Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘professional women’ Category

In the Job Market, 50 is the New 65

In AARP, age discrimination, baby boomers, employers, employment, grey hair, job market, millennials, Professional Reputation, professional women, professionals over 50, retire at 65, retirement age, social security administration, termination of employement, Uncategorized, unemployment, work experience on May 3, 2017 at 4:06 pm

As I reminisce about my professional journey, I remember an event that took place in 1986. I was 27, and an aggressive, up-and-coming ad sales person working for a media company. One day I learned that a 50+ year-old colleague had been fired and was leaving our company. He had had the best office of everyone on the team. So, the minute I heard he was leaving, I packed up my desk and ran down the hall to grab his. Well, I hadn’t counted on his not having exited the building, and encountered him when he came to pick up a box. He caught me filling his desk with my stuff. I looked up at him, speechless. He looked down at me and called me a vulture. Yes, a vulture. And looking back now as my (almost) 58 year-old self, he was right. My behavior was reprehensible.

That experience haunts me today.

It’s sad that at 50 years-old (unless one is wealthy and/or comfortable enough for the rest of one’s life, and wants to retire) many of us are aching to remain challenged, active, earning, vital, learning and necessary to our companies, our clients and our industries. We are sharper than ever as we have the wisdom, the experience and a sense of ourselves that make us valuable team-members, mentors and consultants to our younger colleagues and our peers.

Today, 50 has become ‘that age’ where many employers are ready or getting ready to set us free. Perhaps it costs too much with higher salaries and benefits than the younger, incoming Millennial population. Perhaps there’s just the perception that we’re too old, lacking fresh ideas, not up on technology, have less enthusiasm and/or energy. Any or all are possible.

Why so young? What happened to retirement being 65 and how did that number even become the accepted retirement age? According to the Social Security Administration’s website, the decision to make 65 the magic number for retirement was a pragmatic one, and a main reason was that, “Studies showed that using age 65 produced a manageable system that could easily be made self-sustaining with only modest levels of payroll taxation.” There are other factors having to do with systems that were formulating in the 1930s based on even older precedents. (If you’re interested in this subject, there’s a lot more information you can retrieve on the web.)

Today, there is a huge and growing population of 50+ers who take new jobs for less money and many who become consultants because they can’t find jobs. (Some of course voluntarily change careers and are looking for a new, more meaningful chapter.) According to the Washington Post*, from an AARP survey, “…the headline statistics hide a harsher reality: older workers who do lose a job spend longer periods out of work, and if they do find another job, it tends to pay less than the one they left.” And a”…look at long-term unemployment data….show(s) that older people have a harder time landing jobs after losing one.”

Employers, take note: make sure older employees, “…don’t end up out of work involuntarily before they’re ready. While vocational programs and access to higher education are seen as the ticket to a better job for those just starting out, those who’ve already spent decades in the workforce have less to gain from a training course that will only benefit them for the few years it takes to get to retirement. That’s why avoiding job loss in the first place is so important.”

It pains me to see my talented friends and colleagues suffer; either cut out of work, or struggling to hold onto their jobs (with enough of a hint from employers that their time may be up) or that their positions may fold. And, even though I’m not a corporate employee any longer (leaving in my mid 40s voluntarily to be a coach and trainer) I am a solopreneur in a sea of consultants battling for a unique voice on social media and a secure place as a ‘go-to’ consultant in my field — with a dream of having the comfort and ease of enough referrals and gigs to sustain me for many more years of work. But with so much unemployment and so many out of work consultants vying for position, all in my age range, there is little to rest upon.

I can’t say whether the situation is bad or good. I can only say that it is a journey and an unexpected turn that relies on one’s resourcefulness, passion, social media savvy, networking ability and persistence. We want to believe that there’s always enough for everyone to go around. We hope people will have the choice as to when they retire. Our hearts want to explore paths filled with purpose. But these desires ain’t for the faint of heart!

In the meantime, if you are a Generation X employer or a Baby Boomer executive with hiring authority — take responsibility for your 50-somethings. Show your industry that you are not ageist. Grey hair = invaluable grey matter. Take advantage of what Baby Boomers have that no Millennial can reproduce: the benefits of irreplaceable experience.

Resiliently speaking,

Jackie

*Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/03/30/losing-a-job-is-always-terrible-for-workers-over-50-its-worse/?utm_term=.c25524f7d5a8

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Professional Women, Please Stop Trying to Fit In!

In business relationships, career, career challenges, career-related problems, communicating, communication, conflict resolution, coping with pressure at work, corporate life, dealing with a difficult coworker, dealing with a male boss, Detach and Breathe, empowerment, enlightenment, executive coaching, female discrimination, Gurus, handling tough boss, human relations, interpersonal skills, jobs, leadership, leaning in, life skills, manage stress at work, managing conflict, office politics, personal development, personal growth, professional behavior, professional development, professional women, self-esteem, self-help, self-image, spiritual awakening, spiritual growth, transformation, Uncategorized, women, women in the workplace, work culture, work-related problems on January 20, 2014 at 8:30 pm

I am decidedly a professional woman.  In my 30+ year career, of which there are actually two paths taken (one in media sales, one in professional development), I have felt discriminated against because I am a woman.  I have been sexualized, objectified, diminished, loathed.  I have been given opportunities, I’m sure, because someone thought I was pretty. Both men and women have said and done things to me that where abhorrent.  “Go make curtains,”  one male boss had said to me, in front of male peers, tossing me out of a meeting.  “What’s your favorite position?” a manager asked me after I had inquired about applying for a management position.  Oh, I’ve been there.

And you likely have experienced all that too. But this message isn’t about how to get along as a woman, or about leaning in or out, or about being assertive, or vulnerable, or how to navigate corporate male hierarchies. I’m not here to review the research that proves how ambitious women are seen as bitches while male counterparts are admired for their leadership qualities.

No, I’m writing to say to all of us women: please stop obsessing about being a certain way in order to move up the corporate ladder.

Here’s why:  despite working to create the right perception (by behaving in a way that will yield the best results), small-minded associates who are in emotional pain, regardless of their gender, will see us through their own damaged lenses.  They will have their biases. Their dysfunctional views of the world will be there ANYWAY.  Unless people are aware of the feelings of others, and care about developing themselves at higher levels, they will box you in like miniature chocolates molded into their casings.

Yes, it might mean you are seen as the power-hungry-bitch with 38DDs.  It might mean your high-intelligence is so threatening that you are passed over for a promotion to someone whom your manager feels he can control.  Disappointing, yet with a great blessing:  You have been hired by your Guru so that you can work on YOU.

Business settings are like Gurus or teachers. Work presents us with the most difficult, challenging and sometimes downright painful interactions that feel AWFUL.  These occurrences actually give us the opportunity to become enlightened; to make choices, to build skills, to detach from any personal need to have the boss (or colleague) fulfill a longing and need in us to be accepted, approved of, etc… They are playing an unexpected role — to push those old buttons so we can evolve.  My advice: use these nasty lessons to learn how to step-up into YOU, and don’t worry about who they are.

When I came up with my mantra, DETACH AND BREATHE, it was to deal with a boss who had been actively trying to sabotage me so he could replace me with a guy he liked for my job.  I had been reacting by shutting him out of my work and trying to take control of things without consulting him. The minute I allowed him to manage me, forgot about trying to be right, and went with the fact that our hierarchy gave him authority, HE RELAXED around me, and the threat actually went away.  By the time I quit, it was purely on my terms.  He was my Guru, helping me understand what it means to let go, to stop needing to control, to accept what is.

The freer you are — the more objective and the more accepting of others’ limitations — the better you will feel about yourself and your work.  So, you may be overlooked for a promotion or even get fired.  Sadly, you may have to deal with a sexual harassment lawsuit. Don’t allow regret to eclipse the power of the lesson. The right opportunities lie ahead. You can live out your purpose, carve out your path.  This will happen as a result of your enlightenment and enrichment from these horrific experiences.  Plus, there are always good people around who want to help.  It’s focusing energy on what’s possible, not on conforming to a culture that cannot bring your dreams to fruition.

Professionally and respectfully yours,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.