4 posts categorized "SAGEWorks"

September 23, 2013

SAGE Celebrates National Employ Older Workers Week

Today's blog post was written by SAGEWorks  Program Manager, Michele D'Amato. To learn more about SAGEWorks and sign-up for information, click here.

This week the U. S. Department of Labor recognizes the contributions of workers 55 years and older through National Employ Older Workers WeekSAGEWorks, a national employment support program for LGBT people 40 and over, has been providing such recognition for years in New York City and in five affiliates across the country. 

Sageworks1The new economy has brought new challenges for older workers.  The length of time to find a job for people 55-64 years old is 46 weeks, compared to 20 weeks for 16-24 year olds.  There is also a lower re-employment rate for the mature worker (47%) compared to younger workers (62%).  This can be attributed partly to the unfounded belief that older workers do not embrace technology, are overqualified and demand higher salaries.  LGBT people have fought discrimination all their lives.  We cannot allow ageism to hold us back from succeeding in the workplace. 

Last year we found out through a telephone survey conducted by Adecco, a large human resources consulting firm, that hiring managers are three times more likely to hire a mature worker.  This is what the report identified as common characteristics of older workers: reliable, professional, superior writing skills, good listeners, positive work ethic, problem solvers, strong leaders and great time managers.  These are the great qualities we focus on in SAGEWorks, along with providing hands-on workshops, technology training and job-hunting skills that take place in an LGBT age-friendly environment. 

Most of all, we let the participants know they are not alone and that there is a place where LGBT people 40 and over can find a peer network that can help them navigate today’s tough employment market.  We will be celebrating older workers long past this week and invite anyone who is struggling to find employment to join our program.  

August 21, 2013

Victories Large and Small: Five Years of Program Wins for LGBT Older Adults

Today’s post is from Catherine Thurston, Senior Director for Programs at SAGE.

SageMatters_summer2013This past June, the LGBT community across the country (and around the world) celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In the days following the decision, I heard many SAGE constituents say that this was as seminal a moment for the LGBT civil rights movement as the Stonewall Riots 45 years ago—and that they felt privileged to have witnessed both events. There is no doubt that this is true, and we at SAGE celebrated that victory joyously, especially because we have a long and deep relationship with the wonderful Edie Windsor. Yet as I thought about what SAGE has accomplished in these last five years, I realized that for the LGBT older adults we engage, SAGE has led victories that, while not as publicized, have been life-changing all the same. Here are four areas where LGBT older adults have seen—and helped make—significant  changes in their lives and in their systems of support:

Continue reading "Victories Large and Small: Five Years of Program Wins for LGBT Older Adults" »

August 14, 2013

Overcoming Barriers While Looking for Work

Howard.leifmanToday's guest post is written by Dr. Howard Leifman.  Dr. Leifman is a NYS licensed psychotherapist and career coach.  He works with individuals and corporations to assist them better themselves and their organizations.  He has been a SAGE Volunteer since 1990.  He regularly runs workshops for SAGEWorks.

Looking for work has never been easy! Somehow when we were younger, it did seem easier, but the truth is, it never was easy.  We just either cared less or didn’t seem to be aware of as much as we do now. 

The challenge is we look at ourselves and see more doubt, more possible rejections and sadly more barriers! As a therapist and professional coach I work with individuals of all ages work through these barriers, both the real and the perceived ones.

I make this distinction because yes there are some very real barriers to finding work but then there are also some barriers that we put up ourselves. I’ll share some of the most common ones I hear and how I work with people to do something about them.

1. I’m too old!

My response is too old for what? If you believe you are too old to do the job and bring that thinking into the interview then guess what, your interviewer isn’t going to try and challenge you on it.  If you don’t believe you can do the job, it is not the responsibility of the interviewer to persuade you otherwise.

One of the biggest changes I try and get clients to make is go into an interview with your strengths showing not waving a banner of your weaknesses! Once again, I am not going to say this is easy, only be careful not to sabotage yourself before you get started! 

Some of the ways to overcome this is to think about the requirements of the job that are stated in the job description.  Think about experiences you have had in the past that are similar and that you have been successful at.  Think about examples you can share with the interviewer that demonstrates where and how you have done this and what the outcomes were. Be ready to share a story that has a beginning, middle and end!  A short story not a novel! Have a point of view and come to it quickly.

2. They’re never going to hire me!

With thinking like this you are correct!  We call this the self fulfilling prophecy.  If you go into the interview already defeated there isn’t much place to go. If you go into the interview saying, I can do this, I have done this and they would be lucky to have me then you have a shot.  Don’t be cocky just confident. 

Again, here is your opportunity to share where and how you have done something like this or similar to this.  Here is your opportunity to share with them how you made a difference. 

3. There are so many people to choose from, why would they choose me?

Granted there are a lot of people, of all ages, to choose from. However, because you are more mature than many, you can bring more experience, more knowledge and more understanding to the job than many, you might also be better than most! But you have to believe it.

4. So much has changed in technology I can never learn!

The truth is learning how to go from a typewriter to a computer was more of a change than going from one format to another! While there are a number of new programs and technological skills out there, the basics still remain. Still nervous? Take a computer class or visit YouTube for a wealth of how-to tutorials and brush up on your skills.

The real key to overcoming barriers is trying, learning and practicing! If you aren’t willing to try, it won’t happen; if you are not open to learning new things, it won’t happen; and if you don’t practice it, you take your chances that it won’t be successful. 

I’m not saying it is easy, but then again, what is.  What I am saying is I see people succeeding everyday so I know it is doable!!  This is also where SAGE is so helpful.  They have the people and the resources to help you TRY, LEARN and PRACTICE!        

So I leave you today with this one thought.  Have you tried, learned and practiced something new today?  If not, contact SAGE and let them share with you how you can!

 

June 7, 2013

Why Paid Leave Is an LGBT Aging Issue

Today's post is from Jared Make, Staff Attorney at A Better Balance, an organization that promotes equality and expands choices for men and women at all income levels so they may care for their families without sacrificing their economic security. You can contact Jared at jmake@abetterbalance.org.

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When illness strikes, many American workers learn that their employers provide little or no paid leave. LGBT workers often face an additional obstacle when loved ones are sick, because their employers may not recognize their families. The widespread lack of LGBT-inclusive paid leave has significant consequences for workers, their loved ones, and the health of our communities. Although it may not be apparent at first glance, paid leave laws are especially critical to the health and economic security of LGBT elders—whether or not they’re in the labor force.

A significant percentage of American workers, including a growing number of LGBT elders, receive no paid leave for personal or family health issues. Almost 90% of private sector workers receive no paid family leave to care for a seriously ill loved one, and nearly 40% of private sector workers lack even a single paid sick day. Many of these workers are LGBT older adults. The population of LGBT elders in the United States is growing at a substantial rate, and LGBT Americans are staying in the labor force for longer periods of time. In a 2009 survey of LGBT Americans between the ages of 45 and 64, almost half of all respondents said they did not expect to retire until after the age of 70.

If LGBT elders in the labor force cannot take time off to receive medical care or recover from illness, their health and well-being are jeopardized. As highlighted by SAGE, LGBT elders face striking health disparities: LGBT older adults have an increased risk for certain cancers, a greater likelihood of delaying medical care, and higher rates of chronic mental and physical health conditions, including HIV/AIDS. Given these health disparities, it is crucial that LGBT elders are able to take off from work to receive medical attention or care for a sick loved one.

Continue reading "Why Paid Leave Is an LGBT Aging Issue" »

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