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Eric Myers' Man of the House - Fear And Doubt

Eric Myers • Jul 7, 2014 at 7:36 AM

When the stage was set for me to begin looking for work two nagging facts were front and center on my mind. The first, was that I had been out of the work world for ten years. The second was that I was 45 years old.

Ten years. I don't care where you live, things change in ten years. And in America A LOT changes in ten years. When I left the business world Windows XP was the rage, cell phones were coming on, and email was the new norm. There were no smart phones, no texting, no cloud, no apps. I had a ten year gap on my resume. I couldn't shake the feeling that the situation was bad. And to make matters worse it was a ten year gap during the prime season in a person's working life, when they are really solidifying themselves in their careers. That kinda gave me a sick feeling.

On top of that I was 45. Now, in the job hunt at 45 is one thing if you're employed and have a solid resume to draw on. It's an all together different feeling when you're 45 with ten years of, well, nothing. Yes, I understand that at 45 you're as close to 40 as you are to 50 but in my mind, I felt like my prospective employers were going to view me as being a lot closer to 50. And the job market is really slim when you're looking for work at 50. Not an issue if you want to work an hourly part-time gig somewhere, but if you're wanting to begin a career of meaningful employment, the kind with benefits and retirement and perks, and you want it with a solid company, then being 45 with a ten year void on your resume becomes the kind of things that begin to shake your confidence.

You are looking for work when you're 35? Not as bad. You got time. Tried and failed at a business at 28? Not a problem.. Heck, people are just getting out of certain schools at 28. You're fine. But, 45? To me, I had to apply a Seinfeldism to myself and say, "That's a pretty big matzo ball hanging out there."

"Who's going to hire you?" your mind says, "you're almost 50?" "What kind of skills do you have to offer?" "You don't even own a smartphone!" "You don't know the latest computer software." And what I mean here is that I couldn't even name the latest software let alone use it. I knew rationally that I didn't need these kinds of things to just live life and get along from day to day. But, to compete in the job market and to be up against younger people for positions who did know these things was something else that shakes your confidence.

With every job applied for and with every rejection you wonder...was it my age? Was it the ten year gap? Not even an interview? Wow. You begin to doubt yourself and your abilities and your self-worth. It's tough. No question.

You have to think positively and remind yourself that you have lots of skills and abilities and a lot to offer an employer. You have life experience. You handle stress better than some young kid, you can multi-task better, and you just bring wisdom to the job than a younger person simply doesn't have. They can't. Why? Because they're not 45! All kinds of things go into a hiring decision. You just never know. The right position is out there for you. Just be patient.

And then the phone rings. You have an interview. You're excited and nervous at the same time. And, oh yes, you're friends 'fear and doubt' are present during this phase too. We'll discuss this dance next time.

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