Job Loss At 61

by Donna

I am 61 years old. I have to work. I've been at the same company for 21 years, no retirement but great flexibility which I needed while raising children & now at my age for caring for disabled husband.

The company is going broke & very soon I won't have a job to go to. How does a 60 something gal find a new job? I am the office manager. What would help?

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Job Loss At 61
by: Cherry

It must be a real shock to find you will be without a job after 21 years with the same company – like the carpet is being whipped out from under your feet. So it is not surprising if you are feeling a bit vulnerable. However, it is important to look at the positives you can bring to this situation rather than just see it as a back hole you are about to fall into.

So you have been an office manager for 21 years? My immediate reaction is that you will, without doubt, have collected a wide range of invaluable skills and experience over that time. Your task is to brainstorm all that you have to offer so that you can present it in a positive way to potential employers.

Here are a few of the skills & qualities you will probably be able to offer:
Administration (and that covers many different things)
Attention to detail
Business awareness
Common sense
Communicating effectively
Co-operating with others
Co-ordinating work flow
Coping with pressure
Customer care
Implementing management decisions
Influencing others
Investigating what needs to be done
Managing change
Meeting deadlines
Memorising details
Motivating others
Organising people/events/processes
Planning work
Presenting work in written and/or verbal format
Problem solving
Rapport building
Recruiting staff
Self starter
Taking responsibility
Team work
Training staff

I would be surprised if you can’t claim the majority of these, so yes, you have a lot to offer! Be proud of that and be ready to sell it when you are talking to recruiters.

You'll find more tips on assessing your skills here

You mention your age and technological skills as challenges you face. Well, I would make sure that your age does not appear on any applications so it is not an issue and as far as technological skills are concerned, it is never too late to learn. Seek out someone who knows their way round a computer and get them to teach you, in small steps. It is not difficult, just a matter of familiarity and practice. So start now. Commit to learning one new thing a day or a week and your skill level will grow quickly.

Bottom line - you need to cultivate the mindset that you are very employable (and I have no doubt that you are). If you don’t believe this then it will be difficult for you to persuade employers.

You may find that some of the ideas in my article on career change in midlife are relevant to you too. A lot of it is about really valuing what you have got.

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