How do Americans live the last third of their lives? What we hear, especially when it comes to working, is that this usually is a time of stability, increased flexibility and widening opportunity. The kinds of work that people 50 and older do are often gamely called “encores,” “re-careers” or “third acts.”
But “encore” doesn’t exactly fit my own experience. My aim at ProPublica is to find out whether it doesn’t fit others’ as well and to learn how people entering their later careers are faring.
I was laid off at 63. It took me 15 months to find a new job. In the interim, my twins, then 18, headed for college. The money was (and still is) flying out the door.
Getting laid off may be the price of a dynamic economy. Getting stuck out wasn’t part of the deal, especially if, like me, you depend on wages to pay your daily expenses. And to add to the pot for when you no longer work.
Building that reserve isn’t getting any easier. American employers are ratcheting back on their contributions. Rules aimed at protecting retirement funds are under attack by the new administration.
I’ve already done stories on court battles over age discrimination and want to delve deeper into the issue. If you know of a company or organization that has made major cuts of older workers, I’d like to hear about it.
I want to do stories about people moving through their 50s and 60s who are hit with demotions, layoffs or business closings. I want to find out what was behind the blows and how everyone coped. If you or someone you know has had one of these experiences, I’d like to talk.
I want to hear from people who’ve received a buyout or other parting package they thought would set them up for life only to discover it wasn’t enough, and then had trouble getting new work.
In short, I want your views on these issues — and others that you’d like addressed. We can build a community around what we learn together.
Do you have a story about age discrimination in the workplace? Help us with our reporting by answering some questions here.
Of course, I’m not your person if you’re looking for help with your particular job hunt. Or what to wear after 50. But with your help I can provide a realistic report about the challenges, setbacks and victories that real people face living out the rest of their lives. Please contact me at: [email protected], or by leaving a message at 917-512-0258.
I’m also dusting off my Facebook account, where I’ll post my stories and anything useful I find along the way. So please don’t be shy.