I am 60 years old and proud of it!
My friends of the same age like to say that 60 is the new 40…..and honestly I think it is the truth!
I retired from teaching in May 2014. I was 59 years young and wanted to do something different. Thinking that I was more marketable in my late fifties than my early sixties I decided to bite the bullet and retire from education. I was sure I would have no problem finding another job.
Boy was I wrong and totally unprepared for what I was about to face.
Since I was 13 years old I have never been without a job. If I wanted to work I could find a job. Interviews were a breeze and I always went away with an offer. Today’s work world is a completely new experience. Everything is online. You fill out an application, attach your resume, click send, and then hope. You hope it went to the right place. You hope you did everything correctly. You hope you will get a call. And then you wait. And wait, and wait for an email or phone call, some sign that someone thinks you might be the right person for the job.
Most of the time you hear nothing. NOTHING! Not even a thanks for your application. Thanks for taking the time to jump thru all of our hoops. Even a “No Thanks” would have been greatly appreciated. The silence was deafening.
I finally talked with a friend who works for a large company in their Human Resource department. She enlightened me as to what the problem was, my age. I was astounded. MY AGE! What does that have to do with anything? I’m not old. I have experience, tons of experience. She explained that sometimes that works against you, along with your age. I was incensed. How dare someone determine me unfit for a job by just looking at my age. I am more than a number.
I wrote up a new cover letter. I needed a gimmick to get their attention away from my age. Being a creative, hard working individual, I just needed something to set me apart from the others. I sat down and came up with following:
The Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Hire Me
1. I need this job. I do not live with my parents.
3. After 23 years of working in public schools I have acquired a cast iron immune system. I never get sick.
4. Teenagers do not scare me. Teenagers in an art room with sharp objects and tools do not scare me; therefore, NOTHING scares me.
5. I have successfully managed 32 students aged 14-19 in a classroom designed for 18. I can manage adults…blindfolded.
6. I do not consider flip-flops professional attire.
7. My pants are worn so that my undergarments do not show, and I wear undergarments.
8. My phone is a phone, not an extension of my hand.
9. I know how to tell time. I can read a clock, analog or digital. I come to work on time and do not leave early. Sometimes I stay late to finish my work.
10. I want to work.
I never sent out that cover letter. I didn’t have to. I found a job, a great job. Mike Whiteside had told me to come see him once I left teaching. I thought he was just being kind. What the heck, I thought, what did I have to lose? After dropping off my resume I got a call for an interview and I got the job.
Mike and Robert weren’t afraid of my age. As a matter of fact they appreciate my age, my knowledge, and my work ethic. My job has evolved into a dream job. I came on board as a researcher, and am now also running the paint studio, teaching the paint classes, and doing the finish work on our custom builds in the shop. I am using my talents and knowledge in a wonderful, new, positive way. I am successfully re-purposed. I up-cycled myself!
I work with people aged 21-59 at Black Dog. There is no discrimination about being the oldest DAWG at the DOG. I am not the “Old DAWG”. What I am is a member of a great team. Here at Black Dog age is just a number we recognize once a year, and then we celebrate the person.
Next time you are looking to hire someone do yourself a favor and look past the age of that person. Focus on the person who has earned all those years. Their packaging may be a bit wrinkled, but remember, it’s what’s on the inside that counts.