Over 50 and Down-Sized: Word.


A few years ago, I shared the circumstances of my lay-off in a set of blog posts, as the events unfolded. An updated version (Lead with Intention. Leave with Grace, Dignity, and Integrity.) will be published on Workspace.com in December 2017.

In brief: Our group was notified, in June, that our roles were being eliminated. I was officially laid off on January 1 of 2015. Three months of severance pay, incentive bonus for staying through to the last day, and what was to be full health coverage for those three months, followed. Um…The health coverage thing never happened, but that’s another post for another day.

I’m over 50. And a woman. Who will hire me? These were—and are—the recurring thoughts swirling through my head. I try to make sense of everything and be more level-headed, however, it is important to note: While on this journey (read: roller coaster ride) the stories we tell ourselves may, OR may not, be true.

I will never know whether any of this is true, or not. In my own head, I feel like over 50, now nearer 60, is among the reasons why I haven’t been able to secure gainful employment. I’ll never know because age discrimination it a real thing. If it can be proven, it can be sued. Human Resources people in the know are very careful to never have this happen.

What company wants to hire someone who might be eligible for retirement in a few short years? Of course, no one has asked me how young I want to retire. In truth, I have almost zero savings, so I’d be willing to work for as long as they will let me. No one has asked or presented me with an opportunity.

With age comes wisdom. Right? That quote has been around forever. Women my age are revered and placed in high esteem in other countries. But, I have yet to experience this level of enlightenment in my US job search.

My years of experience (read: age) is likely another barrier to success. Having worked in my field for a few large companies, for over 25 years, and having published, might cause some hiring managers and recruiters to believe that I’ll command a high salary. I won’t. But no one has asked or presented me with an opportunity.

The financial impacts keep me scared. But, I can get tangled up in all of that. I just can’t. Terror and paralysis by analysis don’t help. But they surely are easy rabbit holes to travel down! 

What to do? Keep on, keeping on. I don’t know what else to do.

I started my own training and instructional design business, when my friends began calling to ask if I’d help with their projects.

I have worked for staffing agencies and consulting firms, which do similar work.

I keep writing and publishing where I can. There might be a book or two coming out before too long. See? You found me here!

I speak wherever and whenever I can, so far largely at my own expense. Doing this seems to be the best way to stay on top of current trends, as well as keep my content fresh and relevant. In person connections are never the wrong way to go.

There are lots of moments of indecision, impostor syndrome, and feeling as dumb as a box of rocks. In fact, I wrestle the impostor daily. (Often, SHE wins) All of this to say, that this is a journey and I don’t always get it right. But, I’m here. And I’m trying.

Hire Dawn to help you team grow stronger together. Today.


What’s surprising is that the chances of women getting a job after age 50 are a lot lower than men’s chances of getting a job.