When I reached my fifties, my career took a deep dive. With my background in communications, I’d had steady work for years. Today? I can’t get hired for projects I can do – professionally, drama-free and on time.
One job application requested a “MacGyver moment to prove there’s no challenge you can’t handle.” I shared a story from a few years ago when I lived in our RV on a horse ranch outside of Edmonton. With my husband Paul and our truck out of town, all I had for transportation to the nearest town was a bicycle. After I discovered a flat tire, I checked YouTube for advice. I substituted a square of rubber glove and Gorilla glue for a patch kit and was back on my bike within the hour.
Instead of a MacGyver-lite anecdote, the story I really wanted to share was a medical emergency, how I thought Paul might die after he collapsed and smashed his head on a parkade’s concrete floor. I would explain how calm I’d been with the 9-1-1 dispatcher while searching for Paul’s weak heartbeat.
Next, I would share how I slept on a chair in his hospital room for ten nights because I refused to leave his side. (Paul had suffered lung embolisms but fully recovered thanks to excellent medical care.)
No job offer. Had I rescued someone dangling from a ledge with a chain of paper clips, I might have boosted my chances. Today I feel invisible and marginalized!
A Google search on “marginalization” came back with “the act of placing a person in a position of lesser importance, influence, or power.” Turns out that being marginalized is also an issue for employed women who feel both passed over and pushed out as they age.
A discussion paper from the Ontario Human Rights Commission website identifies assumptions that older workers are less ambitious and unable to cope with technological change.
Hmm. Is this what potential employers assume about me? They shouldn’t. Bring out your shiny toys and show me how to play with them because I’m always excited to learn new things.
I continue to apply for positions and hope for a job offer. Life experiences must count for something and a sprinkle of horse manure on my resumé only enhances my personal story.
My next cover letter will be more direct: I’m a drama-free child-free orphan who isn’t afraid to look silly or get dirty. Give me a hat – ball cap, toque, or fascinator – I’ll wear it. And I can fix your bike’s flat tire . . . hello? . . . is this thing on