Late-Career Job Seeking Advice Pt. 1: Stop Listening to Really Stupid Tips from Pipsqueaks

What you’ll discover:  When it comes to exposing yourself to job-seeking advice, it’s super important to consider the source.

A couple of weeks ago, a colleague posted an article on Facebook about how to find a job when you’re an “older” candidate. She asked her recruiter friends what they thought of it. While I’m not a recruiter, I have written several books on job seeking in adverse conditions. So I read the article.  And then lost my mind in the comments section. (So far, I am the only one to weigh in. Which means either that no one else cared, or I cleared the room. Wouldn’t be the first time.)

The gist of the article was this: “Old man, you are so effed.” And the advice was very much the same thing we read when we were starting out our careers during the Jimmy Carter economy: “Young man, you are so effed.” According to this writer and the 1970s writers before her: The odds, the numbers, the facts are all stacked against us. We are just a big bulge of needy people trying to make our way in a world where we’re a dime a dozen.

The advice this article writer offered up was just the same tired and shopworn drivel that we’ve seen before:

  • Play “hide the peas” with the resume dates.
  • Create a Linked In profile.
  • Network.
  • Fudge the resume contents.

Except for the Linked In profile tip, it’s basically the same job seeking advice that I read in 1978.  I had to look up the writer and confirm my suspicions. Yup, exactly as I thought: Just another quirky girl writer, living in New York City. Her own job history begins all the way back in 2006 where she started her professional life as junior pipsqueak at some kind of consumer products company.  Her academic credentials? Creative writing. (If she had been a journalism major, she would have known that the least she could have done was pick up the phone and call an honest-to-goodness career expert for some real honest-to-goodness advice. But, nope.)

Meg Ryan could have played her. Thirty years ago.

(The photo that accompanied the article was an up-against-the-wall picture of an unsmiling older gentleman in a metrosexual suit cut way too trendy for him. His facial expression is so grim that the picture could have been a passport photo. Or a mug shot – was he arrested because he fell asleep at the wheel while waiting in the parking lot for the 4 pm Early Bird dinner? Just another old fart trying to fit in in a world that has passed him by. No doubt, the photo editor is probably as young as the writer.)

These are the people who want to tell us who we are.

Do you really want post-pubescent hacks telling you that you’re an aging, hopeless loser, doing battle with mass quantities of other aging, hopeless losers for a handful of job opportunities that might be open to people over 36? Gosh, I hope not.

Blog posts are supposed to be short. And I can feel the head of steam building up again. So I’m going to leave this one as it is. Next up: A series of real advice that you can actually use to create a Second Act career that you’ll be proud of.  (Heck, you have to get out of bed early to pee anyway. Might as well get dressed and go to work.)

1 thought on “Late-Career Job Seeking Advice Pt. 1: Stop Listening to Really Stupid Tips from Pipsqueaks”

  1. Hi Martha,

    I was very skeptical of all of the advice in that article besides the LinkedIn profile which I believe is an essential for every job seeker these days. I also cringe when I see the prevalence of people getting plastic surgery to look younger so they can land the right roles.

    Thanks for contributing to this very important discussion.


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