Over-50s: Is it right we have to ‘battle’ to find work?

Chelsea pensioners
Image by Roy Costello

It may well be a sad indictment of our society but it’s a fact; if your out of work (for any reason) aged fifty plus, you’re unlikely to find an easy route back into gainful employment…

It’s also a fact that many of us get angry about our prospects however, do we actually have any right to be more angry than those starting out in adult life who also face bleak job prospects? I would suggest not. I would also suggest the ‘anger‘ aspect of the situation is yet another aspect indicative of today’s society. We’re bad loosers, it’s a trait that starts in childhood.

At both ends of the age spectrum the anger is born out of frustration and confusion. Frustration that much of the situation is (realistically) beyond our individual control and, confusion born out of the fact; often  reality doesn’t match the expectations we have been encouraged and conditioned to expect.

BBC Panorama – Finished at 50?: Fiona Phillips examines the growing army of over-50s joining the battle to find work… “We may not be familiar with the fact that “sick” means cool or that a spot of “chillaxing” might be a good idea on a Sunday afternoon, but it turns out that we over-50s actually do have a lot in common with Britains 18-24 year olds – far too many of us are unemployed…”(Read more)

The high expectations we often have, as young or indeed older people, tend not to be as easily achievable as we would like. Unfortunately and far too often, they also tend to be born out of self-interest and personal greed. However, many of those expectations are also totally unreasonable in many respects. We have a tendency as a society, never to just be satisfied with our lot in life.

Oh that we could all have left education with a PhD, started work on 50k and escaped to our villa in the sun after less than 20 years work, with a 500k lump sum on 50k pension per annum… A possibility for some maybe but an unlikely expectation for the majority. And certainly not one that is sustainable, given the demographics and finances of our nation!

It’s great that we all tend to live longer than we used to, it’s fantastic that we tend to enjoy healthier lives well into old age but the bottom line is; we’re all out living the money we need to support us. I agree that no one should have to struggle through their later years, especially those who have fully contributed to the society they live in however; far too many of us haven’t. Far too many have bled the system dry and far too many have lived their lives in the here and now, with a sod the future attitude. And often, a future they expect someone else to sort out for them. There really is no simple, short-term and sustainable answer to the problems we face as a nation.

“Be the change you want to see in the world…” (Mahatma Gandhi)

Is it right we have to ‘battle’ to find work? Probably not however; in many respects we are simply the product of our own selfishness and, we reap that which has been sowed. Continually crying over the spilled milk of our previous generations does little to clear up the mess. It may well be too late for many of us now but it still doesn’t need to be the same for our future generations. If we really try to make the fundamental change that is required.

Panorama: Finished at Fifty? BBC One, Monday, 4 April 2011 at 2030BST and then available in the UK on the BBC iPlayer.

One thought on “Over-50s: Is it right we have to ‘battle’ to find work?

  1. I have lived with 2 aims in my life. 1. I always felt that if I loved my job I would never work a day in my life. 2. I would never retire because to do so would defeat the purpose of life. So far I have lived the life of the want tos rather than the haftos. I wonder what it would be like to retire early than wait until I am too old to enjoy my freedom. Why not have it now? And why not make it part of my life?


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