On Monday 4 April, BBC 1 aired Panorama: ‘Finished at Fifty’, where Reporter Fiona Phillips met and followed the fortunes of four unemployed people over the age of fifty who were struggling to find work.
Panorama tells us this is not unusual: between now and 2015 in the public sector alone, there will be 400,000 redundancies, with 60% of them being men and women over 50. Beyond the public sector the message is that if you find yourself out of work in your fifties, you're far less likely to find a new job than any other age group.
Of course Panorama always looks at the political angle and Employment Minister Chris Grayling attempted to paint a positive picture by suggesting that increases in private-sector jobs will compensate for the fall in public-sector employment.
What Fiona Phillips presents to us is a group of people looking for work, but instead getting stacks of rejection letters and facing an uncertain future after a lifetime at work. Lord Digby Jones - House of Lords peer and international business man - then challenges our job seekers to change their approach to job-hunting. However, looking at internet forum discussions on the programme, it seems that many viewers were left feeling no better off or that they had no workable solutions to move them forward.
Interesting then to listen to Woman’s Hour on Radio 4, (4 April 2011) which interviewed Lindy Griffiths – one of the four Panorama job seekers – who was made redundant last year, having worked in education for much of her career. Lindy explains that when Panorama was filmed she was going through a bad time, but that now things are picking up and she has re-titled her experience as ‘Fresh Start at Fifty’, having since gone through a huge transformation.
Lindy found that her confidence was shaken and she was terrified of having to start over again from scratch. She felt she was stuck in a rut until she heard a quote which really struck a chord with her: ‘A rut is a grave with both ends kicked out’. Lindy decided that she really had to do something about climbing out of her rut, so she set about broadening her horizons, building relationships with people that would give her opportunities and taking a positive approach to finding new work.
Also taking part in the interview was Occupational Psychologist Sue Firth, who reminds us that redundancy is extraordinarily painful for any one at any age. She goes on to say that job seekers have to learn the art of selling themselves and it’s not a skill that everyone excels at. She explains too that job seekers (facing interviews) have to get practice – understanding the types of questions than can be asked and how to manage their nerves.
Ultimately she tells us that people’s perception of redundancy is the critical factor in moving on. Of course you can’t help but take it personally and it’s often traumatic, but at the end of the day, don’t buy into the concept that you are now on the scrapheap.
Peachey Work totally agrees that no one should feel that they are on the scrapheap and that job search success is down to a combination of taking action, getting practical know how and also support to get you motivated and in to work. None of these will have any real effect though, unless you take a positive spin on what you have to offer the world of work and so Peachey Work believes in providing both practical work and inspirational motivation.
For more information on how we can support YOUR job search, contact Sandra Peachey on 07921 494363 / firstname.lastname@example.org and check out our services on the Peachey Work page of this website.
With warm regards
Founder – Peachey Days