Looking for work isn’t what it used to be.

I have been looking for a new role on and off for about a year now. It used to be a great place to work, but structural and leadership changes at the top have completely changed the culture of the organisation I work for currently and now I am one of many unhappy people there who would love to leave the organisation.

Fortunately or unfortunately I am in a role which pays me exceptionally well.  Fortunately because clearly earning good money is very helpful in the current economic climate, unfortunately because it is making it very hard for me to find a replacement position which would not require me to take a substantial pay cut.

Years ago I studied part-time while working and got to diploma level and decided to have a break while leaving the door open to continue on to degree level.  I could never quite face going back to the grind of part-time study and so now I find myself qualified by experience, but lacking the all important pieces of paper now considered essential by employers.

So why don’t I just get on with it and carry on with study?  To be honest I still can’t really face the thought of study and these days the cost of study is horrendous. I always thought I would be doing something different by now anyway.  I never had any interest in being a high-flying corporate individual and always thought that maybe by now I would be working hard for me rather than someone else.

To make matters worse I am on the cusp of that dreaded age where prospective employers consider you too old to be of value to their organisation.I don’t really understand that point of view in employers.  Wouldn’t you think that mature people bring to the work place lots of experience and great work ethic?  Without having family commitments to keep me out of the office during family sickness and school holidays, wouldn’t that make me more reliable as a worker and therefore make me a valuable addition to the work place?

The job market is really tough at the moment.  I have never experienced anything quite like it in the 26 years I have been working. I have always found it easy to find new roles in the past, I am hard-working and have great experience and now although I have applied for many positions, I have not even been granted a face to face interview.  The best I have achieved is a phone interview.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of jobs advertised for which I meet the requirements to even consider applying.

I am starting to feel like I should just be grateful in the face of rising unemployment that I even have a job.  People keep telling me about someone they know who has lost their job through company downsizing and then can’t find anything else because of their age.  That is really scary.

When I read back to myself what I have written here it just sounds like I am making a whole lot of excuses for doing nothing.  But if I am really honest with myself a lot of my inactivity is based on fear.  Fear is so paralysing and makes us weak and ineffective.  But somehow I need to throw it off and step out because life is too short to be miserable because of a job.

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  1. HI! You bring up so many interesting issues relevant to all women especially in this economy. In terms of discrimination and a woman’s perceived value as she ages, I’ve found that there are certain fields that are more “mature/experienced worker” friendly: non profit management, higher educational administration, academia….
    But with that said, I think it is important to dig deep and do some serious soul searching about what makes us happy and what position fulfills your heart’s needs. There is nothing worse than going to work for 8 hours a day when you feel your soul is dying a little every day. The clock goes by so very slow…you feel sad, underused and undervalued…you know you were give certain talents that make you so awesome, but those talents are veiled at your workplace because you cannot use them here. Since your talents are so integral to your core and your happiness, you feel very down. For me, while I love a big paycheck, I refuse to lose my personal happiness because of the pay. But, with that said, sometimes financial responsibilities force us to stay at jobs for far longer than we’d want to. In those cases, supplement an fulfilling job with hobbies that make your heart smile….exercise, meditate, volunteer at an animal shelter, journal, join a mentoring organization, join a book club, etc…something that adds value to your life and makes you feel loyal to your own dreams…Good Luck!

    • Thank you solescorner for your very thoughtful and inciteful comments. I feel like you have looked between the lines of what I have written and uncovered what I feel but have left unsaid. I only wish it was only 8 hours a day I was working, then I might not feel so exhausted all the time. A normal day for me at the moment is a minimum of 10 hours but often 12 hours plus as I am doing my own job and another role that the company has been unable to fill and there is no end in sight currently. (I’m not very good at saying no) You are quite right it is sole destroying spending so much of your awake hours doing something which makes you miserable. It also chips away at your confidence and makes you feel trapped. I actually don’t care about the money from a status perspective, but as the main earner in my household we are very dependent on my income at the moment. Having said that reading what you have written and goodoldgirl as well has made me acknowledge that actually I do know what I want to do, which is half of the battle really isn’t it? I think I have been daunted by what I see as obstacles between getting from what I am doing now to what I really want to do, but you have both inspired me. I think I need to think of it in a different way. Instead of focussing on the obstacles I need to look at what I need to do in order to make it happen and break it down into smaller more achievable tasks. Thank you so much for taking the time to respond to my blog. What you have written has been enourmously helpful.

  2. Your story sounds a lot like mine. I never finished college but managed to land a job at a large corporation and after 19 yeras had worked my way up to a director level position. Lots of money but due to management changes I grew to dislike working there. Four and a half yearas ago I was downsized. Fortunately, I received great severence alllowing me to relax a bit and think through what I wanted to do next. After a year and one week I was lucky enough to land a job that uses all my experience in an environment that I can embrace — but at half pay. That was a shocker but looking back I realize that I’m happier now than I’ve been in decades and healthier as well. During that year, I took a class on creating websites with DreamWeaver. It helped me land the job I have and opened doors, for example my blog, that I never would have even considered before. So, my advice is to think about what you really want and then go for it.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your own experience goodoldgirl. It is really encouraging to hear how you have worked through this and come out of it so much happier. You have inspired me! It is interesting how often you hear of people for whom being made redundant becomes the catalyst to launch them into doing something completely different and fulfilling their dreams. As scary as it must of been for you, I think being pushed out of our comfort zone can sometimes be a blessing.

  3. I’m so happy that my feedback gave you a little hope. I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors. I know you’ll find your way. We are meant to be happy 🙂


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