Job Insecurity in Today’s Market – 3 Part Series

My Grandfather had a very different work experience than my Father did and my work experience was even more different than my father’s.  My Grandfather worked for the same company for 25 years and retired (semi-retired – he was entrepreneurial).  My Father worked for several CPA firms and the government – each time he was changing companies for better opportunities and promotions.  He would be with a company for about 7 to 10 years each. 

When I was younger (and my husband, Mike’s resume looks the same), I would be with a company for about 3 years and then I would have to move on (yes, I was fired or I had to go to another company for a better opportunity).   I always thought there was something wrong with me.  Why can’t I be with a company for 7 plus years? 

Disturbing Fact 1: People past the age of 45 that are looking for a new job can often wait as much as twice as long (or longer) to find a job versus younger age groups (this wait can cripple one’s savings).

Disturbing Fact 2: Length of replacement jobs are often shorter than previously held jobs (typical average is 2.4 years for people past the age of 45 in replacement employment positions). Once you lose that job… you’re now even older and competing with even younger competitors for the next job. The combination of job interruptions can often result in even greater erosion of savings.

Disturbing Fact 3: If you are working in mid-size to larger corporations you may have already seen how companies are acquiring other companies which often result in layoffs. These layoffs are often directed at the older tenured personnel.

Then came 9/11.  We lived in the DC Metro area, my last company I worked for was just purchased by a larger company and I could see that my days were numbered as well as Mike could see that the Tech Firm he worked for was about to be purchased and he would be out of a job.  So what could we do?

I had been given a decent sized signing bonus to stay on with the company for at least one year.  I knew I did not fit into the new companies’ culture and my accounts were going to be transitioned to their legacy salesmen.  Mike’s prospects were questionable as well. 

So we decided to start our own business and employ the two best employees we knew – ourselves.  Our backgrounds were sales and engineering.  We looked at companies that “fit” our comfort zone.  We looked at tech businesses, sign companies, home improvement concepts and none of them fit.  We spent many hours searching the internet back in 2001 looking at different opportunities knowing we were running out of time.

Then came Comfort Keepers – In Home Non-Medical Care for Seniors.  Really?  We had absolutely no experience in healthcare, I faint at the sight of blood, we both never managed any employees, and we never had any payroll experience… We had all the fears you have going on in your head and maybe more.  We went to Discovery Day and we saw how their training would make us experts in their system. We saw that others succeeded so we could succeed as well if we followed the system.