Here is a fact: There. Are. No. Jobs. I'm in Silicon Valley where the official unemployment rate dipped in May to 11.2%. This dip was, of course, because of so many people just giving up trying to get a job, certainly not because of some wave of hiring. The underemployed figure, known as "U-6," is 21.7% in California, 16.7% nationally.
You have to know someone to get a humiliating job standing on a corner waving a sign. And if you are over 40, things are even worse than that. Don't give me any conservative Rush Limbaugh-Ayn Rand dehumanizing nonsense about parasitic lazy people who won't look—there are no jobs.According to the Republicans I am supposed to be taking some job that is currently being done by undocumented immigrants like mowing lawns or grooming golf courses ... maybe washing a few dishes or busing tables. The Republicans insist that I am just living "high off the hog" on my unemployment and I am just too lazy to work and would rather sit back and be on the dole...the government is encouraging me to not look for work. Not extending the paltry unemployment benefits for me and millions of others is "tough love" according to Rand Paul. Maybe they need to talk to some of the hundreds of companies that never even responded to my resume...many for jobs I was perfectly qualified for or even over qualified for. . I have spent thousands of dollars on an employment consultant, employment websites and who knows what else. I've networked and networked and the harsh fact is that in this economy and I am 60 and there are no jobs for me. We won't even discuss losing my health insurance an not being able to get any at any price and even if I could get it I couldn't afford it. If I hadn't been prudent and put a little back over my 40 years of work I would be in a world of trouble right now and I know that there are millions who, for one good reason or another, who weren't prepared to be unemployed for the rest of the lives.
I know so many people here who are over 40, were laid off in the 2000-era dot com crash, still haven't found a regular job and aren't going to. They have had occasional "contract" positions—which means no benefits, no security, a 15% "self-employment" tax and no unemployment check when the job ends. And now, 10 years later they're a lot over 40 and are not going to find a job because so many employers here won't hire people over 40.
And now there are so many more who lost their jobs in the mass layoffs of 2008-2009 and can't find a job. So many of them are also over 40. In fact, many were laid off in obvious purges of over-40 workers, offered a small severance that they could only receive if they promised to take no age-discrimination action against the employer. (I don't say "company" because some of these worked at nonprofits.)
Most of these people will not find another job, but are too young for Medicare and Social Security.
Age discrimination is a thing with me because it is so blatant here. It's the culture here, some even say that for programmers it is "35 and out." At various times looking for work I've been told I "seemed tired" and things like that. I was even told once that I wouldn't be able to market some software because I "wouldn't be able to get my mind around" how it worked—when I had designed and written part of it in a previous life. One company here is said to have only 200 over-40 employees out of 20,000.
What are people supposed to do? You can't get Medicare until you are 65, and Social Security until 67. But it's near-impossible to get a job or health insurance if you are over 50.