Starting over in the 50s

door in wallA friend at church lost his bookstore business. He has to start over, knocking on doors, explaining why he needs a job.

In today's economy, it isn't easy to find a niche where someone over 50 will fit. At a liveable wage. It isn't easy if you're younger than 50 either.

"You have many marketable skills. Someone needs what you can do." He tentatively nodded his head.

"It might take a long time to find a place."

Yes, it could be a painful search. Humiliating. Humbling. I didn't say this out loud.

Pain etched my friend's face. Age discrimination is illegal. Yet it happens.

In interviews he's gone on recently people look at him and express concern he will retire in a few years.

"I don't know too many people who can retire anymore. We're going to be working until the day we die, in one way or another." He nodded. "Well, you'll need to tell them that. You'll need to sell yourself."

We sat in the foyer of the church, discussing how hard it is to communicate who we are and what we have to offer in interviews. That's true whether you're unemployed, or considering changing positions in a large organization, or you're younger than 50, much younger, and face discrimination because of youth and lack of experience.

At any age, it's painful to feel shut out and see a wall and closed door between you and paid insiders.

It's painful to seek a niche where you can contribute.
It's intimidating to knock on doors and hope one will open.
It's humbling to ask to be considered to help with needs they have.

How do people with little faith in themselves or in a kind God deal with the wear and tear of searching for a place in this world?

I couldn't seek, knock or ask without some hope that who I am and what I have to offer is what an employer (or publisher) needs. I draw comfort from believing each of us is uniquely gifted by God and he helps us.

That isn't to say we can (or should) stay in the same position at a company our entire life. We may have to move to another employer. We may have to shift occupations to stay financially solvent or be challenged creatively. We may have to start over, not because we chose to but because circumstances forced us to.

In whatever situation we may find ourselves, God never wavers in his concern for us. He sent Jesus to draw us to himself. He wants to satisfy us with his good gifts.

God has good gifts for us, but they won't just appear magically. We need to do our part. Jesus taught:
"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened." (Matthew 7:7-8 NIV)
God promises we will receive when we ask; we will find if we seek; and we will knock on a door that opens. He goes with us on our hunt.

How long will it take to receive ... find ... or knock on a door that opens? What keeps you willing to do what it takes to find out?

Photo credits: Public Domain, Petr Kratochvil


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