At the Brink

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I am 55 years old and unemployed since the first of the year. My line of work is in
the office/clerical field and I have not found a job in all this time. I have asked
former co-workers, friends, agencies, family and no one wants to help or assist
me. I have little in the bank and unemployment is not enough to pay bills, bus
pass, food, clothing, etc. I own a condo and do not want to have to move from
there. What can you do to assist me in finding a job?
At the Brink

Dear At the Brink:
You’ve started by doing all the right things. Each of us has a network
of allies and possible helpers that’s much broader than we might think
on any given day. The ones you listed are a good start. If you have
really tapped that entire network and no one wants to help you, that’s
a very different statement from, they’ve all said they would try but
nothing’s panned out yet. So let’s act as though you were starting
from scratch.

Write a simple one-page resume. At age 55 you probably have many
jobs that might also reveal your age (yes anti-elder bias is sadly true),
so better to organize it by skill set: office adminstration, personnel
supervision, customer relations, knowledge of software, whatever’s
true and sells. At the top, put your objective: A position in the
[geography] area that will benefit from my experience, reliability,
trustworthiness. Send that resume to everyone you know, the list
above and more. Ask them to forward it to everyone they know with a
simple note: The recession is taking its toll on my friend’s finances.
She will take any job, as long as it is legal. Please help me help her.
Finder’s fee in kugel, blintzes, and our everlasting gratitude. Ask the
temple if you can put an “ad” in the newsletter: Experienced worker
seeks job (with a first-person version of the text above). Apply for
every job you see that’s hiring. Work at this 40 hours a week. Your job
is to find a job.


Go to your credit union and get an equity line of credit on your condo.
They’ll base it primarily on the amount of your home that you own.
Apply for every government program for which you are eligible: food
stamps, help for elderly workers, etc. Between some credit and                      unemployment you should be able to squeak through until this breaks.

Good luck.