues have drawn up guidelines for the American Psychological Association to help psychotherapists better assist their clients with workplace issues and unemployment. It is wending its way through the association’s committees.

Of course, not everyone who is unemployed and over 50 is equal. For some, the reality is that they need to find another job – any job – to survive. Others have resources that can allow them to spend more time looking for a job that might have the salary or status of their former position.

In the first case, Professor Fouad said, “You need to decide what is the minimum amount of money you can make and how to go about finding it.” In the second case, she said, it’s necessary to examine what work means to you and how that may have to change.

Is it the high social status? The identity? The relationship with co-workers?

It is important to examine these areas, perhaps with the help of a professional counselor, Professor Fouad said, to discover how to find such meaning or relationships in other areas of life.

Sometimes simply changing the way you look at your situation can help.

E-mail: shortcuts@nytimes.com

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/27/your-money/unemployed-and-older-and-facing-a-jobless-future.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Frequent Flier: Intrepid on the Set, but Rattled by Frail Planes

One afternoon, I was looking out the window of my apartment and I saw David Duchovny walking down the street. I called a friend and told him about seeing the “X-Files” guy. My friend then told me how huge the television and film industry was in Vancouver.

I heard about an audition for the “Ninja Turtles” TV series here. I went and did a front flip over a stuntman who was about six feet tall. I got the job and have been working in the stunt industry ever since.

I really enjoyed flying when I was younger. I’m 42 years old now and I’m not crazy about it. Maybe it has to do with being older and having a family. The one thing I really do like about flying is that it shows you just how connected we are.

I was traveling to New Zealand quite a bit since I was working on “The Hobbit” as the film’s sword master. On one of the connecting flights I was taking on my way back home, I noticed one of the flight attendants trying to get my attention. He spotted my stunt crew jacket and wanted to ask me if I was a stuntman. It turned out that the flight attendant knew the stunt coordinator who gave me my first full-time job as a double for the lead actor in a TV series.

Meeting people isn’t always that great. I was chatting with a seatmate, who turned out to be the former wife of a producer of a show I was working on. She wouldn’t stop complaining about the guy. I wanted to change seats. She just wouldn’t stop talking and telling me details about the marriage I did not want to know. There were no empty seats, and it turned into what seemed like the longest flight from Los Angeles to Vancouver ever.

Stunt work does push the boundaries, but safety is obviously very important. I realize flying is safe, but I don’t like not being in control.

I remember flying to Bucharest to work on a Jean-Claude Van Damme film. I was catching my connecting flight in Amsterdam and I was surprised by the age of the small, crowded airplane I was supposed to board. It was ancient and the fabric was ripped off the seats.

I was making my way down the aisle and I passed an older woman who was holding a chicken. I thought for a second maybe it was a fake chicken, but the thing clucked and ruffled its feathers, so I knew it was a live chicken. I turned to my co-worker and said, “We’re going to die.” Actually the flight was O.K. and the chicken was a good passenger, much more relaxed than me.

I was flying from Calgary to Vancouver recently. When we reached cruising altitude, the plane turned around and started rapidly descending. The pilot announced there was a crack in the cockpit window and we were heading back to Calgary. I was with my family, so my wife and I tried to stay strong for the kids, but we were both worried.

Actually, I was the one who was most worried. My kids and wife were doing pretty well. When we landed, I told them I was driving to Vancouver. I’m sure my kids thought I was just being funny. I wasn’t.

By Steve McMichael, as told to Joan Raymond. E-mail: joan.raymond@nytimes.com.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/business/intrepid-on-the-set-but-rattled-by-frail-planes.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

The Boss: Sharon Daniels of AchieveGlobal, on Her Love of Coaching

We moved to Immokalee, a farming community not far from Naples. My father managed the agricultural supplies store. I attended the local school, where all the students, through high school, were taught on one campus.

The summer after sixth grade, I wanted to earn some money, so I opened a baby-sitting service in our house. I watched over four, and sometimes more, children a day. At 14, I started working as a waitress at a nearby family-owned restaurant after church on Sundays and during the summers. Back then, no one even thought about a minimum working age. The pay was $1 an hour plus tips.

The next fall, I got a job in a packing house, grading tomatoes — whether they were too ripe or too green — to earn money for holiday gifts. I was soon promoted to boxing tomatoes. I had other after-school jobs, working in a men’s clothing store, in billing at a water plant and at the local bank, which had an elevator — now that was something for our one-stoplight town.

After I started college in 1972, first at the University of South Florida then at the University of Florida in Gainesville, I worked at the bank in the summers, mostly filing checks. At the end of the second summer, I was promoted to teller, which was a bigger deal then because the whole town ran on cash. On Fridays, tellers were handling as much as $250,000 in cash to employers to meet their payrolls.

I majored in education and after graduation moved to Orlando. But I couldn’t find a full-time job, so I briefly worked as a substitute teacher. A local bank called and offered me a full-time job. I worked there 19 years, starting in Orlando. Over the decades, the bank would merge and become part of a larger network, Southeast Bank, and I was able to realize my passion for coaching others when I joined the bank’s training department.

I met my husband, David, who is a C.P.A., when we were working in Orlando. We married in 1980 and had three children: two girls and a boy. Seven years later, we moved when David took a job in Tampa.

In 1991, I joined Kaset International, which marketed customer service training. In 1998, Kaset merged with Learning International and Zenger Miller to become AchieveGlobal, to help companies with leadership development, sales effectiveness and customer service. The next year, 1999, I headed sales for the new company in the Eastern states.

After a year, I took a job as president and chief executive of Communispond, a communications training company in New York. Four years later, in 2004, I returned to AchieveGlobal. The business was rocky after the 2008 recession began, but we are now in more than 40 countries, with a staff of 600 people. Our parent company is the training and events organizer Informa, which is traded on the London Stock Exchange.

We still supply 50 percent of our training in the classroom, but companies are increasingly seeking flexible solutions, like combining learning in class with videos or mobile and tablet applications so employees can learn at their own pace.

Over the years, I’ve been able to use my skills for volunteer work in crisis counseling and pregnancy counseling. And my coaching and mentoring skills have come in handy in raising our children. I made a list of tasks they should master by age 18, including making their own doctor appointments and mending their own clothes. They seem pretty self-sufficient now, so I guess it worked.

As told to Elizabeth Olson.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/jobs/sharon-daniels-of-achieveglobal-on-her-love-of-coaching.html?partner=rss&emc=rss