At 64, I finally got the job I always wanted – and on my terms 36



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Although people say you should be able to work until you are 70, trying to find a job in your 60s becomes quite a joke.

Unless you have been entrenched in a career for the last 45 years, you are expected to do some mundane task that is not anywhere near your qualifications or expertise. And then these young managers want to tell you that you are not as good at the 21-year-old sitting next to you.  

At 64, I thought getting a job I really wanted was out of the question. But with a bit of creative thinking, and a few hard lessons, I found a way.   

I want to show you just how, with a little planning, you do not have to put up with the garbage out there, and you can be on your way to earning a hassle-free income.

Now, my background includes a Masters Degree with teaching experience at university and over the years I have run cafés, managed companies, worked with difficult people in customer service, thrived on learning, undertaken project work, and put in the full effort when I work. I do not feel I have been employed to my full potential by any means.   

When I started to look for work at 60, I did the common thing of looking to buy a job – we looked at shops and cafés in the local area. I soon realised this was a likely road to ruin. 

Out of 30 businesses I looked at, most had left out expenses, one had left out rent, another had left out all the daily shopping costs, one left out electricity… all to make the figures look good. 

Eventually I looked at the job market and ended up driving a taxi for four months. Taxi driving is a really great experience and will teach you just how badly behaved people really are. I worked nights and put up with rude, abusive, self interested, nasty drunk people who would strip off in your cab, vomit, call you names, yell drunken abuse out the window, damage your cab, and regularly yell in your ear.  

It was time for a career change.  

Eventually I got a job at 61 selling holidays in a call centre. I sat next to a lady called Sam who told me it was “the worst job you will ever do in your life”. I lasted three days; my colleague lasted a week. 

My colleague, however, helped me land a sales job with a large company, what turned out to be a four-year career working with 21 and 19-year-old high-flying superheroes who all said they were going to earn millions and were obviously going nowhere.  

The company made loads of promises for the future but if you were not in the circle of management friends you did not get promoted. If you were over 60 years old, there were definitely no promotions.  

All this time, in my spare time, I had been setting myself up on eBay. I joined having no experience with it in the past. I also joined PayPal. I read up the information on how it worked. I taught myself how to import products. I learned how to get stars from my customers. I learned how to give feedback. You might say this is all basic… Well it is, but I had never done it before. 

I also joined Gumtree and learned about that. I practised setting up web pages in my spare time and would Google everything when I got stuck. 

These days, I am working for myself, having left my job behind. It has taken me just over a year to get to this stage but I am happy and the money is flowing in. I have 1960 products on eBay and 200 on Gumtree and my business is growing.

So who needs to find a job at 60?  

Have you recently tried looking for work? What was your experience of the jobs market for over 60s? Could you try thinking outside the box, like Gill did, and making money a new way? What tips do you have to share with the community?

Gill Johnston

  1. Thank you for the inspirational article. It would be great fun to try a new career. What to do? I have only been a teacher/teacher librarian for 30 odd years. Absolutely wonderful years, but I don’t want to teach any more. So thinking cap on and search …

  2. Yes recently applied for a job I had for 13 yrs…this time a new service provider…..the head office interstate…..I haven’t done a lit of CV writing but followed the instructions and their tick list….up to date registrations…..40 yrs in the industry….didn’t make the first cut…my application didn’t get forwarded on….phone check n was told that my CV page was to be 2nd n I had it last….(as per tick list) that’s why young ones don’t last in the job….good CV people not good under job conditions…..and of course only job no.quoted due to ‘professionalism’….oh well 6 months to a pension

  3. Very creative … i am still working at 63 in a great job as a safety auditor but good to have other ideas

  4. Well done Gill your experience echos my own experience the last thing people in their 60s should do is to apply for a ‘normal job it is soul destroying and humiliating to be treated worse than the office junior..

  5. It’s great if that’s what you want, however I worked with kids with disabilities for more than 23 years and was forced to retire early due to health issues, so after being retired for three years now I have come to appreciate my life and would not like the thought of returning to work.

  6. Well I turn 70 in a few days’ time and it is finally time for me to quit my library job. I’ll re-retire at the end of next April. I first, worked full time – then job-shared and finally right after retiring I took a casual job. After 30+ years working in the library, I am going to miss it. But- I am really looking forward to writing the book I have promised myself, I’d do for many years….

    1 REPLY
    • Trying to reply to Diane Davidson but logged on through Facebook and came onto a page of a woman in Australia I did now know and could read all her posts so maybe a glitch in a website somewhere?! Anyway please Let SAS know when you have written that book Diane. You may sell some to us readers! Good luck!

  7. I’ve been retired for a few years now and I’m to busy to have a job and I love it

    1 REPLY
    • Same here. I am too busy looking after my grand children and I love it. I had to work when my children were young. I have a second chance to enjoy what I missed out with my own children and I love it. Not looking for a fancy retirement. Just enjoying my family.

  8. I am always glad to hear about someone in the same age group finding her niche and liking it being in control of what she does. I work too much in my Cafe and being a Manager takes so much time energy and effort. The rewards are few but my determination wins over most of the time. To be able to tackle something easier on the body would suit me down the line. Think women today need more than retirement to forfill them especially mentally.

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