“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
I am encountering an increasing number of out of work senior executives — capable, up-to-date, energetic, with an impressive record of success, who cannot find a job. They are victims of age discrimination, a rampant practice at a time, it has been said, where we are trying to find 21st century talent with 19-century theories and technology that frequently eliminates excellent candidates.
Discrimination in employment, in ethnicity, gender, and age, is not new, but that it is widespread and has become an inconvenient fact for many employers that would like you to believe they do not discriminate, is beyond troubling.
I ran into an old acquaintance the other day. His long-time employer decided “to go in a different direction,” which is to say that he was the victim of a familiar combination: younger executives were willing to do the same job for much less money. He said he spent more than nine months looking for another job without receiving one call back. “I got tired of arguing with a screwed-up talent acquisition system that did not care that I was more qualified and had more experience than other applicants. Then I decided to stop getting mad, ignore their process, and do my own thing.
“Hell, I had been a salaryman for my entire career. I never thought I had what it takes to be an entrepreneur, to start my own business, but I was so frustrated and so angry with how I was treated that I decided to take the leap.” He opened a consultancy in the same industry where he had developed an impressive reputation. When I asked how he was doing, he replied, “This is not for everyone and to be honest the jury is probably still out regarding the long-term potential, but it is looking pretty good so far.”
A quote from entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker, Jim Rohn, that he found while searching the web for a job caught his attention and ultimately motivated him to take the plunge.
“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you will fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.”
“I did not have a clue who Jim Rohn was, or that he died in 2009, but that quote certainly lit my fire.
“I guess I was determined to show my former company and all of those recruiters who would not give me the time of day that I still had what it takes to compete successfully.”
Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Most new businesses fail the first year but if you have a good plan and the determination to succeed, you can leave the job search frustrations behind. Of course, there is more to it than that. Take it from me. I have started three companies and I am working on my fourth during the last 7 to 10 years of my career. Why? Because, like you, I am frustrated and I am determined to show the establishment nay-sayers there is a better way, that someone with a long record of experience and achievement can still deliver exceptional value for clients and investors. Just because you have achieved a certain age milestone does NOT mean you have to go sit in a rocking chair on the damn front porch.
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