"Do Not Discard!"

Join this bionic grandma in her battle against "the wrinkled years."

"Do Not Discard!"

UNEMPLOYABLE BY A WRINKLE

THE ROCKING-CHAIR STEREOTYPE IS BURYING US

It’s 4 a.m. My mind is a merry-go-round replaying the frustrations of the day. Like many of you I am looking for a job to supplement my reason for existence and help pay the bills which — NEWSFLASH — don’t stop after you reach the age of free donuts with the presentation of your AARP card.

I see the fat cats in Congress on the TV and my blood boils at their failure to do their job. They are why Society has linked adding birthdays to losing brain cells. What America needs is an army of us who have a proper work ethic and  have spent our lives in the trenches of real life. We know how to roll up our sleeves and get things done — whether it’s raising funds for our favorite charity or settling the war of all wars between battling cranky grandkids.  Yet that will never happen because it’s obvious most of us have lived past our expiration dates and are brain-dead by wrinkles.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has to take off the rose-colored glasses when spouting statistics. They cheerily report that we make up the smaller group in today’s workforce.  Of course we do. Half of us are already dead.

It goes on to project that the “number of workers overall, the 65- to 74-year-old and 75-and-older age groups will have the fastest rates of labor force growth annually than any other age groups.”  Of course we will. The baby boomers are creeping into our territory and muddying the waters of old-foggydom.

In 2014 (latest stats available) about 40 percent of people ages 55 and older were working or actively looking for work. Over the entire 2014–24 decade, the labor force growth rate of the 65- to 74-year-old age group is expected to jump to 55 percent and for the 75-and-older age group to 86 percent — 86 per cent of us still on our feet will be looking for a job to survive.

Statisticians claim that we are healthier and have a longer life expectancy than previous generations and that we are better educated, which increases the likelihood of staying in the labor force. Finally they acknowledge that “changes to Social Security benefits and employee retirement plans, along with the need to save more for retirement, create incentives to keep working.” Bingo!  But they forgot that many of us are already unemployed and underemployed and considered unemployable by age.
 

They offer a list of self-employment opportunities:

  • Animal trainers — I always wanted to try my hand at lion taming, but aren’t circuses verboten now?
  • Craft artists — Anything I can do, they can do better.
  • Door-to-door sales person — Do I really want to be the person we all hate?
  • Farmers and other agricultural managers — I don’t think growing tomatoes in a pot is going to pay my mortgage.
  • Fishing and hunting workers — Oh, please! Shoot Bambi?  Besides I need more than seasonal work.

For part-time employment opportunities (for the 40 percent of us 65 and older who are looking for work right now) they list minimum-wage jobs which are fine unless you need to pay a mortgage. And many of those require skills you may have witnessed over a lifetime, but have no experience with — library technicians,  cashiers, embalmers and funeral attendants.

The good part-time jobs that use our skills learned over a lifetime require online computer applications and online we don’t have a chance.  The minute we date ourselves with the required date of any diploma — high-school up — we are marked for discard. 

So what do you do?  You get up at 4 a.m. when your mind is a merry-go-round replaying the frustrations of the day and research your predicament, rant on a blog and vow that when the sun comes up you will live boldly and raise your fist in the air “I am not for discard!”  And what am I going to do?

I’m going to write the Donald and I don’t mean Duck. In his seventies he’s one of us and he needs to know we’re still out here.