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December 22, 2015

It is not an uncommon fear in today’s economy, despite the consistent recovery since the recession hit in 2008 – losing your job at the age of 50 or older. While a variety of emotions may pour in after a devastating job loss, it is important to not allow anger and fear overwhelm you. There is no doubt that some self-discovery will occur over the next several months of job-hunting, and it is important to make sure this chapter in your career is closed properly so that you can move forward.

Steps To Take Before the Dust Settles

After allowing yourself some time to get over the shock of having to re-enter the workforce, it is important to do the following in an effort to tie up loose ends:

  • Work through your emotions: whether it’s anger, fear, despair or any other understandable emotion, do not try to suppress these real feelings even if the lay off may not have been “personal”;
  • Do not leave money on the table: if you are eligible, apply for unemployment benefits right away and cash out on any other employee compensation or benefits to which you are entitled.
  • Get help with your resume: for anyone during their career – whether employed or looking for work – it is important to keep your resume updated and fresh. The best way to do this is to have an objective eye look over your credentials.
  • Go see your accountant: if you had the good fortune of receiving a severance package that is not contingent upon filing for unemployment, make sure everything transfers over including any retirement funds such as 401(k).
  • Update Your Digital Profile: most employers today search for potential candidates on all social media outlets such as Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, among others. Make sure your profile sells your best attributes and do not hesitate to solicit solid professional endorsements.

Things to do While Looking for Work

Beyond the above, below are several tips you can put to use while searching for employment and when going on interviews if you are 50 or older and have recently lost your job:

  1. Show How You Can Successfully Work for a Younger Boss – unfortunately, recruiters and companies alike may have concerns an older worker may have difficulties reporting to a younger supervisor no matter who the friction stems from. Citing specific ways in which a seasoned worker’s skills and experience can compliment a younger boss will go far both during the interview and at the workplace;
  2. Pre-empt the Age Concern – while federal and state law prohibits discrimination based on age (specifically for those 40 and older) there is no doubt that this issue is the elephant in the room when it comes to interviewing or even updating your resume;
  3. Emphasize Flexible Management or Work Ethic – in an effort to thwart the misconception that workers in their 50s are “set in their ways,” it is important to highlight the ability to adapt to different cultures, perspectives and age groups in the workplace;
  4. Display Interest in an Adjustable Pay Structure – being older may provide the foresight of taking a lower salary up front in exchange for performance-based pay or even equity ownership in the company. Thinking outside the box can help you have a competitive edge against younger workers vying for the same position; and
  5. Corporate Experience Can Benefit Small Business – because it is not uncommon for executives with decades of work experience to be viewed as too “corporate,” the best way to counter this view is to focus on times when a project or event required a lean budget and small groups in order to better relate to a smaller potential employer.

Employment Lawyers NYC

If you or someone you know has recently lost work due to his or her age – or is dealing with any other employment law issue – contact skilled employment lawyers in NYC to help you learn about your rights under federal and state laws. Contact one of our New York employment attorneys today for a free consultation. Call us at 212.967.3000.