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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Common Concerns Older Workers Have & Answers (2)

Question: How do I deal with age discrimination on the job market?

Answer: Even though age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), many older workers still perceive that they are passed up for jobs, promotions, or pay raises because of their age. If you believe you are the victim of age discrimination, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

It would be wise to anticipate the stereotypes about older workers. Get prepared to respond to them during your job hunt. For example, some employers perceive that older workers will leave the job sooner for retirement. You may want to find a way to let prospective employers that you are interested in working for a long time. Some employers think older workers cannot adapt to new workplace cultures or rules. Make it clear that you are comfortable with change and can follow protocol.

Question: Now that I'm getting older, I'm considering a career with more meaning. What's the best way to get started?

Answer: The good news is that most healthcare, education and social services jobs cannot be outsourced. While no job is completely recession-proof, these are considered among the safest jobs because they are less subject to economic shock. Green Careers are also likely to be in higher demand in coming years.

Career counselors recommend taking an experimental approach to changing careers. You'll be more likely to be successful if you test the waters before diving in to a new career. Volunteer or take a part-time job to see how you like a new field.

Question: I've been laid off. How can I maintain health coverage?

Health coverage is important for everyone, but is of special concern for older workers who may have health concerns or need specialized care. Medicare is available to people aged or older and to some disabled people younger than age 65. Medicare's eligibility tool can tell you whether you qualify. Medicaid also provides health coverage for low income individuals. Finally, COBRA allows laid off workers and their families to continue their health coverage by paying the premium themselves.

Question: How do I prepare for the emotional aspects of a layoff or career change?

Answer: Change is challenging for almost everyone, but can be especially hard if you've had the same job and routine for years. If a layoff or career change is coming, prepare yourself emotionally by introducing small changes in your daily routine. Take a different route to work. Eat a different breakfast. Take up a hobby that forces you to learn something new. Any small change that puts you out of your comfort zone can help to prepare you in small ways for bigger changes that may be coming.

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