Sixty something: On the job hunt 4



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Well here I am again, putting my experiences of being 60 something on paper. Happy reading – or not!

Being 60 something AND a woman can be scary, frustrating and sometimes funny. I live alone with my small dog. Since I spoke to you last, I have taken a bit of a tumble. I tripped, fell backwards, hit a stool which I grabbed and both it and myself went crashing to the floor. It would have looked hilarious in slow motion but it bloody hurt. Now this could happen to anyone, but it happened to me. It was scary because I couldn’t get up. So there I was, alone except for my puppy, who thought I was playing and was jumping all over me and I was staring up at the bench trying to work out how to reach the phone. Eventually I slid across enough to drag it down, where it promptly bounced and the dog used it as a toy for five minutes. Finally, she stopped playing with it and I called my son, twice. Of course he didn’t answer. I laid there for what seemed an eternity with Scarlet jumping all over me and tears streaming down my face. Funniest home videos would have paid a fortune for the tape. After trying several times by sliding on the floor, I reached the couch and dragged myself up. I then proceeded to vomit. As if life wasn’t sucky enough at the moment! Suffice to say, the rest of the day was spent curled up on the couch in agony. Three hours later, my son messaged me and when I told him what happened he was sympathetic but didn’t offer to come over or assist me in any way. He is a lovely young man, but a product of this generation and if it doesn’t affect him directly, it is not something he cares to think about. Anyway, I survived it with a few bruises and a cut or two but am left wondering what will happen if I am alone and something worse occurs. 

I have still been applying for jobs, although they are becoming more scarce in this state as they probably are everywhere. I have received an appointment notice from my employment agency to inform me that we need to go over a strategy to help me find work. I have been going to this employment agency at the government’s insistence for six months now. I walk in, sit down, they bring up my file, give me a copy of online job agencies for me to look at – same one every time I go there and then tell me as I am on a DSP I don’t need to keep my appointments. Of course they would like me to, because that’s how they get paid. So I wonder what the strategy will be this time? Maybe they will tell me first that I don’t need to keep the appointments and THEN give me the online job agency list. You know, the funny part is, this young man is being paid very well to do this job and the government complains about what it is costing them in pensions, but this agency is not helping me at all get off this pension or partly off. Although I have chronic bronchitis, there are office jobs I can still do, but can’t get. The young man smiles at me with a condescending grin and pats me on the shoulder as I leave. Grrr, I’d like to pat him on the head with a baseball bat!

Now I have been 60 something for two years. I am not entitled to retire, I can get a DSP because I have a chronic condition, I can’t access my super as I understand it unless it is an emergency situation, because I am not old enough. Of course I could retire due to illness and then I could get my meagre few thousand which would be gone in no time. Funny, the government doesn’t want to pay all this money out on pensions but they don’t mind paying so called job agencies to do very little.

I applied for a job at the only power company we have here in Tasmania. It was for their call centre. 10 years experience, surely I could get some work there. I did all the right things. Applied online, received a call from the office to say they were impressed with my qualifications and I would receive a call from the actual centre to give me a date of my interview. Never heard a thing. WTF do you have to do? Yesterday I emailed the centre and the woman in charge. I just wanted feedback.  It’s been a month. Her email back said although for privacy reasons she couldn’t tell me why others got the job and not me (remember, I just asked for feedback), they had an unusually high number of applicants and although I had a lot of experience, experience wasn’t a prerequisite of this position. Makes sense to me that they would spend time hiring someone and training them because they don’t have experience as opposed to hiring someone with experience! They can’t say I wasn’t right for the job – they didn’t bloody interview me. She did say that they were working on contacting everyone who applied and giving them a chance to come in for an interview and see what they could do. Would I like an interview? Yes, please, I replied. No answer. It’s been a month since the initial contact and I know the job started yesterday. Taken them a long time to get through to the rest of us and some coincidence that they were going to contact me! I am still waiting.

Now today I would have been married 25 years to my ex. That was not the first thing that popped into my head when I woke up this morning, but guess what? I received a text message at 9am to remind me. Of course he said he was just thinking of me and wishing we were still together. Today was also the first time in 10 years, I had to put things on lay-by so I wouldn’t freeze over winter. This should tell you the answer I wanted to send, but instead I reminded him politely that it was he who left. Of course your version and my version of politely may differ. 

Share your thoughts and experiences below.

Fran Spears

Born in 1953. Came to Hobart from the north west coast of Tassie to be closer to my son as I have mild chronic bronchitis. Mild and chronic in same sentence – even that makes me laugh. Have just completed and passed my diploma in Public Relations. Love to write and have lead a reasonably interesting life. My motto: "Frankly my dear, I don't give a damn!"

  1. Sadly Fran, you and I come from an age before the world (the business world at least) was turned into a machine.
    I applied for a job recently, a writing gig. We all know our age is against us when we get up in mileage, so I kept the application bright and breezy, conversational style to show I am modern minded. I had the bases covered with the skills wishlist and was right across the readership demographic.
    But, consistent with the new business etiquette, I didn’t even get a response, not even a jot to say the application was received. I wasn’t mortified to be overlooked for an interview, not by any means, but a confirmation of receipt, that’s just common politeness.
    I did state my age, 62, but nevertheless I fully expected the same courtesy employers of our era always afforded: An acknowledgement of the application and (almost) always a following message to say how the application went, successful or otherwise.
    Now, why would I have expected that in this day and age?
    Well, because the job was with this website, Starts at Sixty.

  2. Go to the top, Fran. Phone, email and cold call Will Hodgman. It may be doubtful you get to speak to him face to face but, in this little state of ours, who can ever tell? It might just happen that he walks into his office at the same time you arrive. Tell him who and what you are and, especially, what you so desperately want.
    Go on, lass, bet you can do it!

  3. Age discrimination they shouldn’t discriminate but they do. Put your name down in various employment agencies. Leave resumes with them. Gov job seeking dept r a joke like mission Australia I use to call it mission impossible.. Do other short courses. I left public service in my mid 50s by the time I retired I had various tickets for trades I could do n I was employed even if it was casual. Does Tassie have high unemployment??? Try home care agencies heaps of people need caring in their homes

  4. Go take the government for any funding you can for all the hurt & pain you have had to suffer. I’ve never had anything from them but have certainly paid them enough over the years through my hard working tax paying money. Now @ the same age as you – I consider it pay back time. My husband is 69 & still working but it won’t be long before both he & I go for everything we can get for all the input we have made over the years.
    Other bludgers expect everything handed to them on a plate – whilst the rest of us just want recognition of our contributions over the decades & have a relatively happy retirement living on the funds we HAVE CONTRIBUTED IN THE FIRST PLACE!!

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