By Jo Dakin

Many people over the age of fifty have been hard hit by the recent lingering downturn. In fact, according to data that was published in the NY Times, the Labour Department said that the baby boomers and those in the mid to late forties have been the hardest hit by the current recession. You’re not alone. Laid off and over fifty, now what are your options? How are you going to get a new job with the kind of funding that you’re used to? In the current state of the economy– a slow moving recovery, everyone feels as if they have been the hardest hit and the recession and the aftermath have been difficult. For those who are over fifty, a layoff seems like it’s the most difficult to recover. In fact, this generation, from 45-59 are being called Generation Squeezed. They aren’t old enough to get any government benefits yet, but many of them have lost their livelihood, are supporting adult children and aging parents. What can you do if you’re over fifty and unemployed? What is your best course of action? Should it be some kind of government benefits, from unemployment or new career educating? You need to contact the government of your province/state and find out what is available to you and take advantage of any courses or retraining that is offered that is suitable to enhancing your skills. It may not be easy to recover from a job loss, but if you think there is no one out there who wants to hire you, you couldn’t be more wrong. While many companies out there– Google, Apple, Yahoo and others, tend to think youth and inexperience shines, not every company is leaning in that direction. The smart companies,–yes​, even companies who are still making money and moving ahead, realize and understand that many people in the 45-59 age group have a lot more to offer than experience. They have acquired skills, a far better work ethic than the millennium group and most were in on the ground floor when computers began to be used and have kept their finger on the pulse of technology. They can tell you the past, present, and future of technology. Many companies today are holding job fairs for people from their mid-forties to late fifties who have been laid off or lost their jobs due to the recession or the aftermath. If you’re over fifty and have lost your job, seek out advertising that offers you a glimpse into the companies. Look for job fairs for middle aged dislocated workers and seek out companies who specifically say that they want to hire older workers. Amazingly enough there are many of them out there.  I personally am involved in helping at a CARP Job Fair taking place next week in Mississauga. Check them out they have chapters across Canada http://www.carp.ca/about-carp/ . If all else fails, do what you do best. Innovate. Create your own job and sell yourself doing what you do best. There are thousands of new consulting companies cropping up every day. Turn your hobby into a business. You may be the next Colonel Saunders who was into his 60’s and after many jobs he finally got his Kentucky Fried Chicken franchises up and running!