Find work at 50+

Sometimes, when I'm readying myself for work in the morning, I turn on the television to watch CNN. I know "… we should really not have a television in our bedroom; bedrooms are for sleeping. But, in our house, we do.

There's a periodic segment that encourages people looking for work to take one minute to promote themselves on national television. I love these self-promoting people. Their situations have changed due to the economy and personal circumstance, and they have wrangled their way to a public moment in which they can describe their skills and availability.

Some of these folks are older than 50 — older workers with substantial motivation and remarkable work experience who need to get back into the job market. In some cases they never thought this would be necessary. But it is.

At 8 a.m. on Thursday, March 10, AARP Oregon is inviting people to have breakfast and talk about this issue. It's a free, "Finding Work at 50+" forum.

Come as a job-seeker — or the friend of one. Maybe you're retired but have found you just miss working and want to be back in the work force — at least part-time. Maybe you know someone with decades of work experience who needs new contacts or new ideas — and you want to help them out a little. Bring them. Bravo!

The half-day event will be held at Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road in Central Point. To register, call 1-877-926-8300 or go online to www.findingworkmedford3-10-11.eventbrite.com.

I'm not entirely sure how it will play out. We will experience this together. But this I know: Older workers continue to find it tough to land a job.

Yes, the unemployment rate improved recently (for workers of all ages), but oh-so-very slightly. Older workers looking for jobs are out of work for an average of 44.4 weeks (more than 10 weeks longer than the younger workers).

Deborah Russell, director of workforce issues for AARP, says age bias "is definitely a factor" for people in their late 40s and early 50s (and beyond) looking for employment. It can be a "double whammy," as she terms it, because often these are the folks who thought they would not be looking for work ever again. But an unexpected layoff, an unpredictable stock market and the bubble-bursting housing market put them in a situation not anticipated.

This half-day forum will address the issues and provide loads of resource materials.

For some people attending, it may be about finding your "next act" after retirement. As illustration, the www.aarp.org website references an 84-year-old man looking for his "next act."

His quote goes something like this, "I still have important things to do in life, and I want to start doing them."

Bravo.

Sharon Johnson is an associate professor in health and human sciences at Oregon State University and on the faculty of the OSU Extension. E-mail her at s.johnson@oregonstate.edu or call 541-776-7371, ext. 210.

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