11 posts categorized "Work"

April 14, 2016

Financial Decision Making Tips for Elders

This post originally appeared on National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA) on April 6th, 2016. Read the original post here

By Christine Herman

Making good financial decisions isn’t easy. Despite the fact that we gain knowledge over the course of our lives, as Elders it actually becomes more difficult to make sound financial choices. Surprisingly, as part of the aging process, our decision-making ability starts to decline in our 50s. Cognitive impairment and conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease can accelerate the decline of decision-making ability.

But it’s not just our ability to understand financial situations that makes it difficult. The world is increasingly complex, with many different costs and expenses to keep track of each month. It is also more complicated, as financial services have become more and more difficult to understand – and some of them are downright dangerous.

Tight budgets and thin paychecks have caused many of us – Elders and our children alike – to find it hard to make ends meet. Loans which didn’t exist 50 years ago – payday loans, car title loans, tax refund loans, and other types of loans, have crept into our communities. These loans are what are called “predatory loans” because the companies that make them only care about their own profits – often at the expense of American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Unfortunately, research suggests that in some parts of Indian Country, as many as 50% of all AI/AN have used predatory loans.

Though many nations have tried to put a stop to these loans, they’re often still legal outside of tribal jurisdiction and just a short drive from our communities. The results are often tragic – people spend thousands upon thousands of dollars struggling to get out of debt, often because of a loan that was only a few hundred dollars. Some AI/AN have gone without food, and others have lost their cars or even their homes as a result of these predators and their loans.

While finances can be complicated, creating a basic budget to understand where one’s money is going every month – and how much is coming in – is crucial for our wellbeing. It is also important to learn how to identify and avoid bad loans and financial services that are designed to hurt us and make others rich. So too is knowing what services and benefits are available to help make ends meet – and there are some good resources available to help make financial decisions a little easier.

Making decisions about money can be challenging. So much so, that we may put off making decisions until another day. But the financial decisions you make (or don’t make) through the course of your life can have far-reaching effects as you age. For Elders on a tight budget, the financial decisions you make today are very important and can have a dramatic impact on your current standard of living, as well as what you may be able to leave your children or heirs in the future.

Financial decision-making may not get easier with age

Evidence suggests that even though we gain experience making financial decisions as we age, unfortunately our cognitive ability – the ability to think a problem through – decreases after age 53.  (1) This means that making good decisions when it comes to managing money, investments, and debts gets more difficult for Elders as they age.

Elders with “mild cognitive impairment” – those who have some difficulty with memory – will experience much more difficulty making good financial decisions. This is a part of the aging process, as the ability to easily and quickly learn new information begins to decrease in ones 60’s, and more rapidly decreases in ones 70’s. Elders with diagnosed dementia or Alzheimer’s disease will experience a more rapid decline in their ability to make financial decisions.(2) In 2010, American Elders lost $2.9 billion dollars due to financial abuse such as fraud and scams.  (1)

Password nicoa Threats to Financial Safety

There are a growing number of threats to financial safety. The age of the Internet has brought new threats, with hackers – computer criminals – and “viruses” – bad computer programs – that are able to steal financial information by using fraudulent emails or websites. In addition, high interest loans or financial services that take advantage of the need for quick cash can be very expensive and can wreck your financial future.

Loan services are a major problem around AI/AN communities. While many nations in Indian Country have passed laws to limit or outlaw services such as payday loans, title loans, or tax refund loans, these services do still legally operate outside of tribal lands in many states. The companies providing these types of loans are often referred to as “predatory lenders” because the loans come with very high interest rates – the price paid for the money borrowed – and other fees that can make the loan difficult or impossible to repay.  (3)

In many communities, there may be little or no access to banking services and even those living near a bank may find it difficult to get a personal loan. Because of disparities in income and little or no access to banks and credit, AI/AN communities are by far the largest population using predatory loans. Where only about 6% of the general population in the United States has utilized these types of loans, research has shown that nearly half of American Indians on New Mexico and South Dakota reservations have used them before.  (3)

For example, a title loan – a predatory loan against the ownership of a car – has an interest rate of 300% and only pays a loan amount of 26% of the vehicle’s value on average.   The average title loan recipient will receive a loan of $951 but will have to pay $2,142 in interest in addition to the loan amount. The total to repay the loan, on average, is $3093.  (4)

Title-Loans-300x192

In other words, the average total price for every $1.00 borrowed is $2.26, and the repayment for every dollar borrowed is $3.26. Those who cannot repay the loan will lose their vehicle, may be charged fees and may still be required to repay part of or the entire loan.

While payday, installment, or tax refund loans may not carry the risk of the loss of a vehicle, they too carry very high interest rates and fees that make repayment extremely expensive. All such predatory loans are designed to help the company that issues the loan make a hefty profit, regardless of the consequences to the borrower. Especially for Elders on a “fixed income” of Social Security and/or retirement benefits, such loans can be devastating whether or not they result in the loss of property.

Half of all states have laws to outlaw predatory lending, but unfortunately predatory loans may still exist. Some companies within Indian Country operate on nations where predatory lending is still not illegal, and may offer large loans with repayment over many years. These loans have the same characteristics of the smaller predatory loans, and may cost eight times as much as the loan amount to repay.  (5) Extreme caution should be used when looking for a loan whether or not the source of the loan is inside or outside Indian Country.

Other threats to your financial security may include scam artists or other fraudulent activities. Watch out for and avoid unsolicited mail, email or messages demanding that you verify bank account or other personal information. Never open email from unfamiliar senders. Always do business with companies and individuals that you are familiar with to avoid the possibility of being scammed. If it is “too good to be true,” it probably is!  (1)

Making Good Financial Decisions

Financial decisions are often complicated and can be confusing. However, a number of different resources are available to help make understanding and dealing with financial issues easier. The resources below can help you create a better financial plan.

Calc

Online calculators

The online calculator found on the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) website (https://secure.aarp.org/work/retirement-planning/retirement_calculator.html), and can help determine how much money you need to retire based on a wide variety of financial factors.

A Retirement Estimator, tool found on the Social Security Administration website (https://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire/estimator.html is a resource to help you more accurately plan for retirement by helping determine how much your social security benefit will be.

And finally, the online calculator found on Credit Karma’s website (https://www.creditkarma.com/calculators/debtrepayment) can help you determine how long it will take to pay back a loan or credit card based on the amount borrowed, the interest rate, and either how much you can pay per month or how soon you want to repay the debt.

Create a monthly budget

Especially for Elders on a fixed income, it is critical to have a clear picture of all the monthly expenses and income in the household. Gather all of the monthly bills (known as ‘fixed expenses” – the same every month), social security statements, pension and/or retirement income statements, as well as receipts for things like groceries and fuel (known as ‘variable expenses’ because they can change month to month).

Download the easy NICOA basic budget tool (requires Microsoft Excel) or create a simple document listing the following to get an idea of how much is spent every month and how much income is available to cover expenses:

  • Fixed Expenses: mortgage/rent payment; home owner/renter insurance; health insurance/Medicare; life insurance; car payment; car insurance; phone bill; cable/satellite bill; internet bill; other loans payments,
    • Subtotal (add all fixed expenses): $
  • Variable Expenses: electricity bill; natural gas/propane/heating oil bill; water bill; gasoline or diesel expenses; credit card payments; food and household goods expenses; prescription costs; other purchases (like appliances, clothes, copays, etc):
    • Subtotal (add all variable expenses): $
    • TOTAL EXPENSES (add fixed and variable expenses): $
  • Income: social security benefits; retirement/investment income; pension income; salary from work; other sources of income:
    • TOTAL INCOME (add all income): $
    • NET INCOME (subtract expenses from income): $

If net income is a positive number (like $250), this is the money left over after all monthly bills and expenses are paid. If net income is a negative number (like -$135), the expenses are more than monthly income and cannot be paid without taking on debt (like loans, credit cards, etc.), reducing expenses (like canceling cable or internet service), or attaining more income or financial assistance (like a new job or SNAP benefits).

NestStart saving money – it’s not too late

Start saving money every month. Saving $25 per week, every week for ten years in an account that paid no interest would amount to $13,000! Many credit unions and banks offer free savings accounts which pay interest (pay you money). Other credit unions and some banks offer a free checking account if certain conditions are met, like having a monthly direct deposit (such as a Social Security check or paycheck) put directly into the account.

You can choose to have a certain amount of money automatically moved from checking to savings each month, a secure way to put money away for retirement without even having to think about it. Check with your local credit union or bank for details about different accounts that are available and ask about free savings and checking account services. Starting to save early and saving as much as possible will help ensure a secure financial future.

Never use predatory loans!

Loan companies specializing in predatory loans are there to make money for themselves at the expense of the borrower. Predatory lenders do not care what happens to the borrower, whether it’s paying thousands of dollars in interest, going hungry, or even losing a car or home due to an inability to pay monthly expenses.

NEVER sign without reading the “fine print”

Contracts and agreements to buy products or services, for loans, or for other legal or financial matters are VERY important. The conditions for buying the product or service are found in these documents – often in the “fine print” – specify the terms that are being agreed to and may be legally binding. Even though the documents are usually lengthy and may contain complicated legal language, always read them before signing anything. Make sure that the terms and conditions are clear and understandable.

If the document does not make sense or is too hard to understand, request a copy of the contract and seek the advice of someone who is knowledgeable and qualified to explain it. NEVER sign anything that does not make sense or is too hard to understand without getting help first. It is easy to walk away from a bad deal before any documents are signed, but after a contract is signed, it can be very hard to get out of one. Do not give into the pressure of someone trying to make a deal; it’s always okay to walk away and come back later.

Get Help: Counseling & Benefits

Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) can provide options counseling services and connections to resources that can assist with financial planning. These centers can also help Elders get benefits, such as help to pay for food, electricity and heat, phone services, medical costs, prescriptions, and much more.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living provides an interactive map to help locate an ADRC near you (http://www.adrc-tae.acl.gov/tiki-index.php?page_ref_id=739), as well as a complete directory of ADRCs in the U.S. and U.S. territories.

SOURCES:

  1. Setzfand, Jean C. (2011). Give Your Parents the Gift of Financial Peace of Mind. Retrieved November 2015, from AARP:http://www.aarp.org/money/investing/info-10-2011/financial-help-for-elderly-parents.html
  2. Eisenberg, Richard (2013). How Aging Impacts Our Financial Decisions. Retrieved November 2015, from Next Avenue;http://www.nextavenue.org/how-aging-impacts-our-financial-decisions/
  3. Wessler, Seth Freed (2014). Endless Debt: Native Americans Plagued High-Interest Loans. Retrieved November 2015, from NBC News; http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/in-plain-sight/endless-debt-native-americans-plagued-high-interest-loans-n236706
  4. Giusti, Autumn Cafiero (2013). The Consumer Perils of a Car Title Loan. Retrieved November 2015, from Bankrate:http://www.bankrate.com/finance/auto/consumer-perils-car-title-loan.aspx
  5. Pilnick, Katherine (2013). Regulations Target Western Sky and Native American Predatory Lending. Retrieved November 2015, from Debt. Org: https://www.debt.org/2013/02/25/western-sky-predatory-lending/

 

 

April 4, 2016

SAGEMatters Spring 2016: Our Stories, Our Voices

Sagematters_spring2016_800

SAGEMatters Spring 2016: Our Stories, Our Voices

SAGE is proud to lead the charge on behalf of LGBT older people, whose stories are most powerful when LGBT elders themselves tell them. In this issue you'll hear an extraordinary array of voices.

The cover features Bishop Tonyia Rawls—a religious leader whose Charlotte congregation is part of Unity Fellowship Church, which was born from a need to minister primarily to LGBT African Americans during the height of the AIDS crisis. For the third year in a row, Bishop Rawls enlisted members of Charlotte's faith community to participate in the SAGE storytelling Summit, which harnesses the power of stories to advance anti-discrimination efforts in North Carolina. In this issue, Bishop Rawls talks about working with clergy in North Carolina and leveraging those relationships to build a system of mutual respect and hope for LGBT communities.

You'll also hear from several participants in SAGEWorks, a national employment initiative for LGBT people 40 and above. This initiative ignites the potential within members of our community who have fallen out of the workforce late in their careers and hare having a hard time getting back in.

We're particularly proud to share a conversation with Ruth Berman and Connie Kurtz, who have transformed countless lives through their work as activists, certified counselors, and founders of chapters of Parents, Friends and Family of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) in Florida and New York. Ruth and Connie were recently honored with the SAGE Pioneer Award, which recognizes LGBT older people who pave the way for LGBT equality.

And lastly, we're honored to share an essay by Tim Maher, who reflects on his late mother's final days on Fire Island, the LGBT summer community where his family eventually came to accept him as a gay man. SAGE's cart service made Fire Island accessible to his mother during that time, just as it does for other older people, including those who need assistance moving around the car-free community. Tim's essay is the first in a series of stories about caregiving within our communities.

I hope you're as moved and inspired by these voices as I am. They are the sources of strength, resilience and warmth that enrich our communities, year after year.

 

6a017c34619ea6970b01bb09025d51970d-200wi

Michael Adams
Chief Executive Officer

SAGEMatters is the triannual magazine of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). View and download the Spring 2016 issue here.

March 25, 2016

Kim Watson: A Fearless Advocate for the Trans Community

By Vera Lukacs

Award-winning trans advocate Kim Watson’s inspirational work paves way for the LGBTQ community.

In celebration of Women’s History Month, SAGE would like to bring attention to a particularly inspiring woman. Kim Watson is the co-founder of Community Kinship Life (CKLife), an organization that provides services, resources and support to transgender people. Kim is a mentor and mother figure to young trans people, bringing  them together to live and learn in a safe and stimulating space. Kim also works with Black Transmen Inc., and is currently writing Healing Our Women for POC Trans Women.

Kim watsonKim, herself a woman of transgender experience, advocates for many other transgender people. When asked about the importance of allies in the transgender community, she says, “Allies are folks who are committed to support their SOFFA (significant other family friends and allies) without any deception. The LGBTQ community still has hiccups while trying to support the trans* community, but with dedication they will get better, I believe, in time.”

In a recent GLAAD blog post for #LGBTQFamilies Day, Kim Watson shares on being a mother, wife and mentor of trans experience: “I am also the mother figure/mentor of chosen kids. I have nine boys and one girl who are my chosen children. Now, being a mother figure to these kids has stabilized my patience, my commitment, my passion and energy to keep loving all of them unconditionally. I cannot always see them, but every day I speak to most of them, or they text me.”

Kim is the recipient of many awards, including the Christine Jorgenson Award, the Black Trans Ally Award, and the Certificate of Merit from Senator Jose Serrano (NY).

Kim says, as an aging advocate, it’s important to “stay stress free and practice self care”. Kim, we thank you for your hard work and advocacy for the trans community!

March 17, 2016

SAGEWorks: Helping Women Rejoin the Workforce

By Vera Lukacs

As part of a larger effort to support and benefit LGBT older adults, SAGE held a special SAGEWorks event on March 16th to help those looking to rejoin the workforce. Panelists included Jason Rosenbaum (Thomson Reuters), Jens Audenaert (ADP), JoAnne D'Aleo (The Transition Network), Angela Lee (Callen-Lorde), Addie Rimmer (Workforce Opportunity Services) and Tawanna Huguley (Good Shepherd Services).

Participant Wanda Lawrence found the event highly informative. “I’m feeling more confident now as opposed to when I walked in the door. This has been a challenge for me but I feel very supported in this space.”

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2016-03-17/c3f59f4c19cf4d92949f611587285b53.pngPanelists at SAGE Center Midtown: Photo by Michele D'Amato

In the article, Older Women Are Being Forced Out of the Workforce, Harvard Business Review highlights a study by economists at the University of California at Irvine and Tulane University that uncovers “robust evidence of age discrimination in hiring against older women.” One example of gender and age disparities in the workforce is the lower callback rate for middle-aged female applicants, as compared to their younger counterparts. The rate comparison between middle-aged and young male applicants was similar.

It’s no surprise that women and men experience the workplace differently. For instance, a woman makes 79 cents to every dollar a man makes. It’s a cold, hard fact that women have a harder time getting jobs, keeping them, and growing within their positions over time — and it’s especially challenging for older women in the LGBT community.

SAGEWorks, a national employment initiative for LGBT adults 40 years and older, connects LGBT job seekers with the skills and support to land a job in their desired field. Programs include 2-week boot camps, individual coaching, work readiness exercises, and more.

To commemorate Women’s History Month, SAGE is sharing the unique perspectives of aging LGBT women. Do you have a workplace story to share? Tell us in the comments!  

March 15, 2016

Engaging Volunteers in Grassroots Awareness Building

This post originally appeared on Diverse Elders Coalition on March 15th, 2016. Read the original post here.

by Tim Johnston, Assistant Director of Social Enterprise and Training, and Sherrill Wayland, Manager of National Projects, at SAGE.

Sometimes it feels like every time we turn around, somebody is talking about working at the grassroots level. From grassroots education and political organizing to crowdsourcing and the hive mind, focusing on grassroots engagement is certainly popular, but what does it really mean, and why is it useful?

To us, grassroots engagement means engaging and supporting a diffuse and diverse network of volunteers; in particular, folks who are outside of our professional and personal networks. Here’s an example: we manage the largest LGBT aging provider training program in the United States. It’s our job to make sure that people all across the country know the unique needs and resiliencies of LGBT older adults and best practices for working with our communities. We have a group of tireless certified trainers, but several years ago we realized that if we really want to reach as many people as possible, we needed to start working at the grassroots level. There are LGBT older adults and allies across the country in places of worship, community centers, and advocacy groups, and we can’t reach all of these groups even with our committed, but limited, training corps. So we started thinking, how can we engage folks in communities all across the country and help them become advocates within their own networks? How can we raise awareness at the grassroots level?

NRC

This led to the creation of the Volunteer Education Ambassador Program. Ambassadors register on SAGE’s National Resource Center on LGBT Aging website and are given a toolkit including a PowerPoint presentation, a script, and a set of Frequently Asked Questions. Ambassadors are encouraged to use these materials to raise awareness about LGBT aging, and when we receive requests for speakers we can pass those requests along to Ambassadors. With 160 Ambassadors in 43 states, this program has proven to be a great way for us to get the word out about LGBT aging in areas and networks that we otherwise would not have been able to reach. The leadership of a community group in San Diego, Boise, or New Orleans might not respond to our call or email about LGBT aging, but they often are interested when approached by somebody they know.

At this year’s Aging in America conference we’ll be facilitating a workshop about “Engaging Volunteers in Grassroots Awareness Building” where we will discuss the successes and challenges we’ve experienced developing this program. We will be answering questions like, what can a grassroots program accomplish for your organization? Why do people volunteer, and how can you keep them engaged? If you are going to attend the conference please stop by, and if you are interested in becoming an Ambassador please register here!

TJohnston1-150x150Tim R. Johnston, PhD is the Assistant Director of Social Enterprise & Training at Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE). He is responsible for directing SAGE’s national training initiatives, developing training curricula, and providing consulting services to both aging and LGBT service providers. He tweets at @johnstontimr. 

 

 

 

S_wayland-1-150x150Sherrill Wayland is the Manager of National Projects at Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), where she manages the day-to-day operations of the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging (NRC) as well as working with SAGE’s National LGBT Elder Housing Initiative and other key national projects.

 

 

 

 

March 8, 2016

Remembering International Women’s Day

By Vera Lukacs 

In today’s world, women of all ages are largely overlooked, discouraged, and unsupported in accomplishing their goals. This is especially true in the LGBT older women’s community. It is critical that in the larger community we are empowering and elevating the voices of women of all ages and backgrounds. With this in mind, SAGE is celebrating the following individuals: 

 

LtoRKatherineAceyandMichaelAdams
Katherine Acey and SAGE's CEO Michael Adams at Creating Change-- Photo by Gretchen Rachel Hammond

Katherine Acey, recipient of the SAGE Award for Excellence in Leadership on Aging Issues, is exceptionally noteworthy. Acey, an Arab American, is a highly respected feminist in the LGBT older adult community. She was the executive director for Astrea Lesbian Foundation for Justice for 23 years. Two other notable heroes are Ruth Berman and Connie Kurtz, recipients of the SAGE Pioneer Award. Berman and Kurtz have been together for 42 years and married since July 26th, 2011— two days after New York recognized marriage equality. Featured in the documentary, Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House, the couple fights for the protection and equality of LGBT elders. 

Who are some of your favorite heroines? It can be a celebrity, a friend, or an inspiring family member like mine.  

When I was asked to write about the significance of Women’s History Month and SAGE’s work with women throughout the years, I spent days racking my brain trying to think of who I could claim as an inspiring female role model. I thought about women in history like Audre Lorde, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and CeCe McDonald. Or maybe I’d list some of my best friends, who are all doing incredible work for the women’s rights movement. While making burritos for my partner and I on a Sunday night, my mind suddenly went to my female role model: my 14-year-old cousin, Olivia Najarian.  

I first heard about the remarkable work Olivia is doing with the World Bicycle Relief through her mother’s Facebook. World Bicycle Relief is an organization that provides bikes to people in communities that are less fortunate. In April 2015, Olivia kick-started her work with the organization by writing an essay for their blog on why she wanted to fundraise for them, and the importance of certain disparities between western culture and that of other parts of the world. She is currently working on a project of her own called Good Spokes, a nonprofit that aims to provide safe access to education on health care for people in need. Olivia is just one example of what a young woman can achieve with a bit of support, encouragement, and a lot of determination. 

Vera Lukacs is SAGE's Digital Media Assistant. 

July 23, 2014

President Obama Signs Executive Order on LGBT Job Discrimination

Lgbtface

SAGE was privileged to be in the room with President Obama on July 21, 2014, when, with the stroke of a pen, he put in place protections that will help countless of LGBT older adults.  In the executive order he signed, he ensured that transgender federal workers would join their lesbian, gay, and bisexual brothers and sisters in being protected against job discrimination based on their gender identity.   He also ensured that LGBT employees of federal contractors will be protected against discrimination.  Many LGBT older adults, after facing a life of discrimination and lower earnings, continue to work, to maintain their economic security.  As a result, it is welcome news that this generation, who fought to get out of the closet, will be able to bring their full selves to work, at more workplaces, without fear of discrimination.

--Posted by Aaron Tax

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 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!

 

April 3, 2013

Pitching Your Best Self: Tips and Tricks to Identifying and Presenting Your Strengths!

Shiv
Shiv Paul
Shiv Paul is a trainer for SAGEWorks. The workshop he leads includes exercises to help people identify and sell their strengths, as well as tips and tricks on how to write effective cover letters and resumes. If you are in the New York City area and want to attend his workshop in person, the next one is Wednesday, April 10th from 6-7:30pm. Scroll to the bottom of the post for detailed information, including how to RSVP.

I recently sat down with Shiv to ask him about tips, advice and best practices he can share with mature workers looking for a job. Shiv was a recruitment professional for many years and currently works for a management consulting firm and is owner of his own life coaching practice, Authentic Life Rules. Over the years, his own experiences and those of his clients have taught him effective techniques for increasing a candidate’s chances of getting a job. This includes successful networking, and writing a well-crafted resume and cover letter. He shares with us below.

Continue reading "Pitching Your Best Self: Tips and Tricks to Identifying and Presenting Your Strengths!" »