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Tales from the US: “I’ll be working until the end”

by on October 13, 2014

While not an article that headlines age issues, this piece from NBC entitled “Highly Educated, Unemployed and Tumbling down the ladder“, features personal stories of those over 40 who are struggling with long-term unemployment.  Many of the cases that are featured have returned to study later in life (to complete an MBA for example) and are also struggling with student debts while worrying about funding their children’s college education.

It is not always easy to feel sympathy for all those covered – having two houses and complaining about cash flow is a quite a difficult sell.  Though as the article points out these individuals often had ‘further to fall’ and increased financial liabilities that they often (according to the stories reported) didn’t really seem to face up to straight away)

But a common theme is those who find themselves job hunting after many years of a career on an upward trajectory is hard to avoid.  And at that point it seems difficult not to conclude that age discrimination is a key factor.

In the article, an interviewee called Gomez says “I have been applying and looking for pretty much anything at this stage…I applied to a supermarket as a deli clerk because I used to be a deli clerk as a teenager,”.  He was told he was overqualified and turned down.

The article highlights that in looking for entry and lower management jobs than they previously held those “tumbling down the ladder” bump up against those on the way up who are typically at least ten years longer and without a period of unemployment on their CV.

As one interviewee says of taking minimum wage and temporary jobs as a result of being unable to find a permanent position : “I probably won’t retire. I probably will be working until the end the way things look now”.

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