Being Older and Unemployed Doesn’t Mean You Need to Retire

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Diane Phillips spent most of her career in the creative field, first as a graphic designer, then as an agency owner and then as creative director for a global company.

“The economic freefall in 2009 ended that last, great job in Rhode Island. Creative opportunities were disappearing and jobs in the Rhode Island area were scarce,” says Phillips.

It was difficult to change careers, yet she felt fortunate to land a job in marketing in New Jersey using The Five O’Clock Club’s method. It was there she found her niche — ensuring that company projects with agencies went according to plan.

“I knew when agencies were upselling to the detriment of the project or the company, so I could control that,” Phillips says. “I set up processes internally to handle some of the simpler projects and I kept the company in line with agency needs — providing information and materials on time, ensuring that the right people were reviewing and approving at the appropriate steps in the process, and keeping us from changing direction when the project was far along, which would result in out-of-scope charges. All of this saved the company a great deal of money.”

She loved the work but did not love working for a large company.

“Change moved too slowly for my tastes,” Phillips says. “I wanted a faster pace and luckily was recruited by a smaller company to join them. I loved that job. As head of marketing I was able to make significant improvements and at the two-year mark was well on my way to initiating phase two of our plan.”

And then once again, she faced yet another layoff. The company was sold to an Indian conglomerate and her job moved to Bangalore. Finding a new job is difficult for everyone in a limited market, plus Phillips believed her age would be considered a drawback among potential employers.

“Finding another position in New Jersey was a bigger challenge than I had time for at age 61,” says Phillips. “I’m sure some of the problem was my age, but it was also the market — jobs there are so specific that people like me with more general skills were hard pressed to find a suitable situation.”

Phillips was like so many other people who find themselves unemployed at later stages of their careers. She figured it was a sign that she was supposed to retire.

“After 10 months I decided to move back to Rhode Island, presumably to retire,” she says.

However, with a little perseverance and persistence, she changed the trajectory of her future.

“I kicked in again with The Five O’Clock Club method and the difference in the market here was night and day,” Phillips says. “My general skills were in far more demand than I’d ever imagined and I had five opportunities going when I selected what I believed to be the very best choice for me.”

Her advice to others: “I’m 62 now, have a staff of six millennials and am having a blast. It can happen! Don’t stop trying.”

 

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