Get in Where you Fit in………
A favorite expression of one of my co-workers who is in his 60s. His saying came to mind as I was reading a Facebook post from a different co-worker who complains a lot about our job. We are all Museum Guards. Admittedly nobody goes to College to become a low paid Museum Guard but like many Baby Boomers who were laid off in the financial crisis and recession of 2006, 2007, 2008…… We learned the hard way that most employers do not hire people over 50. That is just the way it is. A difficult reality.
In our past lives we all had well paying fulfilling jobs but when you are faced with not being able to pay your bills or more importantly your rent you have to take what is available. Security is the one field that will hire over 50 people. Even though I went for other jobs both inside and outside the museum where I felt my skills would be put to good use once again even with me being a Veteran, a College graduate and having years of experience nobody will promote or hire somebody whose work history dates back to the 1970s. We 50+ folks are considered dinosaurs.
I understand my co-workers frustration because he is a talented illustrator but in order to survive in America often you must put aside your expectations and deal with current events. Do you want to eat? Or starve? Do you want to be evicted? Do you want your phone and utilities cut off? Your answer is probably No. Therefore you must do jobs that you are overqualified for and other little or no mental stimulation.
When I first started working at the museum I was frustrated, angry and I felt I deserved better. I felt I was owed something. Reality check. Life owes you nothing. My past achievements mean nothing. Whatever experience, knowledge or wisdom you have to share is not valued in a society that is mesmerized by youth, gadgets, devices, & apps.
You’ve seen those headlines in major financial publications that run articles like 40 under 40 or 30 under 30. You get the message.
And as my Aunts used to say, We are not spring chickens. Silicon Valley/Alley is not looking for folks in my age group. Then again I’m not looking for them either.
I am grateful that I had good jobs back in 1980s, 1990s & early 2000s. I’m glad I served my country in the military. Yes of course it would be nice if I had a better job where I could make a greater contribution but like I said before or better yet look at the media, TV, Movies, Internet, etc….. When was the last time you saw an actress over 40 in a leading romantic role or better yet one over 50. Rarely. Made my point. If the hiring manager or H.R. person is young enough to be your child you can be eloquent and erudite all you want but as soon as you leave the office your resume will go in the trash. This assuming you get an interview at all.
Once I made peace with my lot in life. Let go of my false expectations and concentrated on what I can get out of this job in terms of benefits, pension and healthcare my life became easier. The anger and frustration dissipated. As I’ve learned from Buddhist teachings desire is a source of unhappiness.
My heart is with my gifted illustrator co-worker because I was once in his shoes. He is a nice guy and I know he is doing the best he can for himself and his wife.
After having gone through years of tears I can appreciate my Get in Where you Fit in approach to life. I also admire him because as many of us who are in our 50s & 60s know middle-aged often brings sickness, disease, illness and injury. We have in common that our bodies are breaking down. Physically we are not the same as we were during our 20s & 30s. Pills become a daily regimen and we see more of our various health care practitioners than we do our own families. Yet Thankfully our minds are still strong and sharp. Even though the workforce does not want or need us we can direct our skills, talents, gifts and abilities in other directions.
It is good to vent but continued ranting and raving will only increase your sadness and frustration. And eventually it will only add to your current health and medical woes. Let. It. Go.
Peace is Acceptance and Adjustment to what life throws at you or takes away.