It's impossible to get meaningful work at 40+?

[If this is more appropriate to GD, please move there.]

I know I’ve asked about this before, but everyone who’s under 40 years of age inches towards it every day, and I’m no exception. With the job market the way it is, perhaps the effect of ageism is more pronounced than it usually is/should be. And the implications of such are staggering: it implies that to have a long-term job, or to survive retirement age, you MUST have a permanent job you’ll stay in “forever,” or have saved enough for retirement, by your early 30’s. How many of us fit either of those? Heck, I’ve certainly made what may or may not be mistakes that may or may not have set back my financial security for the future to SOME extent; I can’t imagine I’m alone in that regard.

Of course, whether society is a house of cards about to collapse is partly dependent on the statement in the subject line, which I’ve seen said on this very message board and elsewhere, usually in the context of personal experience. Since that personal experience varies widely based on life lessons, location, education, and chosen field, I thought I’d toss out there this question: how hopeless, or not, is it?

I just got a great new job at age 47, advancing my career and getting paid more money than my old job. I was laid off at the end of Feb, hired in June (I waited until after ski season to look).

I’m seeing movement. We just lost a third person at work to a job offer - all of them over 40.

Which, of course, implies that somewhere, there are three jobs that need to be hired for.

But the point you are making is a good one. Anyone who delays savings (or in the cases of many of my friends - puts off getting a “career” until they are in their 30s) becomes very dependent on having a job as they get older. And it may be much harder to find that job when you are older - or you may not be physically able to do it. You aren’t likely to have enough if you “retire” at 40 even if you were diligent about saving, but you will be in a better place than someone who entered the job market at 20 saying “retirement is 45 years away - I have PLENTY of time.”

It IS more difficult to get a job over 40 right now, but it’s just one of the many factors that would not be an issue in a better economy.

It is getting better, but six months, a year ago, two years ago, employers were using every petty (and sometimes illegal) excuse in the book to overlook people.

I started a new job this week. My new employer aggressively recruited me and is quite pleased I accepted their offer.

At 43, I think I’m an attractive catch to an employer. I also think I’m near my peak earnings potential. I have a solid 16 years experience and very good reputation in the industry which I work. I have a stable home and family life with no life-changing events on the horizon. And I have 15 to 20 years of productivity ahead of me meaning I can set the foundation for and lead a large and long term project.

Unless you’re a professional athlete, the age of 40 should not be a daunting thing to job seekers.

I started a new job 2 months ago paying 120K a year, last year I made 110K.

I am 7 days from being 59.

I started a new career at 41, in a industry that’s struggling and during a horrible economy. Having a body of work that I can point to is a huge asset, as far as I’m concerned.

I’ve got friends the same age, and the ones who are struggling in their careers are the ones who’ve got outdated skill sets.

You have to be willing to reinvent yourself. Nobody works the same job for 30 years any more.

I’m over 40 and I got 3 job offers in 1 week so I picked the best one. Luckily for me my skills are still in high demand. I turned down other interviews which may have led to offers as well.

My father just started a new job a few months ago. He’s 70. They recruited him away from his previous employer. But then he has a highly skilled and very narrow skillset.

My mother, on the other hand, has been trying to scrape by the past few years on odd jobs, teporary/contract jobs, substitute teaching, etc. But then she has a much less specialized skillset and has been fired from (or not rehired for) her last few long-term jobs.

So yeah, it depends.

We’ve just taken a whole batch of overseas recruits on board, from a range of countries (Ireland, Canada, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and South Africa). All of them are over 40.

I don’t understand this. Employers always ask for experience, and older people have lots of it.

Yeah, but they want, like I used to call it even 20 years ago, “God on 25k a year”.

Wanted, 20-something self-directed worker who has no life and will happily work 100 hours per week while never calling in sick. Requires 10 years experience with a language invented six months ago and 3 years experience with a machine released last week. Requires mastery of a database package that is still in development, fluency in English, French, Chinese, Korean, Latin and Ket. Salary up to $25,000 per year DOQ.

So is it common sense to disregard all that, and apply to jobs that you don’t meet the full requirements for? I’ve never tried that, but maybe I should.

I consider the job discription a “wish list” you may not have all the qualifications, but no one else applying may have them all either. If you want the job apply for it. I am currently an Enterprise Architect, and I beat out over 30 people for the job, and I have never ever been one before, but I interview very well and brought enough general experience to the table to be selected.

I don’t buy it. I got out of the military at age 43. I immediately got a job with an overseas contracting company. After two years I was hired by the US Dept. of State. Six years later (age 51), I quit and was immediately hired by a quasi-state run entity in Alaska that administered construction contracts. In 2003 (age 56), I was recruited away from that job to a senior management position that paid me very well. Two years later (age 58), I was instantly hired by a facilities management firm, running multiple Air Force radar sites. Two years after that (age 60), I was the quality control manager for a multi-million dollar F-22 hangar project. All along the way, we banked our retirement, and I voluntarily quit working at age 61.

I finished college later in life, and got hired last year at age 45. I expect to work and save money for 20 more years and retire to a simple life in a pleasant location.

My husband was over 50 when he got his current job, doing something he truly loves, making more than he’s ever made before. As a mechanical engineer and former machinist and tool maker, he’s got experience that n00bs can’t match, and because of what he’s brought to the company, his boss is putting him in charge of building and leading a mechanical design team. They might have hired a much more junior engineer for lots less, but they wouldn’t have gotten the depth of experience that is getting the company more business.

Now, if you’re over 40 and have never been in the work force, you might have a tougher time…

It’s more difficult for everyone.

Of course it is not impossible to find meaningful work after 40. I know many people age 40+ who have started new jobs in the past few years.

But these are high paying management jobs in top companies. Jobs where experience is valued. If you are 40 and looking for the same sort of job a 22 year old can do, you might have problems.

That’s been my experience. I’m 49 and I retired last year (after working in the same job for twenty-seven years). I’ve found I don’t enjoy being idle. I’m not looking to start a new career but I’ve been looking for some job like working in a store. But even when I apply at places that are looking for applicants, I don’t even get called in for interviews.

I was just shy of 40 when I transitioned from for-profit accounting to non-profit finance & business, working for smaller arts & culture companies ($2M-$10M annual revenues, althought I also volnteer doing the work for small, all volunteer organizations too.). Initially a drop in pay, but I love it and finally feel like I have something like a vocation rather than a job.

Also, my hisband was 35 when he started training to be a commercial helicopter pilot. Took about a year & a half to egt the ratings to get his first job, and about 3 years after that to get a job that paid anywhere near what he was making in computers. Many civilian pilots are in their late 30’s and early 40’s and most retire from the military first, so there is a lot less age discrimination in that field. In another year we will actually have paid off all the debt we assumed with our second careers (training, moving costs, drops in pay, etc).

Any more peole will be far less likely to retire at 60 or 62, so a career switch at 40 can mean a good 25-30 years in a more meaningful situation. I think it is downright advisable to do if it is at all possible.