By Lindsey Novak
Q: I am 71 years old and was cut from my company because of the loss of a longtime client. I am a quantitative market researcher specializing in market mix analysis and optimizing marketing funds. I started with the company as a contractor on a two- to three-day-a-week assignment and continued for the next 15 years. Because I was an independent contractor, I didn’t share in the company benefits. I have a private 401(k) savings account. I receive Social Security, but I still need to work. How do I market myself in this economic environment?
A: Your attitude will be most important, so first look at all the things you have to be grateful for. You worked for a company that valued you and never considered your age to be a negative factor. You wanted a part-time job after retiring from a full-time job, and you enjoyed that 15-year relationship. Because you have been actively employed to this point, you likely will be a joy for anyone to interview. Make sure you keep up your appearance so it matches your energy level. No, you are not going to pretend you are 10 years younger when you meet people, but it’s important to exude that get-up-and-go attitude in all your contacts with people.
Call your network of friends and business associates to let them know that you are unemployed because of a client loss and that you are ready to pick up where you left off, but at another company. Market research is an expansive field nationwide. Your skills easily could transfer to another specialty if you don’t find openings working on analyzing market funds. Because you are looking for part-time or independent contractor work, most companies will not consider your age a detriment. Stay positive, and think about the job and work environment you would like to find. That way, you never will fall into that “poor me” feeling. You have your 401(k) to use in the beginning of your unemployment, but work with a financial adviser to see whether you should adjust your lifestyle, before you meet with any emergencies and fall into a financial bind.
Please send your questions to: Lindsey Novak, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Suite 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045. E-mail her at [email protected] or visit her Web site at www.LindseyNovak.com. She answers all e-mails.