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[h=1]Unemployment: 12 Things I Learned From Getting Laid Off In My 60s[/h] Posted: 10/09/2012 7:05 am EDT Updated: 10/12/2012 2:07 pm EDT
















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Careers, Unemployment, Unemployment, Finding a Job After 50, Finding Work, Jobs post50, Looking For a Job, post50, Seeking Work, Unemployed, Fifty News









I've been a journalist my entire working life. I've been a writer, an editor, and a nationally syndicated columnist for a major print daily. I can even claim a share of a Pulitizer prize for my work covering the Northridge, California earthquake. And I was completely stunned when I fell victim to the recession and was laid off in March 2008. But as they say, what doesn't kill you just makes you stronger. I survived; actually I did more than survive, I thrived. Here's what losing my job at age 59.5 years old taught me:

1. Grieving is for widows.

I devoted my final commute home -- an hour stuck in traffic on Los Angeles' 10 Freeway -- to sobbing uncontrollably. I rolled the windows up tight and blasted Springsteen so loud the car vibrated. I banged the steering wheel so hard that my fists hurt. And then I pulled into my driveway, dried my tears, and faced my family. Grieving time was over; from that moment on, I never looked back. I accepted that what I lost was just a job, not a loved one.

2. Don't waste time blaming anyone, including yourself.

I didn't spend a minute wondering why I got the tap on the shoulder instead of the next guy. Didn't we learn on the kindergarten playground that life wasn't always fair? Finger-pointing, repeating the gory details of the injustice that befell you to anyone you can get to listen -- it's just such an energy-zapper. Save your emotional strength for rebuilding your career.

3. Confidence breeds confidence.

If you don't believe you're fabulous, why should anyone else? Take a lesson from Facebook postings here: Life is wonderful, you are amazing, things couldn't be better. And believe it; if nothing else, you'll sleep better if you do.

4. Anger isn't attractive.

Put on a happy face and mean it. Nobody wants to hire a sad sack or someone angry at their old boss, their company, changes in their industry or the economy. Me? I quietly cancelled my subscription to the newspaper that canned me and let it go at that. Nobody wears anger well.

5. You are a professional; behave like one if you want people to treat you like one.

As a writer, I was frequently asked to write for free. I insisted on compensation -- although sometimes that compensation came in peculiar shapes. I would barter services -- I would do some marketing work and get my son tutored, my dog groomed, my closets organized. During the two years I freelanced, I chose to write an unpaid blog for The Huffington Post because of the platform and exposure it provided. Each time I posted, it led to paid writing assignments. Be strategic about your work decisions. People who work for free are volunteers and volunteers belong in the nonprofit world.

6. Giving to others is a good thing.

I think I knew this my whole working life, but answered the need to give with my checkbook instead of my heart. Being unemployed taught me that there were ways to help others that actually felt better. I formed a support group for entrepreneurial women running their own businesses. I brought in advisors, speakers, and we all helped one another. Helping people helped me stay whole. I might not have been able to write big checks to charity, but I could certainly take a break from my own struggles to listen to someone else's.


7. You aren't alone.

There are dark moments to being unemployed. You worry about whether you'll have enough

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