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17 Aug 2020

Pandemic Job loss – How to cope with losing your job and find employment when you are over 50

We live in unparalleled times and if you are over 50 and want to stay earning in 2020 and beyond things are looking tough. A  new report from the Centre for Ageing Better and Learning and Work Institute shows that the number of older workers on unemployment-related benefits has nearly doubled as a result of the pandemic – increasing from 304,000 in March to 588,000 in June. It looks like with the ending of furlough in October 2020 these figures will increase.

In recent weeks, growing numbers of over 50’s have found themselves being made redundant. While some have immediately thrown themselves into the search for another job, others have been left reeling from the impact.

The reality is harsh, for many the lost job may be their last and, for others, it may be a long fight against ageism and the many others job hunting to find elusive job opportunities.

In general, unemployed people over the age of 50 are twice as likely to be out of work for 12 months or longer, compared to those younger than 50.  During the pandemic women aged over 50 have been hit hardest, with nearly 100,000 leaving the workforce entirely.

The most important question is how you give yourself the best chance in this highly competitive and difficult environment.

Here are I’m Not Done Yet’s five top tips to surviving pandemic job loss:


Find ways to maintain a positive outlook and mindset

The concept of being an INDY (I’m Not Done Yet) came from the idea that an empowering mindset would deliver the best results for anyone adopting it. Adopting a positive mindset will help you get the best out of what is a difficult situation. You may choose to adopt the mindset of an INDY or you may find another that suits you better.

Spend time ensuring that you maintain a positive mindset and it will not be wasted. Ways to do this might include spending time with positive people who inspire you and read books and watch videos that motivate you.


Keep your feet on the ground

It’s very easy to get caught up in a negative cycle of fear, guilt, and loss of confidence. It important that you maintain a sense of perspective. Let’s look at the facts, many hundreds of thousands will lose their jobs as the result of an international pandemic – there is not much you could have done to avoid this and it is not your fault.

Try to keep your feet on the ground and maintain a reasoned and honest perspective about what is going on. You will find it much easier if take a measured and considered approach. Spend time talking to others in the same situation and reading quality information relating to the job market.


Find the Blue Ocean

Not actually a job-hunting metaphor but commonly used to describe different marketplaces to do business. The red oceans are those where most of the fish swim and it is a feeding frenzy with fish eating fish and battling for food. The blue oceans are those where few fish swim, and there is plenty of food and opportunity.

Chances are you are looking for a job in a ‘red ocean’, a place that you are familiar with and that you know. You will need to fight hard to maintain the ability to swim and feed there. Is there a ‘blue ocean’ where you might find better prospects? Be prepared to look outside your normal waters and explore new options.  If your future is one where you do not find work, look for a new place to swim that gives you the satisfaction and identity which you will inevitably lose from not working.


Be honest with yourself

It is very easy to hide from issues and find excuses to avoid confronting concerns. If there is a problem looming it is better to tackle it early and plan to resolve it. Take time to consider how long you can survive financially, talk to your significant others about the future, prioritise your health and mindset.

It is the issues that get swept under the carpet that usually cause the most pain. Early intervention and honesty are usually the best way to mitigate the impact on you and your family. Do not be afraid to get professional help and support. If you are going to need to claim Jobseeker’s Allowance or Universal Credit do it as early as possible. You local Citizen’s Advice office is a source of help on a huge range of issues.  Here at INDY, we have access to a range of specialist coaches who can help with a range of issues.


Find your support network

You are not on your own and should not be. Finding a support network of people (your tribe) in the same circumstances and who understand your position is essential.  Sharing tips, information and approaches will help you find that job. It will help you cope with what can be a daunting situation and with the help of friends, family, and support agencies you are more likely to succeed.

It may be as simple as a trip for a coffee or a drink in a bar with a group of supportive friends. You may choose to find a coach or mentor to support you in your job hunting or transition journey.  At INDY we have specialist coaches who can help you and an online INDY support club.