Facing Ageism When Looking for Employment After 60? Don’t Stop Looking – Try Temping!
Many of us who are of a certain age find ourselves looking for new employment. The reasons are many and varied. What we all have in common though is the reaction we get when we apply for a new position.
The Sad Truth
The look on their faces when they first see you says it all. It doesn’t matter how professional you appear or how you conduct yourself – all they see is your age.
Unfortunately, although it is a waste of your time and theirs, you must continue with the interview because they need to be able to say that they do not discriminate based on age. They can find another reason not to hire you based on the interview. It’s just a sad truth we face.
Consider the Possibilities
My background is in the dental field, more specifically the admin side, and although skills do transfer, it is much easier to use the skills you have in the area you have the most experience in. Fortunately, in my field there are temp agencies.
I made the decision to work for a temp agency while I searched for a new permanent position. This allows me to choose when I work so that I can leave time for interviews. The benefit? Firms that use temp agencies don’t care what your age is; they just want the work done and done right.
Sometimes these temp positions lead to permanent placement. The office likes you and your work and decide to keep you on. Obviously, this only happens if they have a position available.
The biggest advantage to working for a temp agency is networking. These temp positions are perfect for that purpose.
It’s always a good idea to let the office staff know that you are looking for a more permanent position. Perhaps they have friends who know of someone looking for a new employee. Do a great job, and maybe one of the owner’s colleagues will ask you to interview with them.
At that point, your age will not be a factor anymore because you have a credible recommendation. If an office is working with a consultant, that may also provide additional exposure and possibly another resource. There are a lot of possibilities for networking while temping.
Income and Other Benefits
One of the key reasons why I chose working temp positions was that it provided me with income until something permanent came along.
Another key factor for me was exposure to all types of office environments. This allowed me to see which types I wanted to steer clear of and which ones I preferred. You also know what geographical areas to target and which ones to avoid.
But It’s Not All Roses
There are also downsides to working temp. You never know when, or if, you will have work. It does appear to be seasonal, as offices are mostly looking for temps when they are trying to cover for employee vacations.
Those vacations are typically taken during the summer months, which means that temp jobs for the rest of the year may be few and far between.
Note: This may not be the case in other career areas. I am only speaking of the dental field.
As for my personal job search, after a few months, I was able to find a position where my age and experience were considered an asset. If I had not been temping, I would not have known about this position at all, so I am grateful for the opportunity I received.
What do you think about trying a temp agency while searching for a permanent job? Do you think your skills can be appropriate for temping? Are there any agencies close by? Have you tried temping? Please share your thoughts and experience with the community.