Careers, jobs, income…life

Whether I am seen as a seething  materialist or not doesn’t really worry me, but I have a burning desire to earn my own living once more. Thoughts along these lines assail me frequently during the day and I need to get myself well-distracted before trying to sleep at night. It bothers me far more than others realize, I think. I’ve had my GP and shrink say in a fairly offhand way, “You’ll be OK when you find a job again”, but I can’t seem to get any real help in solving the problem.

Sure, I can go down to the local grocer’s and get a part-time job on the cash register- they even said they’d teach me how to use it, as I’ve never worked one! However, I’d have to be in a very happy mood to find this sort of work worthwhile after working in knowledge-based industries all my working life. I find it hard to accept working in a very routine job like this as I haven’t “filled in” the household income in sundry jobs while bringing up a family, perhaps; or I’m an intellectual snob!

Now, if I was living alone and needed an income to stay alive, I would probably be much more willing to work at the grocer’s, but I am somewhat protected from that by having Spotrick pay my share at the moment. However, having my share of living expenses paid makes me extremely uncomfortable, due to my upbringing and lack of practice of being financially dependent since I was a child. You might think I could have adapted by now and be quite happy to accept being subsidized, as young women do when they choose to be mothers and housekeepers for their partners. But I haven’t been able to adapt and have quite a lot of anxiety about it as you can tell by my preoccupation with finding a job. From my background in psychology I can tell that my concerns are pretty pathological but my attempts to shed them have been fruitless!

I came into contact with the charitable employment agency DOME [Don’t Overlook Mature Expertise] several years ago where I spoke to counselors and attended meetings and seminars. They agreed that I and several people there made redundant from senior positions were unusual in their experience and that professionals usually obtained jobs through other channels. Granted the unavailability of professional positions, they found a few that I might have been able to take on, but they weren’t really viable for me. One was to purchase a franchise in selling small machine parts, screws, nuts, bolts etc from a mobile van to various manufacturing sites that need supplies fast. However, I had no capital base with which to purchase a franchise, even if I decided the job was attractive. Another position was as a Person Friday for a someone who was a part-time inventor & evaluator [of what was never revealed!]. They wanted someone to keep their computers working, maintain the accounts, write about the inventions & evaluations, be a bit of a small-scale handyperson, fetch lunches & general roustabouting! It sounded vaguely interesting, but too unpredictable for me.

I’ve been through the normal process of applying for jobs advertised in various places, asking around my social networks and approaching possible workplaces, but haven’t had a single encouraging word. When I first started applying for suitable positions I got plenty of interviews, but obviously didn’t land a job from any of them. I got the impression from feedback [which was always vague & minimal, even in person] and discovering who was successful, that my age and history of always working in knowledge-based fields were negative factors. I found that young people between 25 and 35 always obtained the positions and that former nurses usually landed all the health-research positions (a growing trend). It was almost as though employers thought I had “had my turn” in employment, as evident from my CV, and thought I was less deserving of a current job in comparison to the younger applicants. I can’t have been mistaken about my suitability for some positions, can I, having been very successful at obtaining jobs via interviews in the past? Anyway the hackneyed phrase “the successful applicant performed better than you on the day” was starting to make me feel quite murderous!

Spotrick has probably hit the nail on the head by saying yesterday “you’re already retired- why keep looking for a job?”. This just won’t work for me as retired people have either superannuation or a pension to live on. I’d love to get stuck into my hobbies and travel somewhere twice a year, but it’s impossible. The guy who wrote this article is quite comfortably off, so finding it was not very gratifying!

Recently I’ve looked again at job advertisements in my preferred field (health research & policy) and found plenty of positions available- but all in other Australian states. At this stage of my life I really can’t move house as Spotrick has a good job and couldn’t land a similar job elsewhere at his age either. It’s very irritating that many of these jobs could be performed quite well from Adelaide as they require little interaction with real live humans! However, the centres of population and government administration are in the eastern states and I’m not.

I’ve been looking on the internet today for information on jobs for older women and found a few ideas. This site:

says “There are careers for older women where the age factor is not relevant…” and goes on to suggest:

“Writers. Writing novels, plays or children’s books are one of those professions whose only requirement is good writing skills. Also, you can do the job at the comfort of your own home, a plus factor if you’re in your advanced years.

Lectures or speaking engagements. Speakers that are invited to discuss certain topics do not really have an age requirement. Qualification focuses more on firsthand knowledge and experience of a specific field.

Specialized professional work. For applicants in the medical field, for example, experience is the basic determinant of being hired.

As we can see from the examples, it’s clear that knowledge-based careers are the natural careers for older women.”

Therefore, having been a knowledge-based worker, I should find some of these easy. I can certainly write, but haven’t found a way to make it pay, although I have earned some good pocket-money doing editing [thanks to connections I have discovered via Social Media :-)]. The medical professional jobs don’t apply to me- I’m a researcher, not a provider of medical services. I’ve tried for lecturing, tutoring and speaking engagements but had none since I was actually employed somewhere else in 2007.

Then again, Bill Bennett writes from New Zealand and seems to reinforce my perception that knowledge workers don’t have an icecube’s chance in hell of finding a new job these days!

Has anyone got any more ideas for me? I’ve been a successful university lecturer,project-managed research in various settings, led small health interventions with high school students, spoken at conferences [on 3 continents] on psychological and  mental health topics esp. eating disorders, and talked to community groups like Rotary & Arthritis Foundation about general public health topics. I’m generally perceived as a quiet person except when I’m speaking about one of my passions, I work well in a team but can also work entirely on my own without need for constant checking, I often think outside the square, have a very broad general knowledge and a huge working vocabulary [apparently]. My scientific writing has been published in international peer-reviewed journals and I can write short or lengthy technical reports or reviews without much trouble. Obviously I can also rave on successfully in blogs as I have two! [The other is “Health for Humans” at:





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s