Today the largest, most valuable, and most ignored group of people on this earth are those between 45 and 80 years of age. This group is caught right in the vortex of the switch between the industrial and information ages. Time and technology are moving rapidly. It is causing a shift in how education, employment and information are being used. The thought process of survival is in flux. It changes day by day, minute by minute, second by second. It can feel like being caught in a horrific storm without an anchor. The thinking has to change. Twentieth century methodologies are giving way to twenty-first century realities.
When people are laid off from work, subconsciously or consciously it is looked at negatively. That was the twentieth century mindset. This mindset is now obsolete. Losing a job, in today's world, can mean a lot of things. It can mean someone is incompetent. More importantly, in the information age, it can mean the shelf life of the job has ended. It can mean the lifespan of the company is over. Sometimes, it can mean a better job may be coming soon.
Unemployment at middle age can be an awkward and frightening experience. The jobless worker has invaluable life experiences, but may not have any skills to compete in the world in which we live. Most jobs we have been accustomed to working on have not called on us to notice trends. We have not been taught how to position ourselves to be ready for emerging opportunities and the never-ending onslaught of emerging technologies. We, for the most part, have been conditioned to be followers. We have been told we can do anything we want to do. The catch is that we can do it only when someone else tells us to do it.
One important thing to remember, as well, is that people all over the world are experiencing this. The industrial age drove the world, just like the information age is now driving the planet. The 45 and over age group on the entire planet is experiencing the same thing.
As we get older, we tend to take on more responsibilities. We have families, bills and more health issues. When losing a job, we cannot turn back the clock and go back to school like when we were teenagers. Yet we still cannot be in our strong working years without a skill. So, what do we do?
A few suggestions:
Change our thinking on unemployment.
Unemployment is nothing to be ashamed of. It actually gives us time to sit back and take a break. Unless a job termination was unjust, and it was due to something beyond our control, there is nothing we could have done about it. Take a couple of days to blow off steam, rant, or complain, but get in the mindset to move on. This is not easy, but we must get adjusted to thinking this way. Unemployment in the information age is really not unusual. We just have to make up our minds how long we want to stay unemployed.