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About the Author


Helga Hayse

Helga Hayse educates people on the role that money plays in family relationships. Her latest book Money, Love & Legacy: Conversations That Matter Between Generations is about the urgency for adult children and their parents to open the intergenerational dialogue they need to have about financial, legal, emotional, medical and end-of-life issues before it’s too late. She recounts her personal experience with transforming the pain of her own unfinished business into regenerative legacy between herself and her parents.

Her previous book “Don’t Worry about a Thing, Dear” - Why Women Need Financial Intimacy helps women understand why education about marital finances is vital for their protection if marriage ends.

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Best Boomer Towns Columns

Boom or Bust Tips for 40+ Job Hunters

So, you’re out of a job and over 40 and you think you’ll never work again.  During particularly cloudy days you may begin thinking your working life is over.  Actually, you’ve just been given the chance of a lifetime.  From every chaotic upheaval there comes tremendous opportunity.  Make the right choices now and you can create the life you’ve always dreamed of having. 

A recent survey found that more than 1 in 4 Boomers say they never expect to retire.  This is both by choice and by necessity (retirement savings took a $2 trillion dollar hit in 2008).  So Boomers, let’s start brushing up on your job-hunting skills.  You’ll need it.


If you haven’t been looking for a job recently (as in the past three years) it’s, well, changed.  A lot. 

Some of the basics remain.  Networking is more important than ever but has changed in style and technique.  Resumes are vital, but these have also evolved to meet new requirements.  Of course, interviews are critical.  However, the interview process today is much different than just a few years ago.  Change is happening now faster than ever before.

The world of work is in chaos.  The economic meltdown has created tectonic upheaval in the world of work.  Entire industries are disintegrating and reforming in often unrecognizable structures.  Who would have ever thought that the American auto industry would vaporize before our eyes?  If the old saying, “What’s good for General Motors is good for America.” is still valid, we are in a heap of trouble.

Who could have imagined just two years ago that century old Wall Street stalwarts like Merrill-Lynch and Lehman Brothers could so quickly disappear from the business scene?

Often, through no fault of their own, highly capable and effective people find themselves without a job.  At last count the number of people in this condition numbered more than 6 million.


Ten years ago (it sometimes seems like a century) the Internet played almost no role in job hunting.  Online job sites like were in the planning stages.  Social networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn were yet to be developed.  Job blogs didn’t exist (in fact, blogs didn’t exist until 2001). 

Few, if any, employers conducted internet searches to review job candidates’ online “brand” even five years ago.    Advanced ATS (applicant tracking systems) resume processing algorithms, job sites, personal websites and blogs---almost the entire career management process---did not yet exist.  Now it’s hard to imagine job-hunting without the Internet.

Instead of the time and work savings promised by the computer revolution, it has only made life much more complicated.  For example, a recent survey of workers found that 36% believed they got more done before the era of email.  Now you’ve got to set aside an hour or two a day just to manage your email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts.  Life didn’t get simpler, it got more complex.  So too with job hunting---or career management, as it’s called now.  But, unless the Luddites gain significant influence, our new world of work is here to stay.  And it’s likely to get even more sophisticated and challenging. 


So, if you haven’t been job hunting recently, it’s important to learn the new rules.  There’s a lot of stuff you probably don’t know that you need to know to stay competitive.  Being over 40 in an increasingly youth centered world also poses special obstacles that must be overcome.  Ironically, experience is often viewed negatively---you’re not wise and capable anymore---you are expensive and “out of touch” to many hiring managers.  Younger workers---despite having little real world experience, undeveloped business skills and a culture where loyalty is looked upon with disdain---are seen as less expensive and more ”relevant” to our brave new world.

And when there are more job seekers than jobs, the over 40 worker must adapt or see their career die.  That means reinventing yourself and learning to be highly proactive in managing the direction of your career.  However, today represents the best opportunity in a generation to vastly improve your life.   It all depends on how you experience it.


Before you do anything directly related to finding a new job or creating a new career, start with creating a new you.  Take stock of yourself honestly and chart out the improvements you need to make in order to be competitive in today’s job market.

You want to find the fine line between the benefits of your age and the negatives.  Projecting “old” is not good.  Take a look at what you wear.  Do your clothes make you “frumpy” looking?  Even if you own stylish clothes, if you haven’t purchased anything new in five years your clothes are probably worn and dated.  Regardless, new clothes will help you feel confident---and confidence is essential to career success.

Continued Next Week

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