The Jobseeker’s tale – Part 2

Oldie_JulyThe Jobseeker’s Tale by David Wardle – Guest Contributor

This is a great article published in the July 2013 issue of UK magazine “The Oldie”.

We were asked last week about age discrimination in the workplace, and this is a pertinent commentary on how us Oldsters can sometimes be treated.

We’re running this article in two parts – this is Part 2
****************************************************

Career counselling

I have now joined the ranks of the Jobseekers, and am summoned to meet my Careers Advisor. The last time I saw a careers advisor was 45 years ago at secondary school, so I guess it is due.

Susan is in her mid-twenties and very enthusiastic.

‘I see you’ve had no luck so far with getting the same type of job, so I’m here to look at alternatives,’ she says.

I’d be happy with any job, and tell Susan so, but she says it is vital to follow the computer program and see what it suggests.

‘It will match your skills with job profiles and is very good at lateral thinking and often comes up with unusual but productive options. It has picked up the key words “computer literacy” and “sales” from your questionnaire and can see opportunities
in selling computers,’ she says triumphantly.

I explain that though I can use a computer I know little or nothing about them and would struggle to convince anyone to buy one.

‘Now don’t be negative,’ Susan responds. ‘I’ve added “computer sales” to “kitchen designer”, and I’m sure this will pull up more opportunities.”

I do not share Susan’s confidence…

Home turf

I have worked all my life since leaving school and it came as a terrible shock when the company I had worked for decided to close without notice. Being unemployed after 43 years of work has been an eye-opener in many ways, but it’s not all bad. I have rediscovered my home town and the people who live here.

This town has been my home for over 32 years and my wife and I have brought up two boys in the same terraced house that we live in now. It was originally a mining community with two local pits, but that has long since gone and its main purpose now is to provide homes for commuters for the city twelve miles away. I now buy from the local shops instead of driving to the supermarket, and for pleasure we walk in the local countryside learning as we go about what is there.

We can now tell the difference between a kestrel and a sparrowhawk, a coot and a moorhen. Our home borders the west end of town and in half a mile you are in a different world. Walking along the road I can look down into the wood getting a better than bird’s-eye view of the tree canopy, now bare in midwinter. Amongst the snow flurries I can see purple splashes of colour festooning the upper branches dripping droplets of liquid to the path below.

It’s not perfect though. These festoons are not the early blossoming of buds but the bags of dog turd thrown from the footpath by a dog-walker and hidden from view when the trees are covered in foliage. I can see walkers below me happily unaware that their pleasant stroll takes them beneath a ghastly hanging garden of Babylon cascading diluted dog shit onto their heads.

Why do people do it? There are bins along the road, but still they cannot be bothered to use them and lob the parcels into what they think is the nearest bush.

Out of sight and out of mind.

That will do nicely, thank you

After a very short time I realised that a 59-year-old man was not top of the list when filling a job vacancy. Perhaps I should refine my search to include my many other more basic talents?

So I sat down with a clean sheet of paper. I had a clean current driving licence. I was fit – for my age. I could add up and spell.

It didn’t amount to much, did it?

How had I managed to stay employed for my entire working life, for God’s sake?

My internet search started well. ‘Multi-drop van driver’ was ideal. I had driven a van many times and managed to return to base intact. Hold on, though – it also said I was expected to do fifty drops a day and have past experience to prove it.

Oh well, there’s another one here – taxi driver. A clean licence and a satnav should sort it out. But I needed to pass a local knowledge test and possess a ‘digitach certificate’ whatever that was. Next.

‘Road cleaning operative’ is a dead cert, surely. OK, not my first choice, but surely I can match my talents with this? But no. Listed under essentials was a Level 2 NVQ certificate in street cleaning. I look again at my list of talents and my heart sinks.

This could take longer than I thought…

The Oldie magazine was launched in the UK in 1992, and recently issued its 300th edition.

Despite being called The Oldie, the magazine often stresses that it is not an age-specific publication, and does seem to have many readers in their twenties, thirties and forties

 You can subscribe to The Oldie Magazine here

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great article published in the July 2013 issue of UK magazine “The Oldie”.

We were asked last week about age discrimination in the workplace, and this is a pertinent commentary on how us Oldsters can sometimes be treated.

We’re running this article in two parts – this is Part 2

 Career counselling

I have now joined the ranks of the Jobseekers, and am summoned to meet my Careers Advisor. The last time I saw a careers advisor was 45 years ago at secondary school, so I guess it is due.

Susan is in her mid-twenties and very enthusiastic.

‘I see you’ve had no luck so far with getting the same type of job, so I’m here to look at alternatives,’ she says.

I’d be happy with any job, and tell Susan so, but she says it is vital to follow the computer program and see what it suggests.

‘It will match your skills with job profiles and is very good at lateral thinking and often comes up with unusual but productive options. It has picked up the key words “computer literacy” and “sales” from your questionnaire and can see opportunities
in selling computers,’ she says triumphantly.

I explain that though I can use a computer I know little or nothing about them and would struggle to convince anyone to buy one.

‘Now don’t be negative,’ Susan responds. ‘I’ve added “computer sales” to “kitchen designer”, and I’m sure this will pull up more opportunities.”

I do not share Susan’s confidence…

 

Home turf

I have worked all my life since leaving school and it came as a terrible shock when the company I had worked for decided to close without notice. Being unemployed after 43 years of work has been an eye-opener in many ways, but it’s not all bad. I have rediscovered my home town and the people who live here.

This town has been my home for over 32 years and my wife and I have brought up two boys in the same terraced house that we live in now. It was originally a mining community with two local pits, but that has long since gone and its main purpose now is to provide homes for commuters for the city twelve miles away. I now buy from the local shops instead of driving to the supermarket, and for pleasure we walk in the local countryside learning as we go about what is there.

We can now tell the difference between a kestrel and a sparrowhawk, a coot and a moorhen. Our home borders the west end of town and in half a mile you are in a different world. Walking along the road I can look down into the wood getting a better than bird’s-eye view of the tree canopy, now bare in midwinter. Amongst the snow flurries I can see purple splashes of colour festooning the upper branches dripping droplets of liquid to the path below.

It’s not perfect though. These festoons are not the early blossoming of buds but the bags of dog turd thrown from the footpath by a dog-walker and hidden from view when the trees are covered in foliage. I can see walkers below me happily unaware that their pleasant stroll takes them beneath a ghastly hanging garden of Babylon cascading diluted dog shit onto their heads.

Why do people do it? There are bins along the road, but still they cannot be bothered to use them and lob the parcels into what they think is the nearest bush.

Out of sight and out of mind.

***

That will do nicely, thank you

After a very short time I realised that a 59-year-old man was not top of the list when filling a job vacancy. Perhaps I should refine my search to include my many other more basic talents?

So I sat down with a clean sheet of paper. I had a clean current driving licence. I was fit – for my age. I could add up and spell.

It didn’t amount to much, did it?

How had I managed to stay employed for my entire working life, for God’s sake?

My internet search started well. ‘Multi-drop van driver’ was ideal. I had driven a van many times and managed to return to base intact. Hold on, though – it also said I was expected to do fifty drops a day and have past experience to prove it.

Oh well, there’s another one here – taxi driver. A clean licence and a satnav should sort it out. But I needed to pass a local knowledge test and possess a ‘digitach certificate’ whatever that was. Next.

‘Road cleaning operative’ is a dead cert, surely. OK, not my first choice, but surely I can match my talents with this? But no. Listed under essentials was a Level 2 NVQ certificate in street cleaning. I look again at my list of talents and my heart sinks.

This could take longer than I thought…

 

 

The Oldie magazine was launched in the UK in 1992, and recently issued its 300th edition.

Despite being called The Oldie, the magazine often stresses that it is not an age-specific publication, and does seem to have many readers in their twenties, thirties and forties

 You can subscribe to The Oldie Magazine here

 

 

 

 

 

One response to “The Jobseeker’s tale – Part 2

  1. Pingback: finding a job when u are close to retirement | alifesgayventure·

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