Saturday, September 4, 2010

And the Aged Shall Rise Up

We made a new acquaintance via our last yard sale. He had stopped by purchased an item and left us with his business card. He had a lawn service and did small engine repair as well. Since my husband is attempting to supplement his meager income with whatever odd jobs he can find until he finds better employment he wanted to get his weed eater repaired.

We had to drive to the neighborhood across the highway, not that far. The homes and properties are probably worth about double what they sell for in our neighborhood. The first thing I noticed was everything was for sale. He wasn't exactly having a yard sale but he had furniture, lawnmowers, exercise equipment, and his boat all lined up with price tags and a phone number displayed. We talked a while and learned that he hurt his back and wasn't running a business any more. His wife had a job making four times what I make until she was laid off two years ago. He said she is about to run out of unemployment and is having difficulty finding a job because of her size and her age of 56.

It was like a meeting of the truly poor and the newly poor. They had been in a much better position than us before the collapse. They may have been overextended in their spending but they hadn't imagined a time when the work would stop coming in.

He told us his wife has been job hunting a long time. She has applied and interviewed and followed up in many places. He said the most frustrating aspect of this is when she goes back to the place she interviewed at to see their new 20 year old employee. He said there aren't as many jobs and from what he has witnessed more jobs are going to the younger generation.

We all need employment, young and old. I'm not agreeing that one should be hired over the other. Myself? In the past I could leave one job walk two doors down and have another the following day. I have never had a problem finding work. I have management experience and interview well. There are very few opportunities at this time. It's rough.

I applied at another company a while back on the recommendation of a regular customer of mine who works there. She gave me a glowing reference, I introduced myself and shook hands with the manager. He said as soon as a position became available he would call me in for an interview. I knew it could take some time. I found out recently he hired a 17 year old and I never even got an interview. Since then I've noticed several places that have said they aren't hiring will be training new people a week or two later all under the age of 24. It's frustrating. I am surprised to have less opportunities based on my age. I thought I was still fairly young.

I keep reading scare stories of how we will have to work until we are 70 to collect social security. Where? Just where are all of us going to find work? I wonder if we are coming to a day when aged gangs will start robbing banks and become cult heroes like the outlaws of the 1930's?

"Can you describe the robbers?" asks the detective.

"I don't know," says the terrified bank teller, "It all happened so fast. A couple of grey haired men came in with guns and started shouting orders and the next thing I knew I was tossing the money into a large sack attached to an old ladies walker. After she hobbled out to the get-away-car they ran out and were gone."

Another scenario is to lower the retirement age to 40. Hey, I can dream can't I.


  1. WP: Thank you for your comment on my blog about hard times. I know how we are making it in our household (because we learned how to scrape by, cook economically, etc.) but I shudder when I walk into a grocery store and see the prices. How would I do it if I were a young mother today in this economy? Your post rings true and goes back to the thought I can no longer shake: we are all impoverished.

    Hang in there. I know--like you have a choice, huh? ;-)

  2. I love your fantasy (or maybe in the future not?) about the gray haired robbers and their granny moll!
    At least you haven't lost your sense of humor (or maybe a sense of America's hubris?) along with your income